Bedford Free School teacher interviews his favourite authors to inspire pupils to read

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Michael Cox has interviewed some of his favourite authors to inspire pupils

A teacher at Bedford Free School (BFS) has been spearheading a campaign to promote reading among pupils, by interviewing some of his favourite authors.

Michael Cox, head of PE at BFS and head of community and partnerships at Advantage Schools, contacted the writers that had inspired his love of reading and asked them if he could film them for some YouTube videos.

“With lockdown in place and no opportunities to socialise and go outside much, it’s the perfect chance to read,” said Michael.

“We know how important reading is as a vehicle to academic achievement and I wanted to encourage as many young people to read as possible.

“At school, I was a stereotypical ‘jock’ or ‘sporty type’, I’d rather be playing sports than reading and I see this throughout our schools.

“I began to enjoy reading in my late teens by finding topics and books that I was interested in. So I decided to contact the authors of books that I loved and they have very kindly agreed to share their stories with me and our students.”

The first author Michael spoke to was Ralf Haley, author of ‘The Beautiful Dream’.

The book tells the story of Ralf’s quest to fulfil his boyhood dream of becoming a professional footballer. Since publishing his book, Ralf has gone on to find a different sporting career, as a video editor and producer at BBC Sport.

After the success of his interview with Ralf, Michael is planning to chat to Ben Ryan, author of ‘Sevens Heaven; The Beautiful Chaos of Fiji’s Olympic Dream’ and the most successful men’s rugby sevens coach in the world.

Next up is James Montague, award-winning author and journalist of several highly-praised football books including ‘When Friday Comes: Football in the War Zone’ which won Best New Writer at the 2009 British Sports Book of the Year Awards.

Tim Blake, principal at BFS said: “As head of community & partnerships, Michael is always looking at ways we can engage with the whole school community.

“This is another fabulous example of our staff going the extra mile and we’re excited to be able to share these with you.”

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