With the World Cup final tomorrow football is on the mind of many youngsters but at Bishops Cannings Primary School soccer is seen as a way of boosting learning rather than a distraction.

For 12 pupils aged nine and ten are taking part in a Premier League Reading Stars initiative to inspire them to enjoy reading.

It is being supported by 20 top footballers such as Chelsea’s Frank Lampard, Arsenal’s Wojciech Szczesny and West Ham’s Joey O’Brien who have sent online reading challenges.

The initiative also encourages schools to invite sporting guests into the classroom and on Thursday Bag4Sport Foundation director Andy Trusler visited to talk to the group about the charity’s fundraising for grass roots sport.

Headteacher Jonathan Barber said: “We have been running this motivational programme through 10 one-hour football-themed literacy sessions or ‘fixtures’ held after school.

"Our aim is to build a successful team of readers whilst having fun.”

Mr Trusler kept the youngsters on the ball by telling them about fundraising bike rides from Devizes to Paris and a Ben Nevis challenge where he climbed a mountain, canoed across a lake and cycled through the valley.

Parent governor Caroline Martin, who organised the club, said: “Using football and sport as an incentive to read has certainly engaged our pupils.”