Villa in the Community: Steer and Holt in the book
Steer and Holt joined pupils from Court Farm in Erdington and Pegasus Primary in Castle Vale at the Library of Birmingham - in an event organised to encourage kids to do more reading.
The goalkeeper and striker read extracts from The Hobbit by Birmingham-raised JRR Tolkien as well as asking the children questions about their literary likes and dislikes.
Interestingly, along with fantasy and comic books, the kids picked claret and blue material such as the matchday programme Villa News & Record and the festive Villa Annual as their favourites.
The event was part of our involvement with the Library of Birmingham/Birmingham Mail's Born and Read in Brum initiative.
Villa are on the campaign committee to encourage children to get their heads into books.
Government figures reveal that up to 18 per cent of the city's 11-year-olds did not reach the expected standard in their 2013 reading tests.
Worryingly, nearly 900 children started secondary school in September with the reading age of a seven-year-old or lower, trailing at least four years behind.
Steer, who is also a Barclays Premier League Reading Stars champion, is thrilled to help out a campaign of this type.
Steer said: "Reading with these kids has brought back great memories for me of when I was their age and really getting into books.
"I remember bringing them home from school and my parents helping me to learn and progress.
"Reading is such an important skill to have so anything I can do to help encourage these children is great."
Holt added: "If I get into a book, I get gripped very easily. I like real life stories, about people from different places with different religions.
"As well as the learning impact, you can't underestimate the importance of reading in terms of relaxing you.
"When you have a lot of things going on in your head, you can just bury yourself into a book and you're totally transported into that plot.
"Children these days have things like iPads, iPhones, Playstations and Xboxes. They are great but you can't underestimate the importance of developing your reading skills for later life."
Big thanks to the volunteers from the University of Birmingham who helped greatly at the exciting event.
Check out the work of Villa in the Community.
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