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Warriors Help Auckland Kids Improve Literac y

Media Release June 2010
Warriors Help Auckland Kids Improve Literacy Skills

“Kevin Locke attacks the other team like he is a champion of wrestling. Steve Price is as tough as elephant skin, yet moves as slippery as a gecko. Brent Tate is like a train with no brakes – accelerating, huffing but never puffing.”

This inventive description of three Vodafone Warriors is the work of one of the many Auckland children whose creative juices are still flowing after the success of the Vodafone Warriors League in Libraries programme with two Auckland schools in 2008, and 50 schools (more than 500 entries) in 2009.

While the Vodafone Warriors aim to make their way up the National Rugby League (NRL) ladder this season, their latest endeavour off the field is continuing to inspire Auckland children to get reading and writing through the third annual League in Libraries programme, supported by Konica Minolta.

The League in Libraries initiative aims to improve the literacy levels of children aged seven to nine by encouraging them to learn the valuable life skills of reading and writing at an age where reading can become difficult.

“Konica Minolta has strong partnerships with many schools so we’re delighted to be supporting child development and education through the League in Libraries programme for a third year in a row and to help give Year Four and Five kids throughout Auckland a chance to be involved,” says National Marketing Manager Josh Byers. “The Vodafone Warriors are great ambassadors for the programme. If they say reading is cool, it means a lot in the minds of their young fans and we hope it will inspire kids to put pen to paper and get stuck into a good book.”

For a chance to meet the rugby league stars, children are asked to express their creative side by submitting an illustrated short story or poem incorporating their favourite Vodafone Warriors player.

The best classroom entries will be judged by Konica Minolta as well as Vodafone Warriors NRL Reading Captain Jerome Ropati. The top eight winning schools will be invited to meet some of the Vodafone Warriors at four special local library visits in July and August. To ensure all the winning schools get the chance to meet their favourite players, Konica Minolta will be providing transport to and from the library visits.

While the players are visiting the library, they will work with children to complete four literary activities, two of them centred on New Zealand books: Papa’s Donuts by Kate Moetaua, and Henry & the Flea by Brian Faulkner, a story about a young boy who dreams of one day playing for the Vodafone Warriors. Each child attending the library visit will receive a free copy of one of these books to take home.

The eight selected schools will also receive two Canterbury of New Zealand rugby league balls and tickets to a Vodafone Warriors home game. The student with the best overall story or poem will receive a signed 2010 Vodafone Warriors rugby league jersey.

“Working with the community is a big part of what we do,” says Vodafone Warriors player Jerome Ropati. “Players need to have more in their lives than simply training and playing, and initiatives such as the League in Libraries programme are a great opportunity to make a difference in the lives of our young people. Helping kids to develop their literacy skills is a really positive way to go.”

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