Projects 4-4-2 Reading Challenge

4-4-2 Reading Challenge

Working in partnership with 14 SPFL clubs and local libraries, the 4-4-2 Reading Challenge aims to inspire children aged 5-12 to read four books in exchange for match tickets.

The initiative centres on a reading “challenge card” which participating clubs and libraries will issue. For every book read, children will receive a stamp on their card.

When they have read four books, participants will receive a FREE match ticket, while an accompanying adult will be able to purchase a discounted ticket.

Although this is a test project, over 200 libraries, marking more than half the estate in Scotland, will be involved, across 11 of Scotland’s thirty-two local authorities. The project could be extended to cover the whole country if the initiative is a winner.

Funding for the 4-4-2 Reading Challenge has been generously provided by the SPFL, allowing for a partnership between the SPFL Trust, Scottish Book Trust and the Scottish Libraries Information Council and Bòrd na Gàidhlig.


Reading and writing are the most important factors in reducing the attainment gap, improve mental health issues such as anxiety, depression and dementia, and influence people’s work, relationships and the economy.

Inequality and Literacy

  • Children from deprived backgrounds often do not go on to higher education and are likely to earn less over the course of their lives
  • By the age of three, children from the most prosperous households have heard 30 million more words spoken throughout their lifetime than children from impoverished households (Source: The Thirty Million Word Gap by Betty Hart And Todd R. Risley)
  • When they are five, the vocabulary of children from low-income households is typically more than a year behind those from high-income backgrounds (Source: Joseph Rowntree Foundation: Closing the Attainment Gap In Scottish Education Report)
  • More than 1 in 4 of Scotland’s children are living in poverty and the problem is getting worse (Child Poverty Action Group)
  • Helping children to develop a lifelong love of reading can reverse this situation, helping to break the cycle of poverty and improve their life chances
  • Children who are read to every day by their parents and carers have been shown to be almost 12 months ahead of their age group by the time they start school. Even reading to children two or three times a week can make a significant contribution to their development.

Mental Health Benefits

Scotland is facing a mental health and wellbeing crisis. One in three people suffer from mental illness each year, and the number of people with dementia is set to double in the next 25 years.

Reading and writing for pleasure has incredible benefits for mental health:

  • Just six minutes of reading can reduce stress by 68%
  • Reading is linked to preventing and slowing the onset of dementia
  • Reading and creative writing improve empathy, communication and self-esteem and reduce anxiety and depression
  • Reading fiction can model ways of coping with alienation or problems at school, work or in relationships
  • Reading creates a greater empathy with other sectors of society and with other cultures, which can help tackle social problems such as xenophobia, sectarianism and racism and create a more tolerant, civic-minded society

Get the latest updates by signing up to our newsletter