A community within the Staffordshire Moorlands has formed an initiative in which children are sharing the joy of reading together. ‘Leek Look For A Book’ is an initiative which sees people leave children’s books around the town for others to enjoy, who then, after reading them, place them in other spots for others to enjoy.
A community within the Staffordshire Moorlands has formed an initiative in which children are sharing the joy of reading together.
‘Leek Look For A Book’ is an initiative which sees people leave children’s books around the town for others to enjoy, who then, after reading them, place them in other spots for others to enjoy.
The initiative was set up via the Facebook page, ‘Leek Look for a Book’, and was created by Debbie Willshaw and Caroline Thornton in 2019 after they had a discussion about how they could encourage greater verbal interaction and narrative skills in younger children.
Debbie told the Leek & Moorlands Echo: “We both work with children, Caroline as a Childminder and myself as a SEN Practitioner and were concerned with the increasing number of children with speech, language and communication difficulties.
“We thought that by sharing books in a fun way might help encourage families to take a bit more time to sit together, share stories and interact more to help increase vocabulary, listening, attention and language skills.
“Of course we wanted to help kids find a love for books and reading too, but primarily that was a platform to help build the speech and language really.”
Debbie explained that some concerns had been raised regarding the environmental impact of hiding the books throughout the town, she said: “We had many discussions about what’s best to hide the books in to protect them but what would have least environmental impact.
“That was tough, but we decided the best we could do would be to ask people to recycle the bags when they re-hid books and to be mindful of where they hid them so they wouldn’t impact wildlife.”
Their idea of the ‘Look for A Book’ initiative has been a roaring success ever since, with their Facebook group having over 1,200 members within it.
Debbie said: “It took off more than we ever expected. Families loved finding the books and we’ve had visitors to Leek find books and ask if they can set up a group in their own town.
“The majority of people love it and lots of families and schools comment on how excited the kids are to find and share the books.
“Of course, we have a few who aren’t keen and that, as we feared, is due to the environmental impact if books have been abused and dumped by being in the wrong hands.
“Overall, it’s continued far longer than we could ever have hoped and the excitement of finding a hidden book remains strong.”
Debbie added: “We thank all the wonderful members of our community who have so kindly donated books, bags and their time hiding books for everyone to enjoy.”
If you are interested in this initiative and would like to be a part of it, go online to
https://www.facebook.com/groups/675941296238375 – or simply look out for a hidden book in Leek.
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