The National Literacy Trust Hub, Middlesbrough Reads, is joining the Middlesbrough School Readiness team to support Teesside Look for a Book, set up by a local teacher, Sam Douglas.
Look for a Book is a treasure hunt to encourage children to explore their local area while finding something new to read. Books are hidden in spots across the community for children to find, read and then re-hide in a different location once they're done.
The initiative has been adopted by communities all over the country, with volunteers starting Facebook groups, hiding a few books, and then letting local youngsters do the work.
Middlesbrough Reads has designed reading packs, especially for Teesside Look for a Book. The packs, which include a brand new book and reading tips for parents, have been distributed to three local primary schools - (Caldicotes Primary Academy, Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School, and Rose Wood Primary School), and to families who attend the town's Children's Centres. Once they have read the story, the lucky recipients will then be encouraged to hide them for another family to enjoy. The packs also include a poem to inspire families to get involved:
"So you've found a pack with a book inside
That someone else has taken time to hide
Take it home, read and enjoy
Hide it again for another girl or boy."
The re-launch of Teesside Look for a Book coincides with World Book Day's ‘Share a Million Stories' campaign, that aims to make story-sharing a habit of a lifetime. The National Literacy Trust has released new research this week revealing that only half of children enjoy reading, and the number of children who read every day is at the lowest that the charity has ever recorded.
Thousands of youngsters are therefore missing out as children who have a book at home are six times more likely to be reading above expected standards for their age. Initiatives like Look for Book give children access to free books, make reading exciting and can ultimately boost their attainment at school.
To join the Teesside Look for a Book visit the Facebook Page.
Alison Kitson, Senior Practitioner (Literacy) Middlesbrough School Readiness Team, said: "Research shows that children who are regularly read to start school ahead of their peers. Hopefully this will encourage families to pick up a book and share stories together."
Allison Potter, Middlesbrough Reads Hub Manager, said: "We are delighted to join forces with Teesside Look for a Book and spread excitement around books! The initiative encourages families to go out and explore their local area, communicate with one another and share stories. In a nut shell, families are keeping active and the likelihood of the little ones doing well at school, and being happy, is a lot higher."