Hiding books in Stevenage to encourage children to read proves a real hit

Stevenage Hidden Books is encouraging children to read more. Picture: Pexels.

Stevenage Hidden Books is encouraging children to read more. Picture: Pexels. - Credit: Archant

A group aimed at encouraging children to get excited about reading has amassed more than 500 members in just three weeks.

Vickie Latimer set up Facebook page Stevenage Hidden Books with the idea of hiding children's books in public spaces, such as parks and play areas, for youngsters to find.

Vickie said: "I set this group up as my children found some books while we were away in Weymouth and I thought it would be a fun idea to do it back home, for other children to enjoy.

"This is a fun opportunity to get children excited about reading.

"Hide a book you no longer need for another child to find, read and then re-hide.

"You can also post pictures of your finds on the group page if you wish.

"Please put the books in clear food bags that will keep them safe from the weather, but also make them easy to find for other children.

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"You could also pop in a note saying who hid the book and ask others to join our Stevenage Hidden Books Facebook page.

"You can hide as many books as you like, and feel free to give a clue where you have hidden your book to give people the heads up to look there."

So far, dozens of books have been hidden and found by delighted youngsters.

One Facebook post reads: "[Book] found by my granddaughter outside Round Diamond School in Great Ashby. We will be looking for a new hiding space tomorrow.

"This is a fantastic idea. She was so happy and thought magic fairies had sent it for her to find."

Books need to be in good condition, but don't have to be new, and need to be appropriate for children aged up to 12.

Encouraging reading from an early age - or being read to from an even earlier age - is vitally important. A spokesman for the National Literacy Trust said: "Lacking vital literacy skills holds a person back at every stage of their life. As a child they won't be able to succeed at school, as a young adult they will be locked out of the job market, and as a parent they won't be able to support their own child's learning.

"People with low literacy skills may not be able to read a book or newspaper, understand road signs or price labels, make sense of a bus or train timetable, fill out a form or read instructions on medicines."

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