‘Look for a Book’ is a new project launched in Salford which aims to make reading fun and accessible to all members of the community.
In a treasure hunt game, families are encouraged to hide their favourite book throughout the local area in places such as parks, cafes and even the leisure centre.
Then, rather than taking books from the library, children and their families from Salford are hunting for the books to take home and read together.
Afterwards they must hide the book in a brand new location, alongside a note explaining who last had the book and what they enjoyed about it. Below are some of the locations where books have been found.
Diane Hobson, a primary teaching assistant from Farnsworth, decided to set the project up in Salford after being inspired by other treasure hunt projects within the UK.
She said: ‘I wanted to make reading into an adventure and encourage those who don’t really like reading to get involved and boost their reading and writing skills.’
A 2018 report conducted by The National Literacy Trust showed that over 40,000 children in the Greater Manchester area do not own a single book of their own, and those without books in their home have much poorer educational outcomes.
Dr Amy Bidgood, a psychology lecturer at the University of Salford, specialises in child and language development and explained the importance of reading with children.
She said: “The more familiar they are with books, even if they can’t read a single letter, the more accessible they will find them and the faster their literacy skills will develop.”
Diane’s passion to help children in the local community has resulted in a new-found enthusiasm for reading within the Walkden residents with long lasting effects on Salford’s younger generation.
She said: “The most important part of reading is sharing it with those around you and reading with people can boost language skills but also massively improve confidence.
“The project is also free, so people don’t have to buy new books or worry about travelling to the library when a book could be hidden right on their doorstep” she added.
‘The Look for a Book’ project is accessible to all age groups, and anyone in the local area can get involved and hide a book of their choice. The only rule is that another book must be re-hidden once it is found.
Ruth Williams, a member of ‘Look for a Book’ community group, explained how beneficial the project has been.
She said: “Diane’s joy of books is infectious and it makes you want to spread the book joy. I was in another group before and its ground to a halt but Diane is such a motivator.”
The group are now expanding and beginning to hide books for all age ranges, including parents who are taking part in the treasure hunt and hiding books for eachother.
Diane said: “We want to get everyone taking part and opening up a book. Its important to make this project a proper community thing and keep pushing our boundaries forward.”
The project hopes to involve all children in reading, no matter what their ability, and improve their confidence in their own reading skills.
The group is at 150 members and growing each day, with more locations around the Salford area being used to hide books.
If you want to get involve, join the ‘Look for a Book’ Facebook group and start hiding your own favourite novels!