Published: 06:00, 17 August 2019
A “clever but simple” book sharing scheme has been putting smiles on the faces of dozens of children across town this summer.
Inspired by an initiative set up in Cambridgeshire, primary school teacher Caroline Bunting decided to start up a group in Faversham - but did not quite expect the reception she has received.
In less than two weeks, the Facebook group has been joined by more than 550 people, with parents posting daily to share photos of their little ones with their book finds.
Davington Primary School teacher Mrs Bunting - who herself has two daughters aged 10 and 12 - has hailed the quick success of the scheme and puts it down to its simplicity and accessibility.
“It is such a clever but simple activity, and all families can take part because it costs nothing,” the 39-year-old said.
“It can be included in everyday routines such as going to the shops. It has been wonderful to see so many smiling faces of children who have found the books; it is amazing.
“And parents also get enjoyment out of it by sharing the book with their children.”
The idea is simple - a book is hidden is a reused plastic wallet, to keep it protected from rain, with a note explaining the project and directions to the Facebook page. Once found by a child, they can take it home, read it, and then rehide it for someone else to enjoy.
“In education, we have clever ways of getting children engaged in reading..." Caroline Bunting
Mrs Bunting, who lives in Churchill Way, says the benefits of the scheme go beyond getting children to read.
She added: “It also means children are getting out and about and may even go to places they haven’t been before, as it can sometimes take a while to find a book. There’s also the exercise benefit there as it means people are doing a lot of walking or cycling.
“When I go out with my daughters to hide and find books, we cycle.
“There’s a lot of lessons children learn from this scheme too. They learn about empathy as they hide their books for someone else to enjoy.”
Mrs Bunting believes that despite the influx of modern technology, children are not reading less.
She said: “In education, we have clever ways of getting children engaged in reading.
“There may be a dip in the summer holidays of children reading, but for some it is actually a great chance to read more.
“I am a massive believer of children needing to be children.
“Children love reading - it is like stepping into a new world for them.”
Mrs Bunting is encouraging families in the town to look for or hide a book when they are next walking through the town, and to share their finds and clues on the Facebook page.
“I didn’t expect it to get this big this quick,” she added. “It has gone bonkers. People have a high level of respect for books and look after them so these books can be found and hidden again and again.
“I think Faversham is a wonderful place to be, and we take on board these kind of community things. Long may it continue.”
Search for Look 4 a Book Faversham on Facebook.