Christine Elrick, 43, of Gordon Drive, East Boldon launched the Look for a Book North East England initiative in July, in a bid to encourage youngsters to find enjoyment in books.
The scheme, in which people place their old books in public places for others to find, has become a viral success, with more than 50,000 members of the Facebook group and books hidden across the world.
Now Christine, who is a literacy lead at Westoe Crown Primary School in South Shields, has created what she believes to be one of the first book vending machines.
The fully-working machine, which pupils have named the ‘Imagination Station’, has pride of place in the school hall and offers a selection of much-loved children’s books for all ages, from the likes of The Gruffalo to works by Michael Morpurgo and David Walliams.
Every week a pupil from each class is recognised for their reading efforts and entered into a draw to win a golden ticket for the machine. A winner from Key Stage One and Key Stage Two, can then choose any book they wish to take home and keep.
Now in its third week, the Imagination Station is already making an impression on the young readers.
“They love it, because they have never seen anything like it. It’s like they have won the lottery,” said Christine, who came up with the idea in summer 2018 and has spent the last year tracking down the machine and having it modified.
“I’m always looking for ways to encourage them to read,” she continued.
“As a teacher you see the interest in reading dropping year by year, but it opens so many doors for them. As well as improving their well-being you can already see improvements in school data.”
Headteacher, Steve Price commented: “It’s such a simple idea but it’s having a massive impact in encouraging children to engage in reading more, which is a battle for parents and for staff in school. As a motivating technique it’s a real success and hopefully more schools will catch on. “