With so many kids, parents and environmental educators enjoying the outdoors this summer, I'd like to share an awesome idea that Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, Vermont created in 2007 to promote physical activity, early literacy and a fun family time in the soothing experience of nature. A STORY WALK!
I learned about "walks with stories" when Joan Robb in western Massachusetts advised that she and other volunteers in their area were planning to use my picture book Over in the Forest, Come and Take a Peak.
She said my story and their woods were a great marriage between literature and nature. They mounted laminated pages of my book onto stakes around a walking trail that kids and parents could enjoy as they walked through the woods.
Last month Joan advised this is the third year they used Over in the Forest
and their kick-off event was more popular than ever. The installation stays up throughout the summer so readers can explore the forest and discover the animals that live there.
A North Carolina school with a large garden area created a different kind of story walk, using my What's in the Garden?
and Anne Ferguson added two of my other books to her StoryWalk collection in Vermont. They are Over in a River, Flowing Out to the Sea
and Marsh Music
. Anne wrote in 2014: "Your books are perfect because they are fun to read, are beautiful, have wonderful rhymes and teach in a playful way. They appeal to children as well as adults. They are books which parks, schools, and nature centers would like to post. I recommend them to everyone who would like to bring the StoryWalk Project to their community. " What a thrill for me to know that my books are being read "outside," celebrating a love of reading, fitness and nature.
Thank you, Anne, for coming up with such an incredible learning opportunity for kids and families to enjoy together. Her wonderful idea has spread to 50 states and 11 foreign countries. To learn more about how to bring it to your community, you can reach Anne at: StoryWalkvt@yahoo.com
And for a great lesson plan for a story walk developed by Carol L. Malnor that meets Common Core and NCSS, contact Carol@dawnpub.com.