StoryWalk concept combines nature; literacy
Steamboat Springs families will be able to walk through a story thanks to the newest addition to the Yampa River Core Trail. StoryWalk is a concept that combines both nature and literacy. The collaboration between the city of Steamboat, Bud Werner Memorial Library and Routt County United Way’s Women United will bring the first-ever StoryWalk to Steamboat Springs.
Children and adults can walk their way through the pages of a story along a portion of the Core Trail between the library and the Stockbridge Transit Center. The story pages are mounted on posts in the trees so the story can be read page by page as participants walk outside.
“When the library started talking about doing StoryWalk, we thought it was the perfect thing for us to be involved in as another way to enhance childhood literacy,” said Pam Ruehle, a member of Women United. “With Steamboat being such an outdoor place, this is a great way to get outside and get kids to read a little more.”
According to Ruehle, a study done several years ago showed that many children in Routt County weren’t ready for kindergarten at age 5, so Women United made it its mission to increase access to books, reading and literacy within the county. They brought Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to the community, an early literacy program that provides a free book each month to children through age 5.
StoryWalk is the group’s latest venture to encourage reading among children and families.
“StoryWalk offers the chance to read a story with a kiddo outside,” said Becky Hammond, co-chair of the Women United Literacy Committee. “Promoting literacy for children in Routt County is one of our main missions, and StoryWalk will do that perfectly.”
What: StoryWalk Grand Opening
When: 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 25
Where: Yampa River Core Trail across the river from the Stockbridge Transit Center
Jamie Collins, youth services librarian, chose the first StoryWalk book, “The Best Place in the World” by Petr Horácek, which tells the story of Hare, who leaves behind his beloved meadow only to discover what makes it such a special place.
“I love the author, and this is his newest book,” Collins said. “The artwork is beautiful, and it conveys a wonderful message about being proud of where you live and loving where you live because of the people who surround you. I thought that was a message that would ring true in Steamboat as well.”
Literacy extension activities will be included, too. For example, children can pick up a craft at the library before or after their StoryWalk visit to continue their engagement with the story.
StoryWalk is a registered trademark created by Anne Ferguson, of Montpelier, Vermont, and has since been installed in all 50 states and 13 different countries, including Germany, Canada, Russia and South Korea.
And while the story will change, the walk location will remain the same. Collins will choose stories based on the season, and StoryWalk will remain in the same place for locals and visitors to enjoy.
The community is invited to a grand opening party at 10 a.m. Saturday. The event will include a ribbon cutting and snacks for children before attendees are invited to walk the trail and enjoy the story.
Sophie Dingle is a contributing writer for the Steamboat Pilot & Today. She can be reached through the editor.
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