By Randy Fogg
MOUNDRIDGE—Local families have been able to go on Story Walks at a couple of Moundridge parks.
Originally, Moundridge Public Library Director Betsy Davis planned to begin the Story Walk program this summer. However, after Gov. Laura Kelly issued a stay-at-home order due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Davis decided to begin Story Walks in April.
Davis said the Story Walk seemed like it was a natural fit to give families and children something to do during the stay-at-home order.
“You can still follow social distancing rules,” Davis said. “It’s something new and educational for them to do while going on a walk.”
Also, officials with the City of Moundridge had decided to close all of the playground equipment at the city parks.
A librarian in Vermont came up with the idea for Story Walk. Pages from a children’s book are placed on signs, and the signs are placed at brief intervals along a walking path.
For the first three weeks of the program, the story boards were set up at Pack Park. The walking path is on the south end of the park.
Davis said the program will move to Wheatridge Park the weeks of April 19 and April 26. The story boards will be placed along the new sidewalk at the park. The sidewalk goes around the edges of the park, starting on the west side, continuing on the south end and going over to the school district property.
“We planned for five weeks of Story Walk,” Davis said. “We might get some more books.”
Davis added the library might keep Story Walks going for “as long as the stay-at-home order is in effect.”
The library must purchase two copies of each book used for Story Walk. Each book must be taken apart.
“It doesn’t take too long [to get the story boards ready],” Davis said. “You’re going to have to laminate everything.”
They also put a number on one of the pages so participants can make sure they are reading the book in the proper order.
For the Story Walk, Davis said she was selecting books with large pictures in it and “something that takes a little bit [of reading].”
A couple of weeks ago, children and families were able to read “Excellent Ed” by Stacey McAnulty.
It tells the story of a dog named, Ed, who wonders why everyone in the Ellis family is excellent at something but him. The dog becomes determined to find his own thing to be excellent at doing.
This week, the book is “Coat of Many Colors” by Dolly Parton. The book tells the story of a family in Tennessee that does not have enough money to buy a new coat for the little girl in the family. The mother sews one for her out of rags. The girl wears the coat to school. When other children laugh, she gives them a lesson about what it means to be rich.
Davis noted it is a bilingual book, with the story shown in both English and Spanish.
In addition, families in the community have placed colored rocks next to the signs that are used in the Story Walk program.
“It’s been a fun thing for people to find,” Davis said. “The library is not putting the rocks out there. Someone else is placing the painted rocks on the ground. It’s an added bonus.”
Davis said local families have responded well about the Story Walk program.
“This is something educational for them to do when they go out for a walk,” Davis said. “This is something positive for families to do during the stay-at-home order.”
Davis said the library was still planning for its Summer Reading Program this year.
“It will probably look different then it did in previous years,” she noted. “We’re still working on it.”