StoryWalk promoting early childhood literacy to be unveiled at Fort Gratiot County Park

StoryWalk, created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, Vermont and with the collaboration of Kellogg-Hubbard Library, will be making its debut in the northern portion of the Fort Gratiot County Park.

As the Talking is Teaching campaign is emerging across Michigan, Great Start Collaborative Coordinator of St. Clair County, Riley Alley, looked at ways to incorporate Talking is Teaching into the county’s parks and determined StoryWalk would be a good fit.

The project contains 21 free-standing panels, each featuring a page from a children’s picture book. Parents can enjoy the interactive outdoor experience with their children as they’re moving along the path to finish the story with excitement and anticipation.

Located in the northern portion of Fort Gratiot County Park, StoryWalk is a set of 21 free-standing panels, each showcasing a page from a children's picture book.“This teaches and shows our families and our children that reading can happen everywhere, not just at bedtime,” Alley says. “Just because the child is moving, does not mean they’re not listening. This is a good opportunity to show our parents that movement while reading is okay.”

Alley says stories will be changed bi-monthly or monthly giving children the opportunity to discover new books. “Don’t Feed the Coos!” written by Jonathan Stutzman and illustrated by Heather Fox, is the first book to be showcased giving children an insight into birds.

“If the child is really liking this book that they read, maybe they’ll go and read a bit more about birds, or maybe if we do something seasonal come fall, then they’ll go get some more books about fall. It is a nice way to get them to branch out and read more books,” Alley says.

Even so, Alley noted that books featured at StoryWalk can be checked out at the library, giving children another opportunity to read their favorite books.

“Literacy is a huge passion of mine because it’s the one building block that creates success for it. By introducing reading to our children at a very young age through StoryWalk, children will build a love for reading, making them excited to learn and read in their future,” Alley says.

StoryWalk aims to boost children’s literacy skills creating a lifelong impact on the community and was supported by St. Clair County RESA, St. Clair County Great Start Collaborative, State Farm Agent Megan Simmons, the Community Foundation of St. Clair County, St. Clair County Library System, St. Clair County Parks and Recreation, and the Michigan Department of Education.

All are welcome to attend the ribbon-cutting celebrating the new StoryWalk on Thursday, Jul. 28, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. at Fort Gratiot County Park.
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Danielle Patrick is a Chesterfield resident who finds passion in writing about the Port Huron community. In addition to her work with The Keel, she is also a freelancer for Epicenter Mt. Pleasant. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English from Central Michigan University and is pursuing her master’s degree in poetry at Southern New Hampshire University. Follow her on Instagram @_daniellepatrick_.