Story walks promote healthy living while increasing children’s literacy

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WACO, Texas (KWTX) – The Waco-McLennan County Library is partnering with Dewey Center & Park to promote a healthy lifestyle while simultaneously developing your toddler’s literacy skills.

Story walks are a fun and interactive way for the whole family to burn calories and do some reading while you’re at it.

A new approach to reading for your child, a story walk breaks down books page by page, spreading them over a two hundred foot stretch of path.

“It’s to promote literacy. We are a library and we want children to read and develop a love of reading. It is also to promote healthy activities like walking, exercising, spending time with family. So we think it’s a win-win,” McLennan County Library Director Essy Day said.

The current book, “Say What”, is intended to promote conversation between a parent and child using topics from the book.

As the story progresses, talking points related to the book are given to promote conversations that are easy enough for any child to understand and respond to.

This facility is also not a one-time-visit attraction.

The library plans to change the books seasonally with a corresponding thematic book.

“We want to change them every quarter according to the seasons. Wouldn’t that be fun? It’s summer so we’re doing a summer story. In the winter we do something cold, maybe the bears hibernate or something,” Day said.

The library had seen story walks done in other parts of the country and after receiving a grant from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC), Waco’s first story walk came to fruition.

This comes at a time when libraries are seeing dwindling daily visitors due to e-books and other modern technologies.

With the addition of the story walk, the library hopes it will encourage young learners to explore the library more often.

“I hope that once the kids are done with the story walk, they’ll come to the library and pick up some books,” Day said.

Now, she says, Waco’s libraries aren’t what they used to be.

They adapted, hoping to see more residents using the public service.

“We always say that we are no longer your grandmother’s library. We want kids to come and engage, have fun and get rowdy.

Going forward, the History Walk will feature live readings from library staff, helping the books come to life, taking readers deeper into history.

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