StoryWalks: What They Are and How to Create Your Own

Find a local StoryWalk or create your own to get families outside and reading together!

Encourage your community to get outside and stay active while enjoying children’s stories as a family.

If you’re a lover of nature and the written word, you might be interested in learning more about StoryWalks! These are published books displayed along outdoor walking paths to encourage people to enjoy their outdoor surroundings while engaging with literature. 

If you’re looking for a fun and educational activity that will entertain your whole family, consider looking into nearby StoryWalks around your neighborhood. Better yet, if you don’t have one in your community, make one yourself! Here’s what you need to know about StoryWalks and how you can get involved with the project. 

What Is a StoryWalk?

With its original concept imagined by Anne Ferguson of Vermont, StoryWalks are literacy projects that display children’s books along a community walking route. A children’s book is selected and taken apart page by page before being posted in a public outdoor area.

Originally developed in collaboration with the Kellogg-Hubbard library, StoryWalk is now a registered service mark under Ferguson’s name. Her goal with StoryWalks was to encourage families to get outside while interacting with literacy. 

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Where Do You Put a StoryWalk?

Although the concept originated by placing children’s books in nature, StoryWalks have expanded to urban settings. These typically consist of books set up along city sidewalks or areas with a lot of foot traffic, such as downtown areas. StoryWalks can be located anywhere, like ponds, school playgrounds, and main street shopping areas.

If you’d like to initiate your own StoryWalk, you may have to consider other factors like weather and vandalism. Otherwise, you can certainly get creative with your designated StoryWalk location. 

How Do You Make a StoryWalk?

If you’re interested in creating your own StoryWalk, the process is relatively easy. The primary details to keep in mind are copyright laws since you’ll be working with published books. Copyright laws will allow you to use a purchased book for the project. However, you won’t be able to alter or enlarge the text in any way.

Once you’ve accumulated the story’s pages, secure them with something stiff like cardstock. Finally, laminate the pages to prevent weather damage. 

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Which Books Should You Use?

There are a few details to consider when selecting your StoryWalk book. For example, a plot-driven story will motivate people to continue reading while also moving along its designated path.

You should also try to select more illustration-heavy children’s literature without as many words. This makes your StoryWalk more accessible in case it’s difficult to read. It’s also important to keep your specific community in mind when it comes to the story’s language and messages. 

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