An Outdoor Story Walk for All Ages
An Outdoor Story Walk for All Ages

There is nothing like reading a good book, especially outside on a beautiful, sunny September day.

"We get to partner up and walk to each poster and take turns reading out loud," explained 3rd grader Anna. "And we are outside!"

Students in Danielle Yeager's 3rd grade class recently took their reading lesson outside to try out a Story Walk on display near the Lower School.

"I set up the Story Walk to get kids reading, moving, and outside," explained Lower School Librarian Meg Yeaton.

"The students weren't familiar with the idea of physically walking page to page to read a story. They loved the idea of reading alongside their partner as they went for a walk together," said Ms. Yeager. "It also provides the teachers with an option to get everyone outside for a much-needed break while still having a meaningful experience and great conversation."

"I love it," said Felicity. "I like how you can walk and read."

"Has anyone counted how many pages are in the book?" asked Ms. Yeager.

All 17 pages of Jacqueline Woodson's book, The Day You Begin, have been enlarged and mounted on yard signs that line the sidewalk.

"This book can be read by everyone, big and small," said Ms. Yeaton. "I think what's so special about the story is that each age group can take something from it. Our Upper School librarian, Andrea Yu, purchased copies for Middle and Upper School students." The book is the library September Story of the Month.

"There will be times when you walk into a room and no one there is quite like you," reads the first page of the book. "Until you begin to share your stories." The story centers around Angelina and her feelings starting the school year.

As her classmates share stories about their summer activities, Angelina starts to feel out of place, until "And all at once, in the room where no one else is quite like you, the world opens itself up a little wider to make some space for you,"

After Ms. Yeager's 3rd graders finished their Story Walk, they gathered to share their thoughts.

"Flap your wings like a chicken so you can spread out and raise your hand if you can relate to the story," requested Ms. Yeager.

"Everyone is different which is good," reflected Will.

"Other people have interesting and different stories about their summer," said Lydia.

"The author shows us that everyone has different ideas and experiences and you need to respect differences," shared Justin.

"This really fits in with our classroom theme that we need to be welcoming to everyone," said Ms. Yeager. "This story highlights that. It is really important to notice and celebrate differences."

"This is so cool I think we will be featured in the EA news!" smiled Will.

Ms. Yeaton installed the Story Walk at EA after seeing one with her children over the summer. "COVID-19 has made us all rethink a lot of how we do things and spend time together," said Ms. Yeaton. "When I reflected on the year at school and at home, I realized that one of the wonderful things that came about is that we have all spent more time outside. I thought a Story Walk would be a new and fun way to get everyone outside."

"Similar to the characters in the story, 3rd graders bring in a souvenir to show the class as they share a story about their summer. This project is a fun way to learn more about their classmates," explained Ms. Yeager. "The book is a good resource to introduce this project. It's a reminder to our students that they should be proud of their experiences and who they are even though they may be different from their classmates."

The Day You Begin concludes-

"This is the day you begin

to find the places inside

your laughter and your lunches, your books, your travel, and your stories,

where every new friend has something a little like you - and something else so fabulously not quite like you at all."

"We may have to implement more story walks into our curriculum since it was such a hit!" said Ms. Yeager.