Sharing stories is one of the best ways for children to grow in community and their own personal faith. During our time apart from each other due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we felt it was important to continue giving children stories of all kinds. Besides simply reading a book over a computer screen, we wanted to allow our young people to physically see and engage with books. So, we decided to create a “StoryWalk®,” an outside activity where pages from a children’s picture lined our parish garden. This provided families a chance to get outside, spend time together, and learn as they read and walked. There are so many celebrations, feast days, seasons, and people that are celebrated in beautiful books. The possibilities are endless!
How to Create a StoryWalk® for Your Community
The goal from the start was to create a reusable and reasonably priced display system that did not take too much time to create. While this may seem like an impossible combination, the time and effort on the front end saved time, money, and stress when it came to putting up a new book for a new season.
Select The Book
First, pick a book you want to share with your parish, whether it be for children, youth, adults, or all ages. You can choose any topic that you find correlates with being outside, journeying, traveling, nature, animals, wherever you see God’s handiwork in a beautiful book.
Select The Location
It is also important to ensure that you have somewhere that you can place the book around your grounds. It can be as spread apart or close together as needed, as long as it is a clear journey.
Our supplies include:
- Blank yard signs from a hardware store (I have 15 yard signs ready to go and most books have been about this many pages.)
- Black spray paint used to create a solid, dark background that makes the pages and artwork pop (You can also use a white background, if desired.)
- Scrapbook pages, 12×12, one per book page (Paper can be patterned, a solid color, black, or white – whatever looks best with the pages in the book.)
- Page protectors, 12×12
- Clear tape
- Two copies of the book of your choice (I generally purchase used since they will be unusable at the end of the project.)
- Utility knife or sharp scissors
Create The Signs
Once you’ve gathered all your supplies, it’s time to put it all together. Here’s how I do it:
- Spray paint the yard signs to create a dark background for the artwork..
- Connect page protectors to yard signs. Tape two 12×12 page protectors together with the openings facing down. Then, glue the page protectors on to the center of the yard sign. It’s ok it they hang over the slides slightly.
- Take the books apart. Carefully cut each page from the seem using a utility knife or sharp scissors. Disconnect the pages from each other, being careful to keep them in order. You will use pages 1 & 2, 5 & 6, 9 & 10, etc. from the first book pages 3 & 4, 7 & 8, 11 & 12, etc. from the second book.
- Glue each page to a piece of scrapbook paper with the center edge aligned with the edge of the paper.
- Slide the book pages (now glued to scrapbook paper) into the page protectors. Place a small piece of clear tape along the bottom (open edge) to secure the pages.
Place The Signs
You’re almost ready to share your work and the selected book! Head to the area where you have chosen to share the book and set up the yard signs near a pathway. The pages are relatively protected from weather, but it is always worth checking the forecast before setting up the story.
Share the news that the story is ready to be enjoyed.
Creating these books has been an enormous joy and seeing others share the journey of reading together has helped me feel connected to others even when we are apart. I hope that these instructions will provide insight into a way to share with others the stories that speak to you.
The StoryWalk® Project was created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, VT and developed in collaboration with the Kellogg-Hubbard Library. Storywalk® is a registered service mark owned by Ms. Ferguson. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions.