Back in early pandemic days, one of the losses my family counted was visiting the library. Most of our local Hennepin County Libraries were closed for browsing and we mourned the loss of this experience. Sure we had plenty of books at home and could pick up books to check out. But there is something about the communal experience of finding a book specially chosen by the librarians sitting on the shelf, and then reading that together that makes our libraries so great.
When we discovered our local library hosting a Story Stroll, we knew we had found our new favorite thing.
This activity is just as it sounds. Readers take a walk or a hike through an outdoor venue, usually a park, and step by step the pages guide you along as you read the story together. Often the books are carefully chosen by the librarians to reflect the surrounding space. They help the readers discover the outdoors in a whole new way, while reflecting the people in that neighborhood.
We all know the literacy value of reading to our kids. But there is also a great opportunity to expose our children to diversity. Librarians are intentional about finding books that show us new ideas, new faces, new ways of being. Reading the book together as you walk allows for conversation with our kids about the story.
Story Strolls are also great for a range of needs in your family. Some children cannot sit long for a book and will love moving around while they hear a story. Other independent readers will enjoy taking their time and experiencing the story at their own pace. Even adults have a great time taking in a story while they walk.
While libraries have hosted these Story Strolls for years now, the idea really took off during the pandemic when readers were seeking community reading in a safe socially distant way. They have grown very popular and new events are scheduled each season.
The most recent event will be hosted by the Friends of the Nokomis Library on April 22 at Fort Snelling State Park. Come celebrate Earth Day as well as Free State Park day on this story stroll. Hike from page to page reading a special story for Spring: Anne Rockwell’s Hiking Day.
Can’t make this event? No worries! New events will be added as the summer progresses. Check your local library for event details.