NewsPositively Hampton Roads


"Story Walks" in Gloucester encourage a love of literacy

Posted at 1:26 PM, Nov 27, 2020

GLOUCESTER, Va. - It's easy to get lost in a good book, but one local school district is swapping out the pages for poster board.

Beside the elementary schools in Gloucester, you will find a walkway lined with literary masterpieces. Each poster board is embroidered with a page from a kids book.

Students start at the top of the sidewalk and then take a trip down the "Story Walk." They go from sign to socially-distant sign, reading the pages, looking at pictures and answering thought-provoking questions.

"Part of my job is promoting a love of and enjoyment of literacy," said Literary Specialist for Gloucester County Public Schools, Jennifer McSweeney. "When you're given an opportunity to choose to read a book, you usually enjoy it more."

The books featured at each "Story Walk" range from fiction to nonfiction and even poetry. The idea is to get kids out of the house and lost in a good book, even if it looks a little unconventional.

McSweeney said it also gives students a much-needed connection to their schools, "even though we have kids back at school there are some that are still virtual so they need a way to feel connected to their building."

After finishing the "Story Walk" guests are encouraged to take a picture of the QR code. McSweeney will then get a notification that you finished, which helps her keep track of the foot traffic. If someone chooses to participate in this step, their information will not be shared or saved.

It's not just open for students at the school, McSweeney encourages families to come out on the weekends or in their spare time after school.

"There might be other businesses and community members who want to have a Story Walk and that's fine [because] this is a community effort and [we're] a group of people that want to provide something good for families," said McSweeney.

The books are changed every month and families are encouraged to check out the "Story Walks" at every school.