There’s still some time left to see Frontier College’s StoryWalk through Muskoseepi Park before it disappears at the end of the month. Partnered with the City of Grande Prairie, the college put on the unique presentation as an alternative to the summer reading tents usually seen throughout the community.
The StoryWalk is comprised of a line of posts, spaced to adhere to social distancing protocols, showcasing children’s stories that have been paired with questions readers can answer for themselves. The questions are intended to increase reader engagement with the materials being presented.
Frontier College Community Coordinator Janine Kozlowski says the feedback so far has been all positive, based on 120 surveys done.
“I’m just thinking of one in particular that I thought was really beautiful where [a woman] said her sons were running to the next page to find out what was happening in the book. They were so excited about literacy [and] that’s exactly what I wanted.”
Each of the posts has been spaced to accommodate social distancing. Also attached to each page are questions for readers to think about and answer for themselves. Kozlowski says the idea is to increase public engagement with the story rather than simply reading and walking by.
“Normally we would do literacy programming over the summer to reduce summer learning loss, and normally that would be in a group setting which doesn’t really work because of COVID-19. So we’ve moved to this story walk and I think it’s been really functional for people because it’s up all week, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., and they’re able to go whenever suits them.”
Frontier College acquires two copies of each book that gets displayed in the park, one to be kept on hand for regular reading and another to be dismantled, laminated, and mounted.
The StoryWalk was first set up the week of Canada Day and was left overnight in the park during that time. Kozlowski notes, unfortunately, it was vandalized early on.
“The very first week we did it, they weren’t up for very long before they were all taken down by someone,” she says.
As a result, Kozlowski detaches the story pages every night and returns them to their posts every morning. She adds in future years, Frontier College may run both the StoryWalk as well as the tents through the summer.