Students at Lynn Fripps school in Willoughby were ‘monkeying around’ while learning last week but it was all because of the school’s first ever StoryWalk, as part of Family Literacy Week.
A StoryWalk is a fun, educational activity that places a children’s story, with pages of the book, posted along a popular walking route in the community.
“They’re really excited to see the story first of all, but also being outside and reading the story is kind of a new concept,” says Jennifer Fernandes, a teacher librarian, who splits her time working at the district and Lynn Fripps Elementary.
Fernandes led one of the Kindergarten classes on an interactive animal themed journey, reading aloud “Is there anyone like me?” written by Frank Strydom.
“Sharing the literature is important but also being able to read the page, so looking at the pictures for clues. The story that we chose is a level A story which is also good for our ELL (English Language Learning) families as well. It’s a story that we hope they can work together, to read together, sound out some of the words. As this is the first time, we want to set the stage and to have everyone feel successful,” explains Fernandes.
The students were able to share thoughts, laughs, and act a little silly – mimicking animals while learning.
“Some of the characters are elephants in the story so we get the kids to move from one page to the other page like an elephant with their elephant trunk, or they hop in between the pages and things like that, so they can really fully understand the physical literacy as well as the literature piece,” describes Fernandes.
The project involved the school’s PAC (Parent Advisory Council). The PAC helped research the company to source the book, found the story, and paid for the pages which were printed at Walnut Grove Secondary’s print shop.
It was a collaboration which the school PAC strongly supported especially in this pandemic.
“We’re very excited to see something that families can do together, while we’re restricted – not being able to go anywhere, places to go, but something fun that families can do outside,” says Jenn Pyper, Lynn Fripps PAC President.
The PAC is taking it one step further and inviting families to continue the literacy journey after hours.
“We’re promoting a family flashlight walk so families can come in the late afternoon, when it is dark, and use their flashlights to read the story,” adds Pyper.
The project is popping up in other schools in the District. Fernandes says her colleague at Langley Meadows Community School, Teacher Librarian Jen Martins along with a Physical Education teacher, created an original version, doing most of the design and development last Summer. The school is already working on their third story. Also, twelve other stories will be available throughout the District thanks in part to the Langley Literacy Network and the Langley Children Committee.
“As an educator, you really want them to love reading, that’s the goal! We want them to love reading, and seeing students laugh, they can connect reading with fun, joy, engagement, and they will want to read more.“ says Fernandes.