June 15 2016 12:22 AM

StoryWalk brings reading activity to Orlando Park

StoryWalk, a new installation at Haslett's Orlando Park, places pages of a children's book on stations along a walking path.
Courtesy Photo

Some kids can’t get enough of the outdoors, while others are perfectly content to stay inside and read all day. A new installation in Haslett’s Orlando Park is hoping to appeal to both.

StoryWalk, which was unveiled earlier this month, is a non-traditional way to get families outdoors, exercising and learning all at the same time. The installation comprises a series of signs set up along a walkway. Each sign has a page from a book — the opening version features "Moose on the Loose" — as well as suggested activities for children to do as they read. Ann Chapman, CADL Haslett's head librarian, first learned about StoryWalk from a public library discussion list.

"It just struck me that that would be a really perfect service for our patrons," Chapman said. "Combining outdoor exercise and reading made a lot of sense here."

Since StoryWalk’s debut on June 2, Chapman has already received a lot of positive feedback from the community.

"One of our staff stopped over one evening, and two little girls were doing the StoryWalk. When they got to the end, one of the little girls said, ‘Oh, I wish there was another story,’” Chapman said. “That tells us that it's doing what we wanted it to do."

One of Chapman's goals for Story- Walk is to get children hooked on reading early.

"It will show reluctant readers that reading is fun and that it's entertainment, and it will encourage them to read more,” she said. “I think seeing how much fun it was will encourage them to come to the library. It's another free, fun destination for all of our residents this summer."

Chapman was awarded a CADL public service grant to fund the project. Once she got the funding, she needed a place to put it, so she approached Meridian Township.

“The Haslett Library approached us about this idea, and when they suggested it, we were thrilled,” said Jane Greenway, Meridian Township’s parks and land management coordinator. “We recently put in new playground equipment (in Orlando Park), so StoryWalk was the icing on the cake.”

Chapman plans on changing the story out every couple of months. StoryWalk will come down for the winter but will return in the spring. For Greenway, the collaboration has already been a success.

"Ever since we've put it in, we've gotten several phone calls and emails of people saying, ‘We can't wait to bring our grandkids here this summer,’” she said. “We think everyone is really excited about it and how beautiful the park is."