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‘This is a different style of learning:’ Mount Sterling installs ‘Story Walk’ to promote children’s literacy

A new walking trail activity in Montgomery County is designed to help improve children’s reading skills.
Published: Mar. 26, 2022 at 1:30 PM EDT
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MONTGOMERY Co., Ky. (WKYT) - A new walking trail activity in Montgomery County is designed to help improve children’s reading skills.

The story walk opened Saturday at Botts Park in Mount Sterling.

Members of the community group Leadership Montgomery Class of 2022 planned the literacy project.

“We go behind the scenes of Montgomery County to see how things work,” member Vanessa Tuttle said.

A long stretch of time out of the classroom has left some students falling behind. Educators are working to reverse declining test scores, while programs like Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library are popping up across the Commonwealth to help.

The walking path at Botts Park is lined with pages of a book.

“Each podium has two pages of a children’s book,” Tuttle said. “The idea behind it is, as they read, they read two pages of each book and move on to the next podium. By the time you finished, you walked a mile.”

The first book featured is “If You Give a Pig a Pancake.”

“By the time you get to the 15th podium, you’ll be finished reading a book,” Sarah Congleton said.

Her research for her Master’s thesis completed at the University of Kentucky inspired the story walk.

“This kind of gives a more fun opportunity for kids to get out there and learn how to read,” Tuttle said.

The story walk’s creators said it’s an motivational activity inspired by a concerning statistic.

“Kindergarten readiness is at a low 50 percent, so the class was passionate about bringing that up, doing something to promote literacy, also family togetherness and physical activity,” Congleton said.

She said only 32 percent of Montgomery County students were ready to start school.

“It’s lower than the states surrounding us so that was another concern,” she said.

With every few strides, children are one step closer to finding out how the story ends.

Members of the Leadership Montgomery Class said the book on display in the park will change every month.

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