November 9, 2022
VINCENNES, Ind. - Through the imaginations of Vincennes University Education majors and Education Professor Lisa Miller, a beautifully illustrated and touching children’s book will come to life next spring along the banks of the Wabash River.
Miller and the future teachers are creating a “story walk” for elementary school students in Knox County and their families to enjoy. A children’s book will be displayed page by page on signs along a walking route. Knox County youth will go from sign to sign, reading the story while making their way along the river.
Story walks promote reading and encourage outdoor recreation. The walk along the Wabash will teach VU students preparing to become educators how to take literacy outside the walls of classrooms and include parents and guardians in a literacy event.
The impactful and unique project is supported by a grant from the Knox County Community Foundation.
According to VU College of Social Science, Performing Arts and Communications Dean Dr. Cynthia Ragle, “We are thankful to the Knox County Community Foundation for the funds to implement Professor Miller's story walk. This activity is a fun way to connect our Education students with the community, encourage reading, and promote being active together as a family.”
Knox County Community Foundation Regional Director of Development Savannah Linenburg and Regional Director of Community Engagement & Impact Laura Hazelman presented Miller recently with a check for $4,000.
“The Story Walk supports both education and youth development - two program areas the Knox County Community Foundation strives to support,” Hazelman said.
VU students will plan the stations and create interactive activities for the story walk. There will be questions along the way that will help children understand the story and guide parents and guardians on what questions they might ask to help their child build literacy skills. Along the trail, there will be multiple opportunities for activities that enrich the story as students are reading it.
Stations of craft activities, movement activities, games, and a photo booth are planned at the end of the trail. Children will also select a free book to take home after the story walk
“In my teaching experience in public schools, I often planned events which involved parents and found it to be so important for students,” Miller said. “It has been a vision of mine that our future teachers have the opportunity to plan a literacy event for children, and with this grant opportunity, it will be possible thanks to the Knox County Community Foundation. We are thankful to the Foundation and its support of Vincennes University and Knox County youth and their families.”
The book that will spring to life along the story walk is “Mossy” by award-winning author and illustrator Jan Brett. It shares the tale of Mossy, a one-of-a-kind turtle with a breathtaking garden growing on her shell, who loses her freedom when she is removed from a lily pad pond and taken to live in a museum.
“This book was selected due to the amazing artwork and the important message of the story concerning wildlife,” Miller said. “It is a beautiful story about a turtle and some real-life dilemmas she faces. I am so excited that this has come to life.”