Perry County Christmas StoryWalk

Staff Report

The Christmas season is here. To celebrate, come and enjoy the first annual Perry County Christmas StoryWalk at Perry County Park on Saturday, December 12 from 3:00-5:00!

The StoryWalk is sponsored by Save the Children, Perry County Fiscal Court, and the newly established Perry County Literacy Council. The event will provide an opportunity for families to spend time together as they walk through the park reading the pages of Clement C. Moore’s “The Night Before Christmas” while sipping hot chocolate and listening to Christmas music. Come and create memories and provide a fun, interactive literacy experience with your children!

Free books for children will be provided by Save the Children. County Judge Executive Scott Alexander will hand out candy canes and Ho-ho-ho Santa Claus will make an appearance! Local author Nancy Kelly Allen will be on hand to read aloud “The Polar Express” and Save the Children will hold a drawing for a Polar Express gift basket. Even Snoopy, Grimace and a Minion will be at the park to help celebrate literacy, courtesy of McDonald’s!

The project is being implemented as a result of the US Department of Education’s Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) Grant. Kentucky is one of four states that received the two-year grant which includes Perry County as well as Clay, Whitley, Owsley and Jackson. The goal of this grant is to help nurture a culture of literacy throughout the community, stress the importance of early literacy and reading aloud to children, and put books in the hands of children who need them the most.

Research shows that the first three years of a child’s life are critical for early language as well as the development of reading and writing skills. Children’s language and literacy skills are developed through social interactions with others using books and other materials and a StoryWalk® is an innovative way to provide that interaction.

The Perry County Literacy Council that was established through this grant is working to utilize community assets to provide innovative literacy opportunities that can be sustained in Perry County in the future. The Council approved funds to build and install twenty (20) permanent StoryWalk® displays in the Perry County Park. The Fiscal Court has agreed to serve as a partner and change the book featured in the displays on a regular basis. This December event will serve as the initial kickoff, but individuals can do a “walk” at any time.

In the past year, the Council implemented a variety of projects and book distributions for children at events such as Family Fun Days at Gorman Hollow and Cherokee Hills, East Perry Child Care Summer Program, Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Day, Born Learning Academies, Back to School/Thanksgiving/Christmas events for Perry County and Hazard Independent Schools, and books for the Perry County Foster Care Christmas party. Additional projects underway include reading corners for Buckhorn Children’s Home, the Perry County Health Department and the Commission for Children with Special Health Care Needs. First Steps is providing information packets for babies born at Hazard ARH

and the Council will provide a new free book for the packets, “On the Night You Were Born” to encourage parents to read aloud.

The Perry County Literacy Council will also partner with the Hazard Rotary Club to support the creation of “Little Free Libraries” throughout the county!

For more information or to become involved in the Council, please contact Lee Ann Colwell Gabbard, Community Literacy Manager with Save the Children at: [email protected]

The StoryWalk Project was created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, VT and developed in collaboration with the Vermont Bicycle & Pedestrian Coalition and the Kellogg Hubbard Library.

Staff Report

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