Jesse Holmes, a fourth-grade teacher at Hicks Canyon Elementary School, Irvine, was looking for ways to engage her students during the school shutdown when she came up with the idea of Storybook Walk.
To inspire her students to get some exercise outside, she lined pages of storybooks for the children to read on the fence parallel to the pathway to school. These pages were placed in a spaced out manner on the fences so that children could read without getting closer to each other. Children were then supposed to walk by the path reading the story out loud, till the last page of the book. This way, they got some outside time while having a learning opportunity, too. “This is a pathway that a lot of kids use to walk home because they live locally, so they can walk and read it and head home,” said Holmes.
After the success of this fun activity, parents are now bringing these children to especially read the stories and have some nice outdoor time together. “I wanted to see families spending time together while also being educational. It’s been a huge hit with our community and school. Students love walking to and from campus reading a good book,” Holmes told The Orange County Register.
A new book comes into the play every two months, and all these books promote social-emotional learning, diversity and inclusion. According to Holmes, the books, so far, were chosen through voting by her fourth graders. There are five such books that were sanctioned and sponsored by donations, namely, ‘The Bad Seed’ ‘Good Morning Yoga’ ‘You Matter’ ‘The Day You Begin’ and ‘Saturday.’
While praising her spirit and teaching acumen, the principal of her school Deena Vela said, “She has received so many grants for the school, she does all these amazing things. The kids love it.”
Holmes now hopes to continue this tradition even after the pandemic for the sake of the community and increase the storybook library with other diverse reads.