TP Library trail walks you through stories
By DONNA VICKROY firstname.lastname@example.org July 7, 2012 12:18AM
Updated: August 9, 2012 6:15AM
Meher Swamy already has walked the trail four times.
The Tinley Park 6-year-old hardly is alone. Since it went up in June, hundreds of children have read their way along the wood story walk next to the Tinley Park Public Library.
The planked path meanders through the wetlands, the perfect backdrop for “Little Red Riding Hood,” says Meher’s cousin, 12-year-old Tarun Pothanker.
Tall grasses swaying, birds chirping, trees blotting out traffic on nearby 80th Avenue, Tarun said, “You can kind of picture yourself in her shoes, making her way through the forest.”
And that, library officials say, is the point.
Want kids to read? Make it interesting. Make it intriguing. Make it fun.
The story walk also features “The Three Little Pigs” as well as interactive game panels that boost vocabulary and reading comprehension.
The walk is the brainchild of the library’s youth services department.
“It’s been wonderful, the response has been great,” said Sharon Dudeck, youth services director. “The kids are loving it.”
How do they know? Participants are asked to sign a guestbook. More than 600 have obliged.
Dudeck said the walk is a new activity featured in this summer’s annual reading program. It stays up until Aug. 4.
Given the display’s popularity, she added, fans can expect to see more walks in the future.
“It’s such a beautiful space,” Dudeck said.
“We love being able to use it for concerts and things like this.”
Meher’s mom, Chaitanya Swamy, was so impressed with the story walk that she plans to set up one of her own for her daughter’s upcoming birthday party.
“This is so creative,” she said. “Reading is so important. It helps children gain knowledge, become curious and be adventurous. It helps them prepare for life.”
Despite the day’s high temperatures, Swamy said she packed a picnic lunch, which her daughter and her cousins ate at one of the picnic tables on the library grounds. Then they went inside to choose books.
“We ended our outing with the story walk. Again,” she chuckled.
The Tinley Park Public
Library is at 7851 Timber Drive, Tinley Park;
(708) 532-0160; tplibrary.org