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HomeFeaturesArt & Entertainment Walking through storytime: Olive Hill Elementary hosts story walk

 Walking through storytime: Olive Hill Elementary hosts story walk

By: Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times

 Olive Hill Elementary School hosted a family literacy story walk last week, and turnout for the event was staggering, with families lined up the length of the parking lot to participate and hear the story of The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything

“It’s a family literacy night that we partnered with MSU Shooting Stars theater for,” explained Donna Stamper, with the Youth Service Center, who helped organize the event. 

Student actors, she said, acted out and sang different parts of the story at different numbered stations around the grounds. After hearing the entire story, she said, the children then had to sing the song they learned to receive their goodie bags with various activity items, treats, and a book of their own to take home. 

“We did a little extra to decorate,” she said. “That way the kids had a chance to dress up if they wanted to, and still come out and see a fun story played out in front of them, and just have a good time with this family event.”

They did a similar event in the spring, she noted. But because of COVID-related restrictions, that event was held as a drive-through production. But with the easing of COVID restrictions and the outdoor space available, they decided they could put on the event as a walk-through experience for the fall. 

“We wanted to do it last fall, and were going to try to do it ourselves,” she said. But then she took her grandson to a drive-through version of the event in Morehead and reached out to the group to ask how they could bring it to Olive Hill. They were booked up through the Halloween holiday last year, but that interaction led to the spring drive-through event and then to the performance of The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything

The event was a lot of fun for the children and their parents, but they also help support literacy and a love of learning, Stamper explained. 

“I think it shows children that you can act out stories. You can see it in a different format – take a book they’ve read over and over, and now they get to see it live – and that creates a lot of enthusiasm.”

Getting the family involved is also an important aspect, she said. Not only do events like this give the family something to do together, but they can also encourage them to go home and read other books together. 

“This way, instead of a normal family literacy program where we read a book to everyone and then do an activity together, they’re getting to see MSU students put this on, and bring that book to life for them.” 

This, she explained, helps them understand that reading and storytelling aren’t just relegated to books, but that reading and writing go along with, and are an important part of, their favorite movies, cartoons, and video game experiences. 

“I think it’s great that we can partner with groups like MSU, and their youth theater, to bring this to our students,” Stamper said. 

Her next literacy project will include a pair of self-guided story walks, one at J.A. “Skinny” Rayburn Park, and one at the elementary school. Those projects, funded with grant dollars, will supplement the Little Free Library book exchanges that Stamper has already brought to both locations. 

Contact the writer at editor@cartercountytimes.com

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