Introduction: "Dog's Colorful Day" by Emma Dodd Story Walk

I manage two small Public libraries in Oklahoma and I have been wanting to do a Story Walk since I first heard of it almost 2 years ago. A Story Walk incorporates reading/literacy and the outdoors. It is usually set up in a local park, but can be used indoors with some modification.

Step 1: Find Your Book.

I read "Dog's Colorful Day: a Messy Story about Colors and Counting" by Emma Dodd to my 5 year old daughter over the summer. I decided it would be a great story to read to her Kindergarten class when she went back to school, and didn't think any more about it. Since then I have enrolled in grad school for my MLIS and one of my first classes was on MakerSpaces. One of our assignments is to create a makerproject and the Story Walk came instantly to mind. The first step is to find a book. In the two years since I first heard of it, Story Walks have been done all over the country and by many different people. You can use any book you like depending on your audience. For my first one, my target audience is families with young children who are learning to read. This book incorporates reading and literacy, as well as counting and colors so it could not be more perfect!

Step 2: Gather/order Your Materials.

List of materials needed to make a Story Walk:

1. 2 copies of your chosen book (2 at $5.94 each)

To make a Story Walk, you must have two copies of the book, (otherwise you wouldn't have each page when you went to assemble it). I chose to use the paperback versions because they are less expensive. (You could always use books you already have or that have been donated to you, as long as they are in good condition and you have two copies.)

2. Real Estate sign boards (25 boards for $35.03)

3. H-frame wire stakes for the sign boards (10 for $22.14)

4. Laminator for big projects (check your local library or school, usually they will do it for a small fee)

5. Print program for making your posters

6. Color Printer

7. Scotch tape

8. Exact-O blade knife

9. 3/4" velco dots (500 pieces for $8.99)

10. Scissors

11. Clear packing tape

I have chosen to include activities with my Story Walk, so I need a few more items that are particular to my story. I will include them here and add it to the process, just know that most Story Walks do not include activities.

12. Mini stuffed dogs (one dozen for $14.99)

13. 1" multicolored dot stickers in red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, pink, grey, white, and brown (each roll- 1,000 for $8.99)

14. Kiddie pool (1 for $14.99)

15. Blue and white ball pit balls (100 for $15.99)

Step 3: Take Your Book Apart.

I am a librarian, so I know how hard it can be to damage a book! Just keep in mind that you are not really damaging it- you are repurposing it for the greater good! Then grab your Exact-O blade and get to cutting!

Rules for taking apart your book:

1. Go slow.

2. Make sure that your lines are straight. Remember, this will piece together to make a complete picture on your board... you don't want your pages to be all jagged and rough.

3. Go slow. Did I mention this already? It is important.

4. Cut the pages out of both books. Stack each book separately. It helps if you either have another copy of the book, (I borrowed one from the library), or take pictures of each page so you won't get confused and put the story back together out of order.

Step 4: Tape Your Pages Together.

This is the hard part for those who are anal like me. The illustrations did not line up perfectly because of the binding of the book, so I just had to do the best I could.

1. Line up each page with its other half.

2. Use a tiny piece of tape, about a half inch wide to tape at the top, the middle and the bottom.

This will keep your pages together just how you want them while you are feeding them through the laminator.

Step 5: Create Your Posters.

I use a program that I have used for about 20 years called PrintShop. It is similar to PhotoShop but much more inexpensive. The downfalls are that it takes some practice to use, it does not get updated often, and it you cannot do everything that you can do on PhotoShop. Luckily, I have been using it for so long that there is not much I cannot do on it. I use it for all the marketing materials that we use at my library.

I have access to this program at my library but it can be purchased on Amazon for $17.99.

If you cannot access this program for whatever reason, you can use Word or a comparable program. Most libraries also have some sort of program on their patron computers, so ask around.

I made a poster for the beginning of the Story Walk that explained what it is and who put it together. I also included an email address for participants to send comments, questions, or concerns to.

Then I printed out numbers for each panel. That way participants would be able to keep track of the story and not get out of order.

Next I added in my activities. As I said, most Story Walks do not include activities, so this is just extra information for if you decide to in the future.

Since the story is about a dog, I found mini stuffed dogs pretty inexpensively at Oriental Trading. These will be at the beginning of the story so each child can pick the puppy of their choice.

I will attach the rolls of stickers to each panel and at each stop the child will attach a correlating colored dot to their dog as they walk along. Now they are not only reading the story, but they are learning about colors.

Step 6: Lamination

I was lucky enough to have a tiny helper, my daughter Joscalyn, to help me with the lamination process.

One of the largest branches in our system of libraries owns a large laminator that will laminate up to three feet across. I can use it because I am employed with the system. If you are not so lucky, you can purchase Contact Paper from Walmart or Amazon, but I suggest checking with your local library or school first. A lot of times they will laminate for you for a minimal charge. Then you don't even have to do the work!

Step 7: Cutting Out Your Pages.

This will take some time. You will need to leave at least a half an inch of lamination around each page. That buffer will make your story waterproof. If you cut into any of your pages your story will not be secure, so GO SLOW! You know how scissors will sometime decide to slide through stuff like you are cutting through butter? It will do that to you and you will mess up your whole story!

Step 8: Assemble Your Signs

Now is the fun part! I used self-adhesive velcro dots because I think they will be more waterproof than tape. Plus I will be able to easily remove them so I can reuse the signs for another story.

Step 9: Attaching Your Velcro

Through a lot of trial and error, I found that the easiest and quickest way to attach your velcro to your pages and to your sign, is to make little sandwiches of the rough and soft side.

Step 10: Step 10: Affix Your Pages to the Sign

Next, lay your pages on your sign EXACTLY how you want them, then carefully lift up each corner and place a velcro 'sandwich' on each. Then push it down onto the sign so it stays exactly where you want it to. Do this with all your book pages and sign numbers.

Step 11: Finish Your Signs

Now you should be well on your way to assembling your signs! Once I got a few under my belt I didn't have any trouble. In the next step I will address the activities that I included in my Story Walk, that you may or may not include in yours.

Step 12: Attach Your Activities

I made posters that explained the activity tied to the story. In the case of "Dog's Colorful Day" he gets dots of color on him throughout the day: a spot of jam, a drip of paint, etc. So I attached boxes of 1" colored dot stickers to each sign that mentioned a spot on the dog.

Step 13: Set Up Your Story Walk.

This is the fun part! It only took about 15 minutes to set up. First you set up the H-wires by pushing them into the ground at intervals that make sense for your space. I set mine up in my backyard so it was pretty close, but in a bigger park, there would be more space between each sign. Once you have the H-wires in the ground, you can go around and slide the real estate signs over the wires. Once all of your signs are in place, you are ready to go!

Step 14: More About My Activities

As each child goes around reading the story, they attach the dot sticker to the stuffed mini dog that they got to pick out at the beginning of the story. As they progress through the story, they collect 10 dots that they then place on one of the signs. Then they proceed to give the dog a 'bath' in a kiddie pool filled with blue and white ball-pit balls.

This was, of course, my daughter's favorite part of the whole Story Walk! My wife said, "You are going to have to station yourself right here to pick up all these balls each time a child goes through." I said, "That's what volunteers are for!" Shhhh! Don't tell them!

Step 15: Step 14: Enjoy Your Story Walk!

Now is the fun part, you can enjoy your Story Walk, get a volunteer to do a trial run, or just put it out for participants to try. I promise you it will be a blast!