Reed City library brings reading outdoors with new project

Encourages reading and outdoor exploration, education

REED CITY – In an effort to encourage reading among children, the Reed City Area District Library has implemented the first StoryWalk project in the Westburg Park.

The project utilizes interactive reading kiosks for kids to enjoy as they explore the park and read the Library project’s chosen book.

The project was made possible in partnership with the city who verified the location of the park, as well as garnering funding from Cargill Cares. The project was constructed with the help of some Boy Scout volunteers from Reed City Troop 74 and members of the Cargill Cares Team volunteers, as well as Reed City councilman Dan Burchett.

The project’s first chosen book, the Mouse House Tales, connects with the project’s theme of STEM, an acronym for educating in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math. The book follows the story of a mouse as she puts together the structure and furnishings of her little house with assistance from her animal friends.

Each of the kiosks in the park highlight different parts of the book, encouraging the reader to make connections between what they are reading and what they can explore and see in the park. The first StoryWalk implemented is around a quarter mile long, with 13 different kiosks for kids to visit.

Lyndsey Eccles-Burchett, board president for the RCADL, said the project is aimed at encouraging reading and outdoor activity for young kids in the area.

“The walk is designed to bring a picture book into the outdoors and promote early literacy,” Eccles-Burchett said. “We initially developed the project as a way to offer services during the COVID-19 pandemic so that people could socially distance outside and enjoy a good picture book and the park. It’s a bit of a walk for each kiosk, and we did this because we wanted kids to get the physical activity in as well as the reading.”

The project will also serve as an extension of the RCADL’s Summer Reading Program, which promotes and provides reading material for children during the summer months. Since it’s installment, the entire first and second grade classes from G.T. Norman Elementary School have walked down and enjoyed the new project, and reported positive feedback to the library.

According to the Kellogg-Hubbard Library, the StoryWalk concept was created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, Vermont, and has developed since with the help of Rachel Senechal, formerly of the Kellogg-Hubbard Library. Other StoryWalk projects have been installed in 50 states and 13 countries, including Germany, Canada, England, Bermuda, Russia, Malaysia, Pakistan and South Korea.

In 2016, the Michigan Department of Education implemented the ‘Read by Grade Three’ law which requires schools to identify learners who are struggling with reading and writing and to provide additional help. The law states that third graders may repeat third grade if they are more than one grade level behind, beginning with the 2019-20 school year.

The RCADL considers reading to be among one of the most important parts of education in early childhood. Eccles-Burchett said the RCADL is committed to helping area schools through providing reading materials and programs that can help students who may be struggling with literacy.

“Early literacy has been proven to have a drastic effect on kids’ education all the way into their future in every subject and area,” Eccles-Burchett said. “It’s very important to help foster that early on in kids’ education, so this project is just another way that we can reach out to students and schools to provide more services to our community.”

For more information about the Reed City StoryWalk project and other RCADL initiatives and programs, visit the library’s website,, or Facebook page,