AN elementary school teacher has come up with a way to encourage reading, outdoor exercise and family time, all done in a manner that keeps everyone safe during the coronavirus pandemic.
In September, when teaching and learning were only taking place virtually in the Tustin Unified School District, Jesse Holmes, a fourth-grade teacher at Hicks Canyon Elementary School in Irvine, devised the Storybook Walk.
Jesse Holmes and some of her fourth graders hols their favorite pages from The Bad Seed, part of her the Storybook Walk she created at Hicks Canyon Elementary School in Irvine, CA, on Thursday, February 11, 2021. Holmes said she wanted to find a way to promote reading, outdoor exercise, and family time, while also providing it at a safe social distance. A new book will be available every two months. Set up along a pathway in front of the school, the Storybook Walk features pages from an entire book spaced out on walls and fences paralleling the walkway.
Students start at one end of the path, read a page aloud and continue along the walkway until the entire book is read.
Holmes said she wanted to offer a way to read that didn’t involve a tablet or computer monitor.
“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,” Holmes said.
They also can come to campus after school and read aloud with their families to get out of the house, the teacher said.
Her fourth-graders voted on what books they wanted to read, Holmes said.
Currently, they are reading the “The Bad Seed.” Previously, students read “Good Morning Yoga,” which also showed them how to do yoga positions.
The pages of a new book are posted about every two months, Holmes said.
Books to be displayed in future include “You Matter,” “The Day You Begin,” and “Saturday.”
To fund the Storybook Walk, Holmes applied for and received a grant from Donors Choose, a fundraising platform for the educational community comparable to GoFundMe.
Holmes raised funding for 10 projects throughout the school year, including a virtual book club, a campaign which help raise money to buy equipment used for live streaming and virtual recording.
Holmes also used Donors Choose to raise money for fitness equipment and games.
“She has received so many grants for the school,” Hicks Canyon Principal Deena Vela said. “She does all these amazing things. The kids love it.”