Lee County Book Walk has kids loving reading, nature

Reporter: Tiffany Rizzo Writer: Joey Pellegrino
Published: Updated:

Lee County Book Walk is a new way to get kids outside, reading and learning bilingually in Veterans Park.

A picture book called “Tree Hugs” is printed page by page on signs along a path through Veterans Park. Each page is written twice, in English and Spanish. Once you are done reading the page, parents and children head to the next one.

“Tree Hugs” is a perfect choice for elementary school students and for bilingual education.

“He actually is speaking more Spanish than English, and he is starting school this year, so I hope he has better English in the next year,” said local mom Raquel Higueras.

Higueras is taking advantage of the bilingual Book Walk to read to her son Einar in English.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for learning and exposing kids to reading,” said Megan Neill, mother of a 6-year-old boy.

Neill noticed the stands for the book pages on her daily walk in the park with her son. There are 18 pages along the path.

“Kind of started looking at them on our walks and our runs, so I started reading them to him as we would go by,” Neill said.

The parents might be doing most of the reading, but each page also has lots of pictures for the younger kids to enjoy.

“You’re gonna have kids reading together and families walking the path and reading together, and so it just sort of reinforces that picture book reading experience that we love,” said Melissa Baker, manager of programming and community outreach for the Lee County Library System.

“I think it’s soothing for him to have something read out loud,” Neill said. “It is also good exposure for language and development.”

“It’s very, very nice, very good,” Higueras said. “Super, super funny for the kids, and relaxing.”

And Baker said “Tree Hugs” contains more lessons than just English and Spanish reading skills.

“It’s a story about friendship and nature… it’s really about trees, and what you can find in the park, so we thought it was perfectly appropriate for our first story to debut here,” Baker said.

“Tree Hugs” will be the first of many books on the Book Walk. After summer ends, the Lee County Library System plans to switch out the stories every few months.

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