A story about a young immigrant girl will unfold Friday afternoon on Water Street in Gardiner, and families are invited to follow along.

The Gardiner Downtown StoryWalk, a collaboration between Literacy Volunteers of Greater Augusta and Gardiner Main Street, has two main goals — promoting family literacy and introducing people to what businesses in downtown Gardiner have to offer.

“Family literacy is engaging parents in reading to their children and exposing their children to books and a positive attitude toward education and reading,” said Virginia Marriner, executive director of Literacy Volunteers of Greater Augusta. “If kids aren’t exposed to books and their parents are not reading to them, they do significantly less well in school.”

The StoryWalk encourages families to have fun while reading, Marriner said.

Any time between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m., families can stop at the Gardiner Public Library to pick up a checklist and follow the pages of the book up one side of Water Street and down the other.

Pages of the book will be on display in the businesses. After they finish reading the page or having the page read to them, children will be asked to look for an item in the business that’s related to something they read and check it off on their list. At the end of the walk, they can bring the completed checklist back to the library to claim a prize.


The event is free and no purchase is required.

The book that was chosen is “My Name is Yoon.” Suitable for second- or third-grade reading skills, the book tells the story of a Korean girl who is learning about her new home.

Marriner said a book about an immigrant child was chosen because Gardiner is a welcoming city and that’s a concept that Gardiner Main Street asked to be highlighted.

Diana Twombly, program coordinator at Gardiner Main Street, said the challenge of Friday’s StoryWalk is that it’s a new event. For the past two years, a StoryWalk has been part of the Greater Gardiner River Festival, held annually at the end of June. The walk takes people down to the Fairy Village at the end of Steamboat Lane from Waterfront Park.

“(Virginia) thought this one would be easy to do,” Twombly said. “She hopes for at least 100 people.”

StoryWalks have been held throughout central Maine and across the state for several years.


Marriner said the idea was developed by an educator in Vermont who was concerned about the effects of obesity and diabetes.

The twist that Literacy Volunteers brings to it is the treasure hunt. By having to look for an item that was mentioned in the story, children show they understand what’s going on.

Marriner said she was pleased by the willingness of business owners to take part.

The event was scheduled to take advantage of the free waterfront concert sponsored by Johnson Hall, which starts at 6 p.m. Friday.

The StoryWalk is expected to take 15 minutes to 30 minutes to complete.

“It’s a fun activity and people will have a chance to meet some of the merchants,” Marriner said.

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632


Twitter: @JLowellKJ

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