Parks for Reading is an umbrella program that is integrated into all of our people-centered programs, like Field Trips, Junior Ranger, Reading Ranger, Little Libraries and Storybook Trail programs. We target our programs to assist those with barriers to access our TN State Parks. Often this population also needs literacy support. After joining forces with Ride for Reading, we are now able to provide each child with a book related to the experience they have in our parks. This reinforces the information they learned and encourages literacy.
Tennessee State Parks Story Book Trails tell a nature-themed story with signs placed at a child’s height on a short trail at a park. In addition to promoting literacy, and parent/guardian engagement, Story Book Trails encourage us to connect with nature and engage in a healthy, outdoor activity.
The first Story Book Trail in a Tennessee State Park was developed and executed by Leslie Anne Rawlings, Ranger at Long Hunter State Park. With her guidance, the Tennessee State Parks Conservancy was able to expand the program to other parks. Funding and implementation have varied, but largely funded by the Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation. We currently have 18 trails in and want to expand across the state of Tennessee! Want to see a map of our Storybook Trails? Click here!
If you are a Tennessee State Park and are interested in a Storybook Trail, please contact our Program Manager, Brenda Mikec.
We work with TN State Park Rangers to host Reading Ranger programs in our parks. Children love to have a ranger read to them. Children and their families are invited to bring a lunch, grab a chair or blanket to sit in the park and listen to a selection of family friendly children’s books about our state, nature, and history. Children get to take a book home with them to continue their literacy and park adventure.
We work with parks to create and maintain Little Free Libraries. We also make sure they have plenty of books!