Pay it Forward

Read2Me seeking sponsors for walks

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Diane Cotton

Read2Me is a local nonprofit organization striving to instill the love of reading in our youngest citizens. You may have seen a Read2Me volunteer at local community events with a wagon load of books to distribute free to any child. 

Read2Me also fundraises to provide every Macon County child from birth to five years of age a free book in their mailbox each month from the Dolly Parton Imagination Library. This service cost $30 per child every year and reaches about 3,000 children. And, partnering with the Macon County Library, Read2Me hosts an annual event to celebrate books and provide fun activities that promote literacy.       

FIVE STORY WALK trails are located in Macon County. Pictured is one of two along the Little Tennessee River Greenway. The others are located at Parker Meadows, Cowee School and the Bascom Trail.

Have you walked along the trails in our local parks and on the Greenway to see the story walks? Read2Me provides those story walks as a way to combine reading with physical exercise and activities at five different locations. The story walk concept is to place the pages of the book along the trail and families can read the book as they travel the pathway. Each page has a fun physical activity to complete as they walk to the next board. The area’s story walks are located at Parker Meadows, Little Tennessee Greenway’s Wesley’s Park, Little Tennessee Greenway’s Rotary Loop, Cowee Schools Arts and Heritage Center, and The Bascom Trail in Highlands. 

Currently, the titles at each site are as follows:

  • Cowee School Arts and Heritage Center – Pond Babies
  • Parker Meadows — Cowee Sam and the Swift Water Rescue Team
  • Little Tennessee Greenway’s Rotary Loop — Bugliest Bugs
  • Little Tennessee Greenway’s Wesley’s Park — Finding Home: The Story of a Mason Bee
  • The Bascom Trail — And Here’s to You

Young children whose parents read them five books a day enter kindergarten having heard about 1.4 million more words than kids who were never read to. Research shows those children are more likely to pick up reading skills more easily in school. Read2Me believes that “Reading Matters in Macon” and encourages parents to read aloud 20 minutes every day to their children. 

Read2Me is seeking business partners to sponsor the reprinting of the story walks, due to age deterioration. If you would like to volunteer or donate, you may contact Read2Me at P.O. Box 1362, Franklin, N.C., 28744. If you would like more information about volunteering or sponsoring a story walk, Read2Me has a Facebook page, or you may email [email protected]