By MAGGIE MENDERSKI
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
HANNIBAL, Mo. -- Hannibal Parks and Recreation has created a new way to enjoy reading outdoors.
The upcoming Storybook Trail lines the 32 pages of Scholastic's "Spring is Here" on the trail in Central Park. Anyone walking the trail may pause to read the short, preschool-age story from April 22-May 6. The department plans to offer this free activity twice a year to encourage literacy and exercise.
"It just was tailor made for Hannibal," said Mary Lynne Richards, assistant supervisor for promotion and planning for Hannibal Parks and Recreation. "We're the town of Mark Twain, where reading is such a big thing for our history."
Hannibal Public Schools Parents as Teachers Program has eagerly embraced the project. Terry Martin, a parent educator, said the organization will host its April 26 Discovery Time playgroup at 9:30 a.m. at the trail. The event is for preschool-age children. Martin hopes to incorporate movement such as hopping and skipping in the space between pages.
"It's reading and being active at the same time," Martin said. "One of our big messages that we like to get across is kids play longer and get more out of it when their parents are involved."
Richards explained the books pages will hang on small signs that stand nearly as tall as a child. Most pages contain one or two sentences, which allows for easy reading while completing the trail.
Park Place Sign Systems donated the realtor-like signs and Scholastic has provided the books for the project. The first book focuses on the spring season. The second Storybook Trail, which Richards has planned for September, will utilize a book about leaves.
"We just kind of wanted people to get into the season," Richards said. "We feel like we're ready for spring."