Literacy Merritt & Nicola Valley Society brings back their ‘Active Stories’ program for this school year. The program encourages the development of movement skills, improvisation, creativity, and early literacy skills among young students in the Nicola Valley.

Active Stories is a free physical literacy program for children ages four to six. Each session is centered around a children’s story book followed by physical activities based on the storyline. 

“The program is a fun way to approach learning,” said Lia Moyes Larson, Chair of Literacy Merritt & Nicola Valley Society. 

“The kids will read, move and learn. The instructors’ combined experience is vast and varied, and they know how to share their love of literacy with little ones.”

It was introduced to the community in 2017 by Josee Warren of Pacific Sport, and was supported by the City of Merritt and Literacy Merritt & Nicola Valley. The program was canceled in the summer of 2018 due to lack of funding, but was revived a few years later.

Active Stories re-launched in the spring of 2022, with 3 sessions per week to the end of June due to COVID protocols. In 2020 Literacy Merritt & Nicola Valley Society received funding for 2021 – 2023 through the Community Adult Literacy Program Family Literacy Stream. 

The 2022-23 program started in the fall of 2022 and will run to the end of June 2023. Sessions are based on Active Stories for Active Learning. The authors believe that combining literacy and movement by asking children to move in a way that reflects the meaning of a word increases their comprehension and helps them to improve memory and recall. Basic concepts are reinforced through acting them out. For children who have difficulty sitting still during story time, their need to move is addressed in a positive way.

“The Active Stories program is excellent, and I love being an instructor for it,” said Amanda Pryzner-Dunn. 

“The program allows children to engage with books in a new, fun way. The kids really enjoy connecting their movements to the story while learning a key idea. It’s a great way to exercise and get our wiggles out!” 

A typical session will see each book chosen to cover more than one type of learning style. A room is set up to encourage children to move. They may hop and jump, or use their dramatic play skills. Some days will feature music. Some will feature art. At the end of each session, children can choose a book to take home.

The 2022-23 Active Stories programming follows the School District #58 school calendar. Current sessions are offered at the Merritt Civic Centre, on Mondays, from 3:30 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. Sessions will resume after the holidays, beginning Monday, January 9. Future plans include the possibility of adding a second session and location in February, and “taking it on the road” in the summer of 2023.