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Anna Howard Shaw Memorial Park
Literacy Playground


The Anna Howard Shaw Memorial Park is located on the Northwest side of the library. The park features a quiet relaxation area around the Anna Howard Shaw sculpture, where you can pause to read a book from the nearby Phelps Little Free Library. The state-of-the-art playground encourages early childhood literacy and brain development while creating space for all play and outdoor activities!


Anna Howard Shaw Memorial Park Literacy Playground


Thank you to everyone who made the playground possible, including the City of Big Rapids, Friends of the Big Rapids Community Library, TransCanada, and the DNR Passport Grant, among many other generous individual donors.


Larger than Life Musical Instruments


Songs are a natural way to learn about language, as they help children develop listening skills and recognize the rhythms and rhymes of spoken language. Singing helps children to:

  • Slow down language so children can hear different parts of words and notice how they might be alike or different.

  • Different notes for different syllables break down words so they can hear individual sounds in words.

  • Clapping or playing along to rhythms helps children hear the syllables in words and helps them improve motor skills.


Finger Painting Station


Reading and writing go together, as children become aware that printed letters stand for spoken words. Children develop a knowledge of the purpose and meaning of reading through writing. Writing helps children to:

  • Practice eye-hand coordination and fine motor control as they scribble and draw.

  • Discover that the written word represents the spoken word, which comes together to tell stories and communicate information.


Picture Book Walk



Our playground has so many ways to encourage early literacy! Start by taking a Picture Book Walk down the park path, pause to read the story, or the fun and colorful Talking is Teaching signs. The playground is full of ways to explore letters, numbers, and shapes. While you're here, stop by the library to check out books or visit a library program!


Talking Tubes


Talking is teaching, and you are your child's first teacher! The playground features signs that prompt conversation with your child. Read them together and talk about it! Children learn about language by listening to parents talk and joining in the conversation. As they hear spoken words, children learn:

  • How individual words sound, which helps them decode words.

  • What words mean, which increases their vocabulary.

  • How words can be put together to communicate ideas and information, which leads to comprehension.




The new playground is full of fun! Movement and motor skills are connected to early literacy. Through play, children learn to connect what they know in the world, using language and imagination. As they play, children learn:

  • New words through natural conversation as their caregiver introduces new play items or ideas.

  • Dramatic play helps develop vocabulary and activates a child’s imagination.

  • Having fun with words helps children enjoy language and eager to learn more.

talkingisteaching playing islearning.png
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