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Story Time: “I Walked/Sailed to Zion”

This is a great activity when discussing immigrants’ journey to Utah, especially the Mormons. When you think about it, with each pioneer family that came to Utah, came children. And with every child, came a story- a child’s view of the hard times in their family’s journey.

Many of you have heard of the books, “I Walked to Zion”and “I Sailed to Zion” by Susan Madsen and Fred Woods, both of which I highly recommend for a Utah Studies class. It’s full of stories from immigrant children and youth who made the long, strenuous journey to Utah. Find out what kinds of things they encountered, and the different trials experienced and lessons learned along the way.

Now for the really fun part…remember “story time” in kindergarten? Everybody would gather around the teacher in the front of the room, sit down on the “magic rug” and listen to a fun story read aloud? Sometimes she would even pass around a snack? Why not do the same thing with your Utah Studies class? Gather everyone around you on the floor, pass around a small snack (nothing that would cause a big distraction…), and start reading. Don’t forget to show pictures!

Before you become too scared to try this out, let me say that this idea actually came from my sophomore year of high school. I had a student teacher in my history class that did this activity with us, and I still remember it to this day! It was so much fun, just because it was different!

You’d be surprised at how much they’ll like this activity. It’s something new! Tell us how this went, and which stories you recommend the most from these books.

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