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'Tales of the Towpath'

  • 20090926-000325-pic-458404722.jpg
    TERRY AHNER/TIMES NEWS Dennis Scholl, outreach coordinator for the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor, speaks to fourth grade students at Slatington Elementary School about the book he authored entitled "Tales of the Towpath".
Published October 05. 2009 02:55PM

It was the American Industrial Revolution, a time when the Lehigh and Delaware Canals bustled with activity.

Though well before their time, fourth-grade students at Slatington Elementary School were able to gain some insight into that important period of our history.

Dennis Scholl, Outreach Coordinator from the Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor, visited the school on Tuesday to introduce his book, "Tales of the Towpath," Adventures Along the Lehigh & Delaware Canals.

Scholl said the book is part of a component to go along with the school's new social studies curriculum.

"This is to learn about how your community grew up and where a lot of your ancestors came from," Scholl told the students. "The book forms the foundation, and is the main piece to the curriculum."

Scholl introduced the curriculum; such as traveling trunks filled with literature and various items essential to the 24-chapter book which he authored.

As part of their lessons, students will use the trunks and their materials throughout the year in order to understand the canals' importance to the growth of America's Industrial Revolution in the Lehigh Valley.

"The purpose was to get the kids introduced to the program," Scholl said. "This is something all fourth graders at Slatington Elementary will be doing this year."

Scholl said "Tales of the Towpath" is a story that explores mid-19th century life along the Lehigh and Delaware Canals.

"It's a story that will take kids back to the year 1855, when this area was booming due to the anthracite coal that was being moved and shipped to markets," he said. "It's also introducing them to coal, and the growth of the American Industrial Revolution."

Scholl said the story "ties them all together through the eyes of a 10-year-old (fictional character) named Finn Gorman, who makes friends with other boys and girls whose fathers are involved with some form of Industrial Revolution."

"The kids seem to like it, and it's a fun way to provide education," he said. "It's designed specifically to get them interested in their local history."

Scholl said the curriculum travels around in traveling trunks that the students can "play with, read and wear."

He said Slatington is one of 32 elementary schools from 10 districts located within the D&L Corridor to partake in the curriculum.

"The teachers have a thick curriculum binder that goes along with this," he said. "I'm very happy with the response."

Before he left, School imparted important words of wisdom to the students when he told them how essential writing and reading are in life.

Scholl said the book took him six months to research, and another 3 1/2 months to write. He edited the book 12 times before it was published.

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