By Angela Jones
Painting on school property is highly discouraged, but for Marcie Murphy, principal at Patrick Springs Primary, painting on classroom doors and using social media has made reading fun for students.
“To me, children don’t read because they think it is hard, they do not read because they have not found their book yet,” said Murphy, as she explained her goal was to help students find their book of interest and enjoy reading.
Reports show that children respond well to being read to, as well as having visual artwork helps to introduce different concepts to teach children.
“I love children and I love reading,” said Murphy, who began reading to children in the classroom setting about two years ago. Reading to children “allows for them to imagine and visualize” what is being read.
Students responded to the classroom readings, and it became difficult for Murphy to keep up with the requests for her to visit a classroom and read a book.
Murphy decided in May 2018 to try and reach what she called “the next level” by incorporating the technology that would allow her to read to more than one classroom at a time.
Each day, Murphy said she records herself reading a children’s book and then uploads the recording to the Patrick Springs Primary School’s Facebook page.
Dr. Seuss, Don Freeman, and Barbara Park are a few of the selected authors that are being introduced to the students through her efforts.
“Junie B.’ is one of my favorite books and has become one of the children’s favorite books as well,” Murphy said.
Since Murphy wanted to introduce the children to more authors and make reading even more fun, she requested that all faculty provide her with their favorite children’s book. Using the books for inspiration, Murphy began painting murals on the walls of the school and on some of the doors.
The door to the main office was a picture of pandas, one classroom door has the image of the ‘Cat in the Hat’ by Dr. Seuss, while doors to the cafeteria are painted differently: the entrance is that of a caterpillar and the exit is a butterfly. The halls sparkle with murals as well, each with a quote. Most of the pictures on the walls are from the books by Junie B. Jones.
Soon, Murphy will not be the only one painting images of books, nor will the images be confined to classroom doors and walls. More “reading art” is coming soon to the school, and this time, students will be among the painters.
Students will create paintings on landscaping rocks using the book “Only One You” for inspiration, Murphy said. The painted landscape rocks will be to decorate an exterior garden at the school, she said, adding the she anticipates that project will be completed by the end of the summer.