Most kids these days think reading novels or inspirational book is “uncool” and boring, no thanks to technology and its various distractions. Today, the formerly hotspot libraries are now among the least frequented locations in a school. In some parts of the world, they are visited so poorly that many schools have cut library budgets and shut them down since there’s no use for them anymore.
Readers are leaders.
To give a child a book is to give her the world printed on paper. Reading helps kids to widen their imaginations, sharpen their memory, and improve their vocabulary and word proficiency. It’s a great way for kids to pass time productively and it helps to eliminate indulgences in social vices such as underage drinking, drugs, and crime.
In January 2019, Mundelein High School, Illinois had an enchanting surprise waiting for the students as they returned from the Christmas break . The hallways surrounding the English department were covered with incredible six to floor-to-ceiling book-themed murals to encourage students to do more reading.
The murals represent the favorite books of the three English teachers in the school – Ryan Buck, Mike Dayton, and Mark Landuyt. The book covers were printed on adhesive vinyl sheets and strategically placed on wrap-around sections of the walls close to the classroom doors, creating the visual effect of giant books on a library shelf.
The hallways around the English department now wear the coolest look in the school, and the kids instantly loved it.
Books are fun
Teacher Mike Dayton chose “Wuthering Heights” by Emily Bronte and “October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard” by Leslea Newman for his hallway. Dayton was excited to see his students’ reactions when they return to school.
“So many kids who have been turned on by these books are going to see it and say, ‘I read that one. That book was awesome,’” he said to the Daily Herald.
The murals cost approximately $2,400 and were designed by Visual Image Photography, a Wisconsin-based firm that worked the project during the Christmas break.
The project was coordinated by teacher Ryan Buck, who chose “All American Boys” by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely and “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall for his hallway.
“These are two books that I would choose as my favorites,” he said. “But they’re also books that students really enjoy.”
The other two books, “Beartown” by Fredrik Backman and “Never Let Me Go” by Kazuo Ishiguro were chosen by Landuyt.
The giant sizes of the murals are not merely to attract immediate attention from the kids, but also to let them know that reading makes a person a giant. Knowledge is a superpower and books written by some of the world’s greatest literary minds are filled with it.
Positive remarks on Facebook
According to Ron Girard, a spokesperson for the school, the photos were shared on Facebook and have so far received thousands of positive comments and commendations for people all over the world.
“I was amazed at the responses,” Girard said on Facebook. “Many comments are from teachers and administrators from all over the country wanting to copy the idea.”
The kids certainly had a lovely surprise after the Christmas break last year. There is no entertainment as cheap as reading, and no pleasure so lasting.
Children may not know what they are missing out on by disliking books, and it’s up to the teachers and school authorities to steer them onto the right course. Parents can also help by encouraging their kids to read more and scheduling times to control their use of gadgets.
“This project is a great way to motivate students to read more and to begin conversations about their reading, even in the hallways,” Girard said.
- Julie Scagell. High School Transforms Hallways With Giant Book Murals. Scary Mommy. https://www.scarymommy.com/high-school-book-murals/. Retrieved 08-01-2020
- Press Association. Drop in younger children visiting libraries is worrying, says Chris Riddell. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/jul/24/drop-younger-children-visiting-libraries-chris-riddell. Retrieved 08-01-2020