Rock Spring Elementary students become published authors

Photo by Hugh Osteen

Photo by Hugh Osteen

"I've never been a good writer," said Rock Spring Elementary School third-grader, Parker Campbell, but the 9-year-old admitted that he is pleased with the written work he and his classmates included in a new book.

Campbell, and roughly 400 other students at the school in rural McDonough, recently became published authors, with the help of third-grade teacher, Susan Murdock.

Murdock was the driving force behind a school-wide project, last fall at Rock Spring, to have students' art and written work published in a paperback book.

"It helps encourage the children to write," she said. "It gets them excited about their writing."

In works, from short poems, to two-page short stories, students contributed their ideas and expressions, and committed them to the school's published book of graphic and literary works, called, "Roadrunners Rock!"

The book, named after the school's mascot, the Roadrunner, was published earlier this spring by the Bloomington, Ind.-based Pen & Publish, Inc., and can be purchased online for about $15, through the school's web site, or at Amazon.com, or BarnesandNoble.com, according to Murdock.

Murdock said she got the idea from another teacher in Henry County, who found success implementing the project at another school. "It's been great," Murdock said. "I am thrilled that they are so excited with it."

"I think it's awesome," added parent, Cyndi Peterson. "We didn't have the opportunity to do something like this when I was in school."

Peterson said she bought several books, which contained art work from her 5-year-old daughter, Audrey.

Amy Chloss also bought books that included the work of her children, Gavin, 5, and Kaitlyn, 8. "I think it's wonderful, because it's great for them to express themselves," Chloss said.

One hundred and seventy-six books already have been ordered, each containing nine chapters and 186 pages of art and writing from students and faculty at Rock Spring, according to Principal Tracy DiSario.

DiSario said students who participated in the book-publishing project, by submitting their works last October, took part in a book-signing celebration Friday. Each student, from kindergarten to fifth-grade, signed the book, next to their respective works.

The goal of the small event, she said, was to help students realize that their writing serves a purpose in communicating ideas and expressions to others.

"We are hoping to make this an annual event," DiSario said. "I think it's giving them an authentic audience, and giving them a real-world application in writing from someone who is not just their teacher."

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