Students at the Izard Center for Learning in Van Buren are helping paint murals on school lockers as part of an effort to promote literacy at the school.

Art in education resident Mary Sanders-Overton guided students in painting two murals based on the Dr. Seuss books “The Cat in the Hat” and “Horton Hears a Who” on the school’s hallway lockers.

Kindergarten and first grade worked on “The Cat in the Hat,” and second and third grade on “Horton Hears a Who.”

Students also learned about the basics of painting and giving back to others, Sanders-Overton said.

Linda Bagby, the school’s second and third grade teacher, was surprised at how focused the students were on the projects, she said.

“The main thing I like about the project is how proud the kids are; they are just so proud of their accomplishment,” Bagby said. “That’s something they don’t always find.”

Working on the paintings also helped the students make connections with the books, said Cara Karney, kindergarten through second grade teacher.

According to a media release from the Center for Art and Education, which helped sponsor the murals, the “lively characters and rhythmic story lines” are intended to promote excitement for literacy as well as reinforce the concept that reading and learning are fun.

“In addition, they have spent time reflecting on the moral message of the books: being truthful, taking responsibility, being unselfish, protecting others and standing up for what you believe,” the release states.

A literacy day was held Feb. 2 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. to allow parents and students to view the paintings. The CAE provided riddles whose answers were found within the murals, and gave out prizes.

“I think it’s awesome,” Gail Butler, whose son Jeremiah Butler attends Izard, said of the mural project. “It’s creative, most definitely. It sets their imaginations to work.”

Jeremiah Butler likes books and the murals have motivated him to read Dr. Seuss, he said.

“I think it’s cool that kids can look at these pictures while walking in the halls,” Jeremiah Butler said.

A third mural based on “The Lorax” is scheduled for the end of February for fourth and fifth grade students, Sanders-Overton said.