Central Elementary Vending Machine Provides Food for the Mind

Posted on 08/22/2019
Central Elementary students wait their turn to use the book vending machine

As students at Central Elementary pass through the entrance hallway each day, they see a large vending machine sitting right outside the office. This is no ordinary vending machine, mind you. It is colorful, big, and full of BOOKS! As part of a new initiative this year, Central used federal Title 1 funds to purchase the Inchy’s Bookworm Vending Machine as a “novel” way to provide more opportunities for their students to read.

Literacy Specialist Jennifer Plotnitskiy and Library Media Specialist Cara Shouse saw the idea on Facebook from a school in Buffalo, New York and knew it would be a great addition to the community. “A lot of our kids don’t have access to books at home,” said Plotniskiy. “So this is another way of getting books into their hands.”

Every student has the opportunity to choose three books from the vending machine throughout the year. Each teacher has a reading goal for both the fall and spring semesters. Once a student reaches that goal, they will receive a golden token to “buy” a book. Students will also be able to select a new book on their birthday. “They love it!” said Shouse. “They are so excited and can’t wait to come down.”

Central Elementary student reads his new book from the vending machineThe vending machine offers a wide selection of books for all ages, including chapter books, picture books, and more. “I think it’s been pretty awesome to see the reactions of the students. Some of them can’t even wait to walk away to read their book.” One particular boy who visited the vending machine for his birthday was so enthralled that he stopped and stood in the middle of the hall reading his book before Plotnikskiy and Shouse encouraged him to return to class –after watching for a joyful minute or two.

Jennifer Plotnitskiy with Central Elementary students“The students are all smiles when they pick out their book,” said Principal Stacey King. “But they are even more excited when they realize they get to keep the book.” The hope for the book vending machine is to build each student’s home library and increase the number of minutes they are reading at home.

“It goes along with our philosophy that the more we read, the better we will be. The book vending machine sets that tone in our building right when you walk in,” said Plotnikskiy. With a fun new incentive for reading, students will be encouraged to read every day as they pass by the vending machine. That golden token might just be the key that helps to create life-long readers.  

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