Book vending machine promotes reading

The machine arrived in December, piquing the curiosity of the students at Hornsby Elementary School who had to wait until Jan. 12 to see what it was all about.

“They have been looking. They’ve been probing, touching, pulling the curtain to see the book vending machine,” said Gregory Shields, Hornsby Elementary School principal.

Designed to promote reading as well as good behavior and school attendance, the book vending machine is stocked with books that administrators think the children will enjoy, based on a survey of their interests.

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 Shields said he’d heard of the book vending machine at Lamar-Milledge Elementary School and liked the concept for his own students. A grant from the Community Foundation of the CSRA helped with the purchase of the item and donations helped stock the machine with books.

Children earn tokens to buy the books and once their selection is made, the book is theirs to keep.

Paris Cunningham, a third grader, said she wants to get all the books. She loves reading. Her favorites are mysteries and Harry Potter.

“I’ll go in my room and I’ll kind of put my feet up on the desk and read for a few minutes and it’s really fun,” she said.

W.S. Hornsby Elementary School students pose with the books they received from the vending machine Jan. 12. Photo by Charmain Z. Brackett

During the ceremony, the children presented statistics that show children who read even just a few minutes every day have an increased vocabulary and perform better on standardized tests. Also, Cunningham recited a poem on reading.

The book vending machine is part of an overall effort to engage students in reading, school officials said.

The school also provides information and resources to parents who may have younger children in the home to encourage literacy at an early age and have them exposed to books and reading even before they get into the classroom.

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Shields said book donations are welcome because they want to keep the machine stocked and their readers interested in what it offers. Call the school at (706) 823-6928 for information on donating to the school.

Charmain Z. Brackett is the publisher of Augusta Good News. Reach her at Subscribe to the newsletter here.