SOUTHBRIDGE — Principal Kelly Gelineau is pleased to share that a recently installed book vending machine at Eastford Road Elementary School has helped students to cultivate literacy skills and a joy for reading.
The machine is filled with age-appropriate books in both English and Spanish specially picked by Reading Specialist Rebecca Wells. It is located in the school’s lobby and is branded with the school’s colors and mascot.
Instead of real currency, the machine takes special gold tokens etched with the words “I love books!” as the form of payment. Students earn the gold tokens from teachers for a variety of reasons, including being kind to a peer, helping the school, meeting an academic or behavioral goal, showing improvement and more.
Teachers are encouraged to bring their entire class to watch their peers choose a book. It has become a tradition that when a student selects a book and it falls to the book retrieval area, all of the students cheer.
By using the book vending machine regularly, the school aims to put an emphasis on the value of reading both inside and outside the classroom and to help students develop key literacy skills. The machine is used so often that new, high-interest books are consistently being put in students’ hands and thus being brought into their homes.
“It is truly amazing to see the excitement that this vending machine brings to reading within our student population. I often hear students talking about which book they are going to pick in anticipation of being awarded their next gold token,” Principal Gelineau said. “As an educator, this is the excitement and love of reading that we want to cultivate for all students while also supporting literacy skills. We cannot imagine our school without the book vending machine now.”
The vending machine and books were purchased thanks to a generous grant from the United Way of South Central Massachusetts.