A New York elementary school has unveiled a vending machine that gives kids free books instead of snacks. The new machine was installed last week at Arthur O. Eve School of Distinction #61 in Buffalo, N.Y. and stocked with $1,000 worth of children’s books as a way to encourage students to read more.
“One of the biggest issues we have in this district is literacy. If our children can read, they can survive,” explained Buffalo School Board member Sharon Belton-Cottman.
In an interview with WBFO, the school’s assistant principal, Dr. Unseld Robinson, agreed, noting, “this vending machine is going to help boost children in terms of speaking well, their pronunciation.” (Robinson had the idea to bring the machine to Arthur O. Eve after seeing it at another school.)
Students receive golden coins which they can then insert into the vending machine in exchange for an age-appropriate read. According to a Facebook post by the school, “All children will have the opportunity to receive new books for their home libraries by receiving tokens through a rewards system consisting of rotating classroom visits to the vending machine each month. The books will be labeled to ensure children are selecting appropriate books for their age level.”
How cool … the first book vending machine in one of our Buffalo Public schools. Kids earn tokens and get a free book! Hey, authors, anyone want to help keep it filled? #kidsneedbooks pic.twitter.com/pk4NYrH5lp
— Dee Romito (@writeforapples) November 27, 2018
And so far, the machine, which was purchased by the Community Action Organization for $2,000, has been a huge hit among the kids at Arthur O. Eve. Nine-year-old Marshai Alston was the first student to select a book (all of which were donated by The Teacher’s Desk and Scholastic) and said she chose I Survived the Hindenburg Disaster, 1937 “because maybe I can learn something from it.”