Book vending machine makes reading a reward

By being leaders and demonstrating positive behaviors, Sara Harp Minter Elementary students earn tokens for the special vending machine where they select a book they can keep. Principal Dr. Stacie Coppola helps a student pick out a book.

Reading is a reward for the eager leaners at Sara Harp Minter Elementary where a book vending machine is encouraging the Mountain Lions. By being leaders and demonstrating positive behaviors, students earn tokens for the vending machine where they select a book they can keep.

It began last year as the school PTO hosted a read-a-thon to encourage reading for fun and raise funds to purchase the machine. The PTO Board worked with the principal and media specialist to develop a system for students to earn tokens to select books from the machine, and they were diligent in ensuring that the reward system was aligned with current behavior/leadership expectations.

“Our plan and hope is to use the machine as a reward for students showing leadership skills or a targeted behavior we are looking to improve,” said school media specialist Amanda Lane. “Each classroom teacher will be able to recognize and award several students each month with a book. Our goal is for every student to have earned a book from the machine by the end of the year.”

Located right outside the cafeteria, the machine is a big talking point among students.

“The students are in love with the machine. They are very excited to be ‘caught’ being leaders in hopes of earning the chance to get a book,” said Lane. “Each morning as the students have walked past the machine they stand and talk about what book they would select and try out the buttons on the chance a book will come out.”

Principal Dr. Stacie Coppola has been thrilled by the response from students.

“It is our hope that the vending machine will create an excitement surrounding not only our student’s love for reading and literacy but also the importance of being a great leader and meeting our school-wide expectations for behavior and leadership qualities,” said Dr. Coppola. “The machine has exceeded all expectations, and our Mountain Lions cannot wait to earn their tokens and get their paws on those books!”

Dr. Coppola is quick to credit those who made the machine possible.

“We want to stress that this would not have been possible without the generosity of our community and amazing PTO Board,” she said. “The PTO has also committed to ensuring the vending machine is filled with books this year and in years to come!”