Book Machine Aims To Dispense Love Of Reading

Fletcher reading teacher Rachel Benjamin helps students insert their special coins to dispense a book from the school’s new Book Vending Machine.

Visitors to M.J. Fletcher Elementary School will notice the addition of a vending machine in front of the school’s cafeteria.

Don’t be fooled though: despite the location, students wouldn’t be grabbing a quick snack or treat. Rather, teachers at Fletcher are offering something a little longer lasting: a love of reading.

Thanks to the diligent effort of reading teachers Rachel Benjamin and Jennifer Ochocki, a Book Vending Machine arrived at Fletcher’s doorstep this spring — the culmination of nearly a year’s effort to help make it possible.

“The book machine is a new and exciting opportunity to get books into students’ hands that are theirs to keep, bring home, and share with their families,” said Fletcher principal Amanda Sischo.

“Since the day it was brought in the students have not stopped checking it out,” Benjamin said. “At first they thought it was a food vending machine. Then once we loaded the books in, the excitement grew.”

Inspired by other school districts in the area that had pursued installing one in their buildings, Fletcher’s Book Vending Machine became a reality thanks to the help of the Jamestown Public Schools Business Office and two Scholastic Books Fairs.

“The book fairs, held by our FACE Committee will help us keep the machine stocked on books,” Benjamin said.

The machine, manufactured by Global Vending Group, is coin operated and aims to reward students for good behavior, good grades, and good attendance, according to the group and can hold 200-300 books and over 20 different titles with various size options.

The goal, Benjamin noted, was to help generate excitement for students around reading.

“We believe that by students being able to choose their own book to keep, they will develop a love for reading,” she noted.

The excitement was evident in the school’s upper gym in early May when the first gold coins were given out to students who were selected after entering their PBIS tickets into a school-wide drawing.

Two students from each grade level were selected: Leonard Loveland and Cameron McIntyre were selected from UPK 4; Jordan Berg and Jackson Wyant were selected from kindergarten; Piper TeCulver and Hazel Corley were selected from first grade first grade; Eliza Vorse and Andrew Hallet were selected from second grade; Blaz Judson, Vance Pearson, and Vance Striano were selected from third grade; and Ellie Leaper and Lindsey Hunter were selected from fourth grade.

These students will be far from the last to receive this honor, Benjamin said. Ultimately, the school will aim to give out 200 books this year.

“Our plan is to give out as many books as we can this year,’ Benjamin said. “For the years to come we want to make sure every student at Fletcher receives a book from the machine by the end of the year — this would roughly be 545 books!”


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