North Elementary reward students with book from vending machine

Noblesville’s North Elementary media specialist Jamie Harris noticed how some students were not returning school library books.

She saw an advertisement for book vending machines and thought it was an amazing idea.

“We believe it is the only one in the area,” she said. “I spoke with our parent teacher organization about funding the machine, as it would benefit our entire school. They felt it was a great addition due to the demand for books at home. I knew we needed our students to have access to quality reading materials.”

The book vending machine was purchased in February 2020, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the production was halted until the 2020-21 school year, Harris said.

CIN COM 0112 book vending machine3
North Elementary media specialist Jamie Harris helps first-grader Ryder Blazer make his selection

“We received the machine in October and we were up and running the first week of November,” she said.

The equipment costs approximately $5,000 and was funded through a creativity grant from the North Elementary PTO.

Harris stocks the machine with titles that have been proven to be of high interest to her students.

Harris said teachers can pick two students per day who have modeled school behavior expectations such as initiative, respect and excellence.

“When a student has earned 10 tickets, they come to see me in the library and are given a gold token that is then used to get a book from the vending machine,” Harris said. “I can’t begin to tell you how exciting this is for our students.”

Harris said she and Principal Rob Lugo developed a system that aligned to behavior procedures at school.

“We felt the vending machine would be a great way to not only promote reading but good behavior, completed assignments, engagement in class, etc.,” Harris said.

Parent Beth Rednour is a fan of the program.

“Think about how excited you were the first time you walked up to a vending machine as a kid,” Rednour said. “I absolutely love that our school system is choosing to recognize first-class behavior by rewarding those students in a creative way. By letting kids choose their own books, we’re improving our children’s independence and self-esteem.”

North teacher Janene Krent said the program is a terrific way for the entire school to participate because it is based on school procedures.

“It is a great reminder for them that you can do the right thing anywhere and be rewarded by anyone,” Krent said. “I love that about this incentive. We are all on the same team. Since we are the only school in the area to have such a thing, there is a buzz among the kids. Mrs. Harris is a great out-of-the-box thinker that brings so many great ideas to benefit all kids at North.”


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