NewsPositively Utah


Provo school uses book vending machine to reward students, promote literacy

Posted at 5:50 PM, Feb 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-07 20:00:23-05

PROVO, Utah — Lakeview Elementary School in Provo is using a vending machine full of books to reward their students and promote literacy.

The school installed the book vending machine just in time for the start of the current school year, and students like fourth grader Langston Kaufusi, say they are reading more often because of it.

"I read more just because it is just cool that it came out of a machine, like how they set it up and everything and now I can read it," said Kaufusi.

Kaufusi says he has used the machine three times, so far. In all, he has gotten books like "Dumbo" and "9 from the Nine Worlds."

Principal Mike Barker said it almost works like merit system for the students.

"The teachers decide what those are going to be, those tokens, each token is good for one book in the machine," said Barker.

Those tokens are earned in the classroom. Barker said students are rewarded for a variety of things, like kindness, integrity, working hard or even improving their grades.

"In the past, we would have done something like give a sticker, or give a little toy, and we wanted to do something a little more significant for the students," Barker explained.

Barker says he got the idea to get the machine after seeing a school in another state with one.

He said they had a little money they used toward their Positive Behavior Program to spend a few thousand dollars on the machine.

Barker said they get sent pallets of books, sometimes not even knowing what they are going to get. Adding they have made sure to keep it stocked with plenty of new books that every student can not only enjoy, but keep as well.

"We try and get the books based on grade level, so something from Kindergarten all the way up to 6th grade reading level, so we try to get a variety of things so all the students have something that they would be interested in."

He said the vending machine has been well received by teachers, parents and the students.

"I like how it makes me try to get better and work harder," said Kaufusi.

Barker said about 50-60 students a week come through to get a book out of the machine, with the school's goal to be that every student will get at least one book by the end of the school year.