Vending machines turn a page of history by dispensing books, not soda

Nevitt Elementary School fifth-grade teacher Samantha Kitchel raised $6,000 on DonorsChoose to fund a machine that dispenses books instead of food or drinks. — Photo by Gabrielle Dunton for Wrangler News

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By Gabrielle Dunton, Special for wranglernews.com

Forget the snacks and soda. Students at Tempe Nevitt Elementary soon will be receiving a different kind of treat from the school’s vending machine.

Fifth-grade teacher Samantha Kitchel raised $6,000 on DonorsChoose to fund a machine that would dispense books instead of food junk food or beverages.

The machine she located doesn’t take real money, only golden coins of purely literary value. Students get this currency through making good choices and exhibiting exceptional behavior.

Those who receive a Nevitt Knight Golden Award will receive a specially conceived coin to insert into the machine, the resulting choice to be made from an abundance of books loaded into the machine.

The prize comprises a golden shield for Nevitt teachers to give to a student who is found to be following the school’s motto: Take care of yourself, take care of others, take care of this place.

“We want all of our kids to make good choices, and to be kind to others;” Kitchel said. “Receiving a book from the vending machine is a good incentive for that.”

The vending machine has been placed where children can view it to further inspire a love for reading in her students, and for all students at Nevitt, Kitchel says.

“I didn’t start my love for reading until later on in life, so my goal with this project is to build students’ love for reading at an early age,” she said.

The most exciting part about the concept, Kitchel says, is that students who receive a book may keep it forever.

“When I told my students about the book vending machine, they were excited,” she said.

And so, it seems, were Kitchel and others in the school whose appetite for literature goes back to their childhood.

“Being able to share their book with their family members is a great way for everyone to join in on building a love for reading,” Kitchel said.

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