A Florida elementary school is offering reading material, rather than sweets, to students who frequent the vending machine.
«It’s been a success,» said Diane Dwyer, principal at Umatilla Elementary in Umatilla, Florida. «It has created excitement and joy around reading and anything that encourages reading is a win in our book.»
Dwyer told «Good Morning America» that the idea behind the book-filled vending machine was that of Susan Caldwell’s — the school media specialist.
From there, the school began gathering books via Scholastic Book Fair points, donations and purchases through school staff.
The children, grades kindergarten through 5th, are able to swap «Bulldog Bucks» for coins to buy books at the machine. «Bulldog Bucks» are tokens earned in exchange for committing a kind act, or working hard on an assignment, Dwyer said.
The vending machine was unveiled Monday as part of literacy week and Dwyer said they already had to restock the books.
«It would be wonderful if we can partner with local businesses to donate more books because it’s been a hit,» Caldwell told «GMA.»
It has created excitement and joy around reading.
— Umatilla Elementary (@UmatillaElem) January 30, 2019
Dwyer and Caldwell said a local church recently donated a second vending machine to the school. The plan is to have one machine dedicated to a kindergarten to 2nd grade reading level and the other for grades 3 to 5.