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By Pierre Bibbs
Publisher 

Reading Takes You Places

Dodson School sets educational standard for Hi-Line schools after placing a book vending machine in their hallway.

 

February 1, 2023

Over the last few years, Dodson Public School has been on a mission to improve its campus and educational experience for its students and the community.

The school's latest installment allows students to enhance their reading experience through a newly installed vending machine. This machine doesn't offer the typical snack or refreshment, but it does nourish the mind!

On Wednesday, January 18, Dodson School held its ribbon cutting for the newly installed Inchy the Bookworm Book Vending Machine, a device by The Global Vending Machine Corp.

"The idea of acquiring a book vending machine came as a suggestion from Aimee Konzen, MT OPI School Innovation and Improvement Specialist," Dodson School Principal Angela Richards told the PCN. "The Dodson School staff was presented with the idea at a staff meeting. A few teachers had been hearing about the book vending machines on social media."

According to Richards, the staff was excited about the project. The group of educators came up with the green, yellow, and black design, which are the school's colors, and included the slogan, "Reading Takes You Places!"

The process took about five months and the machine arrived by shipping freight truck during the coldest week this winter, Richards said.

"Our maintenance custodian, Pat Ditmar, and Vo-Ag teacher, Rod Donahue, along with a handful of students helped unload and set up the vending machine," Richards said.

Thanks to the tireless efforts by school librarian Donna Young, the machine is filled with books based on student interest as well as current trends.

Though several larger schools around the state of Montana have a similar book vending machine, Principal Richards believes that Dodson is the first Class C school to have one.

The machine was officially set up with a yellow ribbon around it in the school's main hallway a couple of weeks before the cutting ceremony.

"In that time, most of the students and staff had an opportunity to look at the books and all that it offers," Principal Richards said. "If you have never seen one, they are quite impressive. The younger students are in awe. I love to watch them staring into the book machine, I can see how excited they are about earning books."

According to Principal Richards, on their birthday, every student will receive a gold coin, which is the currency for the machine, and is good for one book. Students will have chances to earn more coins throughout the school year.

"The teachers in the school have complete autonomy of the reward system," she said. "Depending on the classroom, students may be earning a class-wide reward, or if it is on an individual basis, then students can earn a golden coin, which they can use to get a book for being safe, responsible, respectful, kind, caring, get good grades, by improving grades, helping out, AR points, and showing appropriate behavior."

The books range from lower level reading to books with a twelfth grade reading level. The machine has both hardback and paperback books.

Principal Richards said that the machine did come with a pretty high price tag.

"It is thanks to our school board and MT OPI who supported us with this endeavor that even made it possible," she said.

 
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