As media specialist at West Rockingham Elementary School, she’s witnessed first-hand the excitement that students display each time the book fair comes around. Looking for a way to foster her student’s excitement into a love of reading, Jill turned to the Bright Ideas Educational Grant program offered through Pee Dee Electric and North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives.
“I wanted to find a way to generate the same book-fair excitement for my students, but 24/7, not just twice a year,” stated Jill. Having heard of the “Inchy Bookworm Vending Machine” being implemented in other school districts, Jill believed that the machine would be a great way to spark excitement for reading in her students.
The Inchy Bookworm Vending Machine is similar to traditional vending machines, but is instead stocked with high-interest books for grade levels pre-kindergarten through fifth grade. The machine will be stocked with books purchased by the school’s Parent Teacher Organization, Book Fair profits, or through various grants.
Used in conjunction with West Rockingham’s Accelerated Reader Program, Never Been Absent program, and Positive Behavior in Schools Incentive programs, the vending machine offers a great way to incentivize students to read. As a reward for practicing and displaying positive behavior and maintaining excellent attendance, students will collect custom coins to use in the Bookworm machine to receive their very own book.
“Using the Inchy Bookworm Machine offers a great way to not only encourage our students to excel on a personal level but also helps us put high-quality books into the hands of our students,” said Jill.
The machine was custom-made by a vending company that has provided similar machines to other school districts; however, the machine is the first of its type in Richmond County Schools. Although, this machine exceeded the amount of the Bright Ideas grant, Ms. Buck was able to obtain additional grants to help fund the purchase of the machine and finally made her dream of adding an Inchy Bookworm Machine to her school a reality in June. “We are so excited to get started using this machine,” stated Jill. “The elementary years are an extremely important time in a child’s development, and it is vital that we foster our children’s interest in reading. Allowing students to build their own collection of books helps tremendously.”
The more opportunities we have to put books into the hands of students, the better chance of making them a lifelong reader.
Ms. Buck has received partial funding from another grant source and hopes to have another machine installed in the school within the next year.
“The more opportunities we have to put books into the hands of students, the better chance of making them a lifelong reader. We are so fortunate that the Bright Ideas Grant Program exists for projects such as this,” stated Jill. “My students and I truly appreciate the support that we’ve received through Bright Ideas and are incredibly grateful to Pee Dee Electric for helping to make this dream a reality.”
Early bird deadline
Submit your Bright Ideas grant application on or before August 16 and be entered to win one of five $100 Visa gift cards. Final application deadline is September 15.