Book vending machine trends its way into Mayport Elementary School

Mayport Elementary School will introduce a new book vending machine this morning. News4Jax reporter Lena Pringle explains what inspired the idea.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Mayport Elementary School is getting students excited about reading in a unique way by introducing a new book vending machine.

School Principal Katie O’Connell knows how the importance of reading plays in building strong academic success. So when she saw the book vending machine idea on Instagram -- she jumped right on it.

“Reading is the foundation for all academics,” O’Connell said. “A good reader is going to be good at math, is going to be good at science, is just going to have a love of learning. Reading takes you to so many places in your mind and opens up a world of imagination for kids.”

When it comes to the vending machine, students will earn golden coins that they can use to “purchase” books. They will be given coins based on the number of books they read every nine weeks.

Pre-K through second-grade students must read 25 books, while third through fifth-grade students must read six chapter books to earn their golden coins.

One fifth-grade student said she’s read over 600 books since pre-K. O’Connell hopes this will be a new beginning of reading.

“We’re hoping to build that excitement and to open those opportunities for students to get more books in their hands and just build that love of learning and build that love of reading through the excitement of being able to go to the vending machine,” said O’Connell.

The new book vending machine and $5,000 worth of books were purchased with a grant from the Department of Defense.