With the onset of the pandemic during the last year, school administrators have had to make a number of changes to our current processes that reflect health department mandates and safety protocols within our buildings. These changes have been made with one goal in mind — to keep students and staff members safe.
One unfortunate change involved our school libraries. Because of the possibility of the spread of the virus due to contamination of exchanged library materials, students have not been able to borrow books in classroom libraries or the school media centers throughout the school district. While certain materials have been assigned for independent classroom use, checking out reading materials for the enjoyment of simply reading a book has not been possible.
In the fall of 2020, the elementary school PTA began discussing ways to put books back in the hands of our Greenville students. The PTA discussed their purchasing power and looked at a variety of ways to help support our students through these tough times. After a few weeks of research and negotiations, the PTA voted to purchase a vending machine for elementary students that distributes free full-size books that students can keep.
Melissa Williams, GES PTA President, shared these thoughts about this decision: “We know the importance of reading and the impact it has on our kids. When we came across the Book Vending Machine, we knew that this was a great way to get books in our kids’ hands! We as a PTA were so excited to do something to inspire the kids to read. We are excited to provide this tool for our teachers and staff to use to encourage reading.”
In order to obtain these books, students must earn special book tokens by modeling good behaviors at school. Through behavior lessons and class discussions, students are reminded of ways to support their classmates and teachers by being respectful and responsible, which, in turn, builds friendships and self-esteem. These behaviors are expected to be exhibited throughout the school day — in the classroom, in the cafeteria, on the playground, and while riding the bus. Students who are recognized as showing positive behaviors can earn tokens, and each token is worth one free book from the Bookworm Vending Machine. Katy Copas, K-4 School Counselor, has been working on the PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions & Support) Team for several years. This team organizes reward activities for students and provides information and support for teachers and staff. Katy and her team are very excited about the possibilities this will offer for our students in the future.
“The PBIS committee is very excited about the purchase of the Bookworm Vending Machine,” said Copas. “The PBIS program finds that focusing on the positive behavior leads to school success. Teachers will be able to recognize students who demonstrate positive behavior or have made significant growth. Because of the special honor of receiving a book, we hope that students will feel a sense of accomplishment and continue to make positive choices. The Bookworm Vending Machine will be an asset to Greenville Elementary.”
Through the collaboration of parents, administration, and staff members, a plan has been devised for replacing these books periodically throughout the life of the machine, with initial funding being provided by the Greenville Elementary PTA and the Greenville Schools Foundation.
Recently, The Greenville Schools Foundation also agreed to fund a second Bookworm Vending Machine for the Greenville Middle School. This machine will be used in much the same way as the elementary machine; however, books will be catered to the interests and reading levels of our older students.
Delivery of the new vending machines (which are customized with Greenville colors and mascot) will occur this spring. We are very excited to receive our book machines, and we would like to pay our respects to the Greenville Elementary PTA and the Greenville Schools Foundation for their support and generous funding efforts. Thank you!