Vending machines full of books added to Bulloch County elementary schools

Published: Feb. 22, 2023 at 4:53 PM EST
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BULLOCH COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - A vending machine at a school often sells candy or soft drinks. In Bulloch County, they’ve added machines with a more educational purpose.

Every elementary school in Bulloch County now has a vending machine filled with books.

Students at Mattie Lively Elementary can visit the machine once they’ve earned tokens with good behavior, good grades or more.

School leaders say books offer up an alternative to games and screentime.

“We all grew up with books. We had them in our hands. It’s healthy for children. It’s healthy for adults,” Bulloch County Superintendent Charles Wilson said.

They’re using a combination of district funds, grants, and private donations to buy the age level-appropriate books. It’s also part of the district’s literacy goals to get students actively reading in their spare time to sharpen skills.

They say these might be the only books some students have at home.

“They get to pick out the book they want. That is their book to keep forever. They own it. So it gives a sense of pride,” said Crystal Simpkins, with Bulloch County Schools.

Both say it’s important to reach students at this age as they learn to read, so they can read to learn.