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Home New Release Hold the snacks: New vending machine boosts reading at Regina school

Hold the snacks: New vending machine boosts reading at Regina school

A Regina school now houses a vending machine that dispenses not pop and candies but books.

The Arcola Community School introduced Inchy, the book vending machine with a surprise celebration that occurred earlier this week.

The students were introduced to the vending machine on Jan. 17, 2023, with an unveiling celebration where the excitement was heightened. Inchy holds a variety of books from fiction to non-fiction and even journal writing books.

It works just like any other vending machine. Choose the number of your book, hit enter and the book falls down like pop or candy in a regular vending machine. Instead of inserting coins, though, Inchy takes special tokens.

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“We are celebrating student gains in reading. So, if a student moves a reading level … they could earn a token that way,” said principal Jillian Sutherland.

“We also are going to give tokens out for kindness for them, supporting each other … helping out around the school and just doing good deeds. So, a reward for positive behaviour, but also to success in literacy and writing and those specific areas.”

“It generates just a whole different atmosphere because kids are working for something specific,” she said. “So, it motivates other kids to do good deeds, (to) work really hard in school, attend and just be a part of a positive (and) cool culture. We’re pretty excited about it.”

The book vending machine was donated to the school by SaskTel Cares and the United Way. Trish Dupuis, director of resource development with United Way of Regina, said Inchy is part of their campaign for a grade-double reading commitment that started over three years ago.

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“We were really focused on making a commitment to early childhood literacy,” said Dupuis. “We had identified schools within our community that had the greatest needs and needed the greatest amount of support. And we have chosen to really focus in four key areas within our campaign for grade level reading plan (which includes) school readiness, access to books, chronic attendance, as well as a learning slide.”

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Over the past three years, the United Way introduced their campaign for grade level reading plans in 12 various community schools in Regina. By the end of the school year, the partnership has invested together with more than $1.6 million.

“We really look at that phrase, ‘it takes a village.’ So, we rely on our village of donors and partners to really make the work come to life and (to) achieve the dollars needed in order to introduce programs and innovative ways to engage kids in reading,” said Dupuis.

Each book vending machine costs roughly $10,000 and the school carries additional books to restock Inchy throughout the school year.

Click to play video: 'Book vending machine unveiled'

Book vending machine unveiled

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