Tulsa Elementary School rewards good behavior and encourages reading with the help of a book vending machine

A new kind of vending machine has made its way into a Tulsa elementary school.

It deals in bars for books.

When you put a coin in this machine, something good comes out.

From Goosebumps to Harry Potter, children at Lindbergh Elementary have a choice of new books to keep.

Director James Issacs says the payment is not money; this machine only collects points for good behavior.

“Everything in the classroom. Do your best, show respect, be friendly,” says director Issacs. “We want to give them points, and then we let them use those points to buy a lot of things. One of them is the books.”

Sophia Arizola is in fifth grade and says the opportunity to earn points has given her more confidence in the classroom.

“I do my best and answer a lot of questions and if I do well I get a point,” she said. “So when I answer, I try to remember things so I can get a point, and I like it because I like answering questions, and I like being a leader.”

As TPS focused on increasing reading scores this year, Principal Issacs thought the vending machine was a way to achieve this goal within his school.

“Children who read more will do better in reading,” he said. “We have the tools here, but this right here is about getting learning resources to kids at home. We want to reward them as we build those libraries at home.”

The children not only improve their reading skills, but they also learn about mathematics.

“I just teach them how to budget for those items,” Principal Issacs said. “They have to have 100 points to get a token, so when they look and see they have 75 points, I have to earn more points.”

Earning more points leads to better behavior and, in this case, better readers.

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