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Millard book vending machine creates fun reading experience while promoting good behavior for students

Posted at 6:53 PM, Sep 28, 2022

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — A candy bar or any other junk food inside won't be found inside a particular vending machine at Montclair Elementary School, instead, it’s filled with books for kids to read, and they absolutely love it!

“I wanted to have the best book ever,” Aarnicia DeCarmen, a kindergartner, said.

She found that book inside the book vending machine and was one of a few dozen kids who got the chance to use it.

Kids don’t just walk up to the machine and grab a book, using it is a privilege they have to earn.

Principal Alicia Kotlarz said teachers nominate students as uplifting students,

"Things (teachers) notice about a child that go beyond that typical classroom behavior,” she said.

Once nominated, kids get a token they can use to get a book from the machine. Kotlarz said they also get a bookmark that describes what teachers noticed about them.

Third grader Josephine Hamrick said she was nominated for being kind to her classmates as well as for her joy in learning.

Aaricia was nominated for checking on other kids in her class when they were not okay.

Kotlarz wants to create an exciting, and engaging experience around reading.

"We really wanted to increase the love of learning and the love of reading," she said. "We thought this made it a very special way to do that."

Groups of students are nominated each month to use the vending machine. Kotlarz said some of the books are donated and others are bought. Her goal is to keep the book vending machine well stocked with titles that capture kids’ attention.

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