Posted: Mon 28th Mar 2022

Flint High School invests in book ‘vending machine’ to promote reading

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Monday, Mar 28th, 2022

Developing a love of reading has been given an interesting twist at a Flintshire high school with the arrival of a novel way of rewarding students for their achievements.

Numerous literacy initiatives at Flint High School have already led to more students becoming avid readers and, whilst researching ideas for an exciting, new way to generate a buzz about reading in the school, staff from the English department came upon the idea of a book vending machine.

An initial book selection event took place where keen reader students from all year groups were invited to select books from a huge array brought into the school by Caroline Johnson from The Bookshop in Mold.

The books with the most ‘votes’ were bought by the school to fill the vending machine.

Nicola Paulson, literacy coordinator, has overseen the project. She said: “The vending machine has already generated quite a hubbub of book talk amongst the students since it was filled and launched, with many even trying to buy books with their own money!”

“I have had countless students asking me how they can win and recommending additional books.”

“This is an exciting way for us to reward readers. The books will be given to students as a reward for great work across a variety of reading related programmes such as: form reading challenges, the FHS Reading for Pleasure Challenge, progress in Accelerated Reader in terms of attainment and effort, as well as competitions and other initiatives linked to reading. We are also looking to explore how we might link rewards to reading in subjects other than English.”

Ethan Weaver Martin, year 7, loves any type of adventure book. Of the book vending machine, he thinks it is a really good idea that will encourage a lot of children to read who might not normally.

Successful students will be given a token by Mrs Paulson to access the machine and select a book of their choice. The vending machine opens out so that students can see all the books and not just the ones at the front.

The book vending machine has already been put into use by the first winners of the Form Reading Matchbox Challenge. They are Christopher Latham, Freya Rothwell, Keleigh English and Macie Leigh, all year 7 students. The students had to transform a matchbox into something related to the book they are reading during registration, such as a favourite scene, a character, an object, or an idea of their own.

Mrs Johnson said: “When the school contacted me to ask if I would bring in a selection of books for children to look at and choose for the vending machine, I was delighted to help. I looked at our stock and chose what we know students would enjoy.”

“It was lovely to be there when the students were selecting their favourite books. It was fabulous to see the children so enthusiastic and engrossed in reading, and I enjoyed hearing their feedback on the books.”

Owen Conway, year 7, is currently reading ‘Letters from The Lighthouse’ by Emma Carroll. He said: “I think this is a great idea that will get children reading more which means they learn more, get better educated and that will help them to get jobs in the future.”

Sarah Massey and Tayler Jones, both year 11, selected ‘When the War Came Home’. The students share a love of reading and history and said this book links to their GCSE history studies which helps give them a broader perspective. They think the book vending machine is ‘a great idea that will promote reading in school’.

Ethan Weaver Martin, year 7, loves any type of adventure book. Of the book vending machine, he thinks it is ‘a really good idea that will encourage a lot of children to read who might not normally’.

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