Bellevue Elementary School students earn a love of reading

Feb 13, 2024 | Featured, Schools | 0 comments

Third graders, Cole Berger, left, and Tanner Zenowicz check out the options in the book vending machine at Bellevue Elementary School. (Photo by Sheri Trusty)

BY SHERI TRUSTY

BES Assistant Principal Ashli Reineck stands next to the book vending machine that is inspiring kids to be kind and love reading. (Photo by Sheri Trusty)

Bellevue Elementary School (BES) found a unique way to encourage positive behavior and promote literacy at the same time. On Feb. 1, the school unveiled a book vending machine that provides books as rewards for positive behavior. The vending machine does not take money. Instead, it takes tokens that students earn for positive behavior.

The book vending machine was funded by a $10,000 grant from Sandusky County Communities

Foundation and was made possible by the school’s Positive Behaviors Interventions and Support (PBIS) team.

“We rolled this out with PBIS. Each month, we promote a different character trait. This month, it’s caring. When a student is caught caring for another student, they get to play Plinko. One of the Plinko prizes is a token for the book vending machine,” said BES Assistant Principal Ashli Reineck. “Each month, we’ll roll out a different way to earn that token.”

Book vending machines are popping up in schools across the nation, but BES created a distinctive vending machine by engaging the students in its design. The artwork of 29 students is featured on the vending machine. “We wanted our kids to have a buy-in. This is what separates us from other schools with vending machines,” Reineck said.

The artwork of 29 students is was incorporated into the design of the book vending machine at Belleuve Elementary School. (Photo by Sheri Trusty)

Students in all grades were asked to recreate the covers of their favorite books, and all the art was submitted to the vending machine company, which chose the pieces that worked best as they designed an original machine for BES. The BES book vending machine features the artwork of 16 elementary students, 11 middle school students and two high school students.

“They did an amazing job,” Reineck said.

Fifth-grader Tessa Heuser’s recreation of the cover of “Deck the Halls, We’re Off the Walls,” was among the chosen pieces. Artwork created by her brother Easton Heuser, a seventh grader, was also chosen.

“I chose that book because my grandma passed away, and she loved Christmas, so I decided to do this to honor her,” Tessa said. “I love having my art on it. I was very excited when I found out my brother’s art was chosen, too. That made me very happy.”

Reineck said the students have been “very engaged, very hyped up” about earning books by exemplifying positive behavior. Tessa is among the kids who have been excited about the chance to earn a book.

“I love it, and I love seeing people being so caring and seeing the vending machine being refilled every day,” she said.

Tessa Heuser’s recreation of the cover of “Deck the Halls, We’re Off the Walls” in the lower left corner was chosen for the book vending machine. Her brother’s recreation of a “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” cover is displayed next to Tessa’s. (Photo by Sheri Trusty)

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