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Alward Elementary surprises students with new book vending machine

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Posted at 2:32 PM, Jan 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-28 14:32:09-05

HUDSONVILLE, Mich. — An idea to get more books in the hands of children is now a reality at one West Michigan school.

Alward Elementary in Hudsonville is making the process as easy as buying a candy bar.

Teachers often tell their students to think outside the box but at Alward Elementary, a brilliant idea is going inside one.

“We just thought they were fun, and they were cool,” said Heather Lalonde, a second-grade teacher at Alward Elementary School.

A fun and cool way to get kids excited about reading.

The school installed a special vending machine but instead of candy and soda, it pops out books.

The books are meant to inspire all young minds.

“We tried to make sure that we have a variety of levels for all students, we also didn't want to have them all to be the same topic. So, you can pick a book and there's a different option behind it,” Lalonde explained.

Students were surprised with the literary-themed machine on Friday.

Students surprised with new book vending machine

Each week a teacher will select a student to pick out their very own book as a reward for being their best.

Kids will get a special coin to use in the machine and get a book for doing things like raising their book level or doing a random act of kindness for someone.

“All families don't have access to books, or even right now the opportunities to go to libraries to get books if they can’t afford books. So, it's just a great way to promote literacy,” said Lalonde.

The machine was made possible with a grant from the Hudsonville Education Foundation and support from parents.

“It's just a symbol of just the unity between our school and our district and our community,” Lalonde told FOX 17.

While this machine is new to Alward, other West Michigan schools have added them in recent years such as Dorr Elementary in Allegan County and Buchanan Elementary in Grand Rapids.

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