Harding School's Book Vending Machine

Harding School's Book Vending Machine
Posted on 02/10/2021
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KENILWORTH, NJ – On Jan. 28 at Harding Elementary, the long-awaited brown tarp was pulled off the mysterious box at the end of the hallway to reveal a new Book Vending Machine. The purpose of the machine is for students to redeem gold coins earned for books. In an uncertain time, the entire project made such a positive impact that Meg Baker from CBS2 came to report the reading celebration which was then featured on the nightly news. https://newyork.cbslocal.com/video/5282512-book-vending-machine-a-pandemic-distraction-at-harding-elementary-school-in-kenilworth/

First-grade teacher Leslie Bedford coordinated the project, and the PTO sponsored it. The idea for the vending machine came about from Kenilworth Superintendent Kyle Arlington who read an article about a school that had one. He forwarded the article to Mrs. Bedford, and she reached out to the Harding School PTO who she says has been very kind and generous to her ideas in the past. 

An art contest was held over the summer for Harding Elementary students to help decorate a new vending machine. Harding students were encouraged to submit original artwork that was related to Harding or reading for consideration. 

For the reveal, following COVID restrictions a socially distanced reception was held in the Harding School cafeteria. Those in attendance were the students who have artwork featured on the machine, the stars of the vending machine promotional video, parents of the participants, Kenilworth Board members, Harding Principal Ronald Bubnowski, and Superintendent of Schools Kyle Arlington.

Leslie Bedford who coordinated the book vending machine project, read The Word

Collector to inspire the students to get their own books and be their own word collectors. The students present were the first ones to acquire the coveted golden coins for their very own book and glitter was thrown in celebration.  Now each homeroom teacher has received a special bag with gold coins to reward their students with a trip to the book vending machine.

"Books, art, and the students from Harding are perfect together!” Mrs. Bedford said, “I am looking forward to seeing kids get their books. Let the reading begin!”

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