Strengthening Schools: Creating Bookworms at Addison Elementary

Published on Tuesday, April 25, 2023 in Strengthening Schools Grants

If buying a new book were as easy as grabbing a snack from a vending machine, would you read more?

That's the idea behind Inchy's Bookworm Vending Machines - and Addison Elementary School students are putting it to the test thanks in part to a Strengthening Schools Grant from MEC, funded by our power supplier Wolverine Power Cooperative.

ribbon cutting
Principal Huston, right, cuts the ribbon on Addison Elementary's new book vending machine.

Addison Elementary Principal Angie Huston first discovered the vending machines online. She immediately thought of the potential benefit to Addison students.

“I’m a big believer in making sure all students have access to books, not just for loan but for personal possession," Huston said.

A 2019 survey conducted by the National Literacy Trust, a United Kingdom charity promoting literacy, indicated that children who own books are around six times as likely to read above their expected grade level compared with peers who don't own books, regardless of education level or socioeconomic background. While Addison students have access to a free book library, Huston said this research illustrates the importance of ownership.

Huston contacted Global Vending Group, the manufacturers of the machines, and got a price. At the same time, she just so happened to get an email from us about our Strengthening Schools Grants. The rest is history.


At the end of each month, each teacher selects a "superstar reader" to earn a gold vending machine token. Students are chosen based on their drive to read, as well as their respect for the classroom library, regardless of their expected reading level. With tokens in hand, the students choose their books, which they get to take home and keep. Earning books in this way lets students take pride in their reading efforts. By the end of the year, the goal is to give every student at least one opportunity to choose a book.

Huston said in addition to the vending machine, Addison Elementary is working to give students other incentives to read. One of these is a summer reading program similar to Pizza Hut's BOOK IT! Program. Students are encouraged to read for at least 20 minutes a day, with the opportunity to earn a reward at the end of the summer. Huston was considering additional future incentives.

Several different organizations supported the purchase of Addison Elementary's book vending machine, including the Lions Club, the parent-teacher organization, and MEC's Strengthening Schools Grant. Applications are currently open for the 2023-2024 Strengthening Schools Grant cycle. Any teacher, administrator, or school official in a public elementary, middle, or high school serving students in our electric service territory may apply for a grant of up to $2,500 to support classroom needs, technology, or academic projects, club, and organizations.