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PHOTOS: Unique partnership provides book vending machine at Oak Chan Elementary

Earlier this year at Oak Chan Elementary School’s ‘Back to School Night,’ something new was unveiled on campus: a book vending machine. It works as one normally would but instead of snacks, it’s books, and rather than cash, it’s special gold coins. 

The idea was proposed by Kira Montinola, a third-grade teacher at the school. The Oak Chan alum spoke to librarian Frankie Arata, who is always looking for ways to get students excited about reading. With fundraising help from the school’s PTO, the dream became a reality. 

The machine runs on special gold tokens. Students can earn these coins with good behavior. Kat Bahry, the principal at Oak Chan explains: “This year, we have secret ‘Kindness Catchers’ that supply me with student names each week. An announcement is made weekly to honor those OC Dragons who have been caught being kind to others.” Those honored students then meet Principal Bahry in the multi where she distributes the coins. 

This system both incentivizes reading and increases the kindness shared among students. The goal is to encourage reading for the children and to make sure every student gets a chance to earn gold coins & use the machine.

-Sydney Fagan, Communication Internship Program, sfagan@fcusd.org