A new Book Vending Machine at Emerson Elementary in Pasco is inspiring students to read

PASCO, Wash. — Emerson Elementary School in the Pasco School District (PSD) has found a unique way to share the love of reading with students. Students can grab a literary snack through their new Book Vending Machine and take home new or gently used books for free after earning Inchy coins.

Emerson Elementary Principal Brooke Schuldheisz, who has been at the school for six years, said she saw the idea during the pandemic. After writing a grant through OSPI (Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction), Emerson Elementary unveiled their Book Vending Machine, worth $6,000, serving around 405 students, in April 2022.

“You can read your book anytime at your house and school.” -Vicente, 5-year-old Emerson Elementary Student.

“The kiddos have been so excited about it, and even the staff have been excited. We have been able to give out those Inchy coins for kiddos who have shown Emerson Expectations [also known as SOAR], which means they are safe, organized, have a good attitude, and are responsible,” said Schuldheisz.

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Emerson staff said that they will be given one Inchy coin each Friday to give a student who “demonstrates excellence in school each week.”

Students can then choose from a variety of books in both English and Spanish that they can keep.

“My favorite thing about reading is when you read; you can get a book that can be really interesting. Then you can read it for a long time.” -Isaiah, 9-year-old Emerson Elementary Student

“Any donations of gently used or new books would be very much appreciated. Our books in the vending machine have books in both English and Spanish because we have a dual language school,” said Schuldheisz.

Schuldheisz said that it’s amazing that the school can provide books for students to keep because 97% of the families in the school live at or below the poverty line and are spending income on essentials like rent, groceries, and fuel.

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“Our Emerson families love their kiddos, and they are so good at being involved in school and teacher conferences. One of the best things about the Book Vending Machine is we get to provide them books to keep and share with their families and neighbors,” Schuldheisz said.

Schuldheisz said the school is looking for donations from the community to help replenish their Book Vending Machine. If you can donate any gently used or new books, you can drop them off at Emerson Elementary (1616 W. Octave, Pasco, WA 99301) or call the school at 509-543-6792.