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Southwest Las Vegas’ Kim Elementary debuts book-vending machine

At Kim Elementary School, students were cheering for the school’s latest gadget: a vending machine.

Instead of dispensing chips, sugary drinks or snacks, it drops books filled with knowledge that can be purchased if students collect enough tickets given out for respectful, responsible and safe behavior, principal Cathleen Furtado explained at a school assembly Dec. 19. Those tickets can then be exchanged for a gold coin that would operate the machine.

The new gadget, covered with a purple cloth and a gold ribbon, was unveiled during the school’s awards assembly at 7600 Peace Way.

“Kiddos, what do I want you to do?” she asked the revved-up students in kindergarten, first grade and second grade who were oh-so-close to their holiday break.

“Read! Read! Read!” they shouted back.

The machine is filled with a range of books donated to the school, such as age-old classics like “Captain Underpants” and newer chapter books. It cost the Clark County School District $2,500 and can fit about 500 books, Furtado said.

The purple machine is decorated with an image similar to the iconic “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign. It says, “Welcome to Fabulous Frank Kim Elementary” and, below that, “Where we read, read, read!”

“I’m so excited for it,” said second-grader Emily Krupka, 7. “I love books.”

Emily was the first person to try out the machine, shortly after it was unveiled during the assembly in front of about 200 of her peers and about 100 parents. After she made her selection, the book became stuck. Staffers were later able to retrieve the one she chose: a book in the “Dork Diaries” series.

“I like to read adventure things and see what happens,” she said of her book with bright yellow emojis on the cover. Krupka said she has read too many books to count.

She had seen her older sister read the series, and the vending machines happen to be her favorite color. Emily said she was sure her classmates were jealous, as she got to try it first.

“I just love to read,” she added.

Furtado said staffers had to use their best sleuthing skills to get the books into the machine without the students seeing.

For the K-5 Title I school, the machine can make all the difference in the lives of students, Furtado said.

“This way they can go to different places and have different experiences,” she added. Furtado said she hopes the machine can be replicated in other schools and will help the students get excited about reading.

“I believe we need them to love to read,” she said.

Contact Alex Chhith at achhith@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0290. Follow @alexchhith on Twitter.

By the numbers

$2,500: Cost of the book vending machine

500: Number of books it can hold

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