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Caddo Heights Elementary takes innovative approach to inspire reading

by Chanel Rowe
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Originally Published: 06 MAR 24 08:54 ET

By Johnette Magner

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    SHREVEPORT, Louisiana (KTBS) — In the face of concerning literacy rates across the nation, where studies reveal that two out of every three students are not reading on grade level, Caddo Heights Elementary School in Shreveport, Louisiana, has adopted an unconventional approach to encourage reading and ignite a passion for books.

The school has installed a book vending machine in its foyer, designed to reward students for their achievements and positive behavior.

The vending machine, a novel addition to the school’s literacy initiative, dispenses books in exchange for tokens that students earn through exemplary conduct. The concept aims to foster a love for reading by making books easily accessible to students, with the added benefit of creating a dialogue with parents and community stakeholders about the importance of literacy.

“The goal of the vending machine is to increase literacy across our campus, so the placement of the vending machine is in our foyer, opening the conversation for our parents and community stakeholders,” said school librarian Hydia Lyons.

To obtain tokens for the book vending machine, students must demonstrate qualities such as self-control, overcoming challenges, achieving greatness and respecting everyone. The initiative, known as “Soaring,” has gained popularity among the students, who eagerly share their achievements and earn tokens to redeem for books.

The school’s aim is to recognize outstanding students, with the ultimate goal of ensuring that every student receives a token by the end of the academic year. School officials will review rosters to guarantee that every child on the campus has the opportunity to access the book vending machine.

Caddo Heights Elementary is the sole school in Caddo Parish to implement this innovative reading initiative. The book vending machine was made possible through a grant from the Carmel Hill Education Program, a foundation that supports 27 schools in Louisiana.

“When we saw that the vending machine was an option, we got super excited and wanted that,” said Principal Cleveland Mouton. “Then we got to design it to make it special for our school.”

Children at Caddo Heights Elementary actively contribute to selecting the books available in the vending machine, ensuring a diverse and engaging selection. The primary intention is for the books to be taken home so that every child will have an in-home library.

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Caddo Heights Elementary book vending machine

Embargo: Shreveport, LA; **This image is for use with this specific article only** In the face of concerning literacy rates across the nation, Caddo Heights Elementary School in Shreveport, Louisiana, has installed a book vending machine in its foyer, designed to reward students for their achievements and positive behavior.

KTBS via CNN Newsource

06 Mar 24

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