Although vending machines filled with random things are becoming very popular these days, this one is very different. Instead of popping out a bag of chips, it gives you books. And, what’s best is that you can have it for free.
After you press several buttons, you can now have a book from the unique vending machine.
As part of the “Soar with Reading” program, JetBlue is putting up book vending machines in several communities, which they call “book deserts”.
Unlike an ordinary vending machine, this one is filled with books. So, kids can take as many books as they want, completely free of charge. As a start, the company positioned three vending machines along the Anacostia neighborhood in Washington, D.C.
It was only after some research work, when the company came up with the idea. In 2001, they found out that in communities that were underserved, “there was only one age-appropriate book available for every 300 kids.” So, they immediately consulted a child literacy expert, from which they learned the situation today was more critical.
According to their website, “In the shadow of our nation’s capital, in 2015, there is access to only one age-appropriate book for every 830 children”. With that surprising ratio, the company called these deprived places as book deserts.
Through Soar with Reading project, JetBlue has provided more than $1.25 million-worth of books to children.
Though book vending machines won’t solve the book deserts in the country, they can still be a good start.
Basically, you can’t read anything without having something to read. This only means that if kids have access to books in the first place, it will be easier to open up their minds to the possibilities of reading.
According to the National Education Association:
“Having kids read a lot is one of the crucial components of becoming a good reader. Young readers need to become practiced at recognizing letters and sounds. The only way to get good at it is to practice”.
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