The Iredell County Partnership for Young Children (ICPYC) recently added a book vending machine to the list of early literacy resources it offers to the community.
The machine, appropriately named, Inchy’s Bookworm Vending Machine, sits in the lobby of the partnership and greets children as they enter the building. Unlike other vending machines, this one is not filled with sugary snacks, but instead is filled with food for the brain — books!
Children, from birth to age 5, visiting the partnership office will receive a golden token that says “I love books” to select a book from the vending machine to take home and keep. Children will also receive coins through partnership sponsored programs and other community partners.
Literacy development starts early in life and is highly correlated with school achievement. The addition of Inchy’s Bookworm builds on the partnership’s commitment to finding new and exciting ways to instill a love of reading in young children — and providing the resources necessary to do so.
The partnership also sponsors the Loads of Literacy Laundromat Project, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and Reach Out and Read, all of which increase access to developmentally appropriate books, bridging the gap between literacy, community engagement, parent-child interaction and grade-level proficiency.
“Many of the families we serve live in book desserts, a geographic area where literacy materials are hard to obtain,” said Peyton Barrows, literacy program coordinator. “Inchy’s Bookworm Vending Machine is just one more opportunity to get free books in the hands of our youngest children to grow their own home libraries.”
The books in the machine aim to support diversity through a range of titles that appeal to all cultures, ages and backgrounds, with books written in both English and Spanish. Some of the books currently available include “The Night Before Preschool,” “El gran trabajo de Rosa,” and “Hair Love” but the selection will vary based on availability.
“Seeing the children’s faces light up as the book is dispensed into their hands is priceless,” said Barrows, who wrote the grant that funded the vending machine.
To learn more about Inchy’s Bookworm Vending Machine, donating books for the machine, or partnering with ICPYC to encourage literacy among Iredell County’s youngest citizens, contact Peyton Barrows, literacy program coordinator, at 704-878-9980 or email@example.com.