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Musgrave grant motivates new bookworms

Students at Springfield’s McGregor Elementary have a novel reason to maintain perfect attendance and treat each other well.

Jeannette L. Musgrave Foundation

Positive impacts on behavior, inch by inch and book by book

Reading as a reward — it’s not just a novel way to encourage a love of literacy, but also to promote positive behavior at school. That’s the philosophy behind a new “Inchy the Bookworm” vending machine at Springfield’s McGregor Elementary, funded by a Jerry Redfern Grant from the Jeannette L. Musgrave Foundation.

Since the ribbon was cut on Sept. 7, Blaine Broderick, McGregor’s school community liaison, says “Inchy the Bookworm” is already making an impact.

“We had 28 students with perfect attendance throughout the first quarter, and those students received a token for their perfect attendance,” Broderick says. “Since the first quarter, attendance has increased by 6%.”

Inchy arfy21 5x7

Blaine Broderick, McGregor Elementary’s school community liaison, introduces students to the “Inchy the Bookworm” vending machine prior to the ribbon cutting on Sept. 7, 2021.

The vending machine is part of the school’s “Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports” system to establish a foundation of good behavior and improve student outcomes. Students that show exemplary behavior are rewarded with blue tickets that can win them a token to “purchase” books from the vending machine. Those good behaviors can be as simple as returning a library book on time — returns have increased by 80% since implementing the vending machine — to being a “HABIT Hero,” a classroom challenge that focuses on a different character trait each month.

“The book vending machine has been a hit with all students. Many have expressed excitement when it comes to earning blue tickets, having perfect attendance and possibly winning the HABIT Hero award,” Broderick says. “Our greatest struggle currently is keeping the vending machine stocked!”

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