DeKalb County tries unconventional methods to get students reading

The DeKalb County School District is testing two new ways to get students interested in reading: book vending machines, and a “book tasting experience.”

The two unconventional strategies were unveiled this month at the district’s Family IMPACT Hub at its Stone Mountain office.

ExploreMore than 800 DeKalb teachers enrolled in intensive reading training

Students can retrieve books from the vending machine with gold tokens they receive for good behavior, reading a book or good grades.

And through the book tasting experience, students can peruse up to three books before choosing the ones they want to take home.

“We know that reading helps with literacy, helps keep students engaged, and helps with academic achievement,” said interim Superintendent Vasanne Tinsley in a news release. “This is a phenomenal strategy that we have here in the Family IMPACT Hub, but we want to see it spread throughout DeKalb County as a way to engage our students in the wonderful world of reading.”

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Improving literacy is top of mind this year in DeKalb, after almost 50% of students could not read on grade level in 2022. More than 800 DeKalb teachers are enrolled in an intensive training program focused on the science of reading.