Stu­dents book learn­ing time with story ma­chine

Townsville Bulletin - - NATION -

A VIC­TO­RIAN school has in­tro­duced the first “lit­er­acy vend­ing ma­chine” in the south­ern hemi­sphere in a bold bid to im­prove stu­dents’ read­ing and writ­ing.

The $ 20,000 ma­chine dis­penses short sto­ries that take one to five min­utes to read.

Stu­dents at Bannockburn P- 12 School, near Gee­long, are writ­ing the sto­ries dis­pensed by the ma­chine.

Prin­ci­pal Rob Nel­son said the short sto­ries – a “fast food ver­sion” of books – would en­cour­age chil­dren to read and write. The Short Edi­tion ma­chines first ap­peared at French rail­way sta­tions as a way to en­ter­tain com­muters.

It is be­lieved there are only two pri­vately owned ma­chines out­side Europe – one in a Los An­ge­les restau­rant and the other at Bannockburn.

“It’s a great in­cen­tive for the stu­dents to write,” Mr Nel­son said. “The story ma­chine will hope­fully stir the pas­sion in chil­dren to write.

“We know that chil­dren love to show their grand­par­ents, par­ents and fam­ily what they have done at school. The idea that any­one in the com­mu­nity could read a child’s story will hope­fully in­spire them.”

Chil­dren’s au­thor Mem Fox said schools and par­ents needed to en­sure chil­dren had ac­cess to qual­ity books. She slammed “hor­ren­dous” lev­elled read­ers – sets of books that in­crease in dif­fi­culty.

“There has been a takeover in schools of teach­ing to read us­ing only th­ese school read­ers,” she said.

“They are so badly writ­ten and they are hideously bor­ing.

“If chil­dren are not ex­posed to books writ­ten by the best au­thors in what­ever coun­try they are in, they will never be able to write well and never know how amaz­ing lit­er­a­ture can be.”

READ ALL ABOUT IT: Is­abelle, 4, Tom, 8, and Alice, 6, Dunck­ley with books from the vend­ing ma­chine. Pic­ture: JAY TOWN

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