Gumball machines and good books

Staff Writer
Echo Pilot

Believe it or not, a gumball machine made a big difference in my son’s education.

My son Josiah attended public school through first grade. By the time we decided to bring him home for his education, he already had a strong aversion to reading. One of our primary desires as we began homeschooling was to change that. Fortunately, we had the help of the summer reading program.

We headed to the Lilian S. Besore Library ( to sign up for the summer reading program the first week registration opened. In a display case near the entrance was an assortment of prizes that would be available that summer.

Both he and his sister noticed the gumball machine right away. It was in the top tier of the case, shown among the more desirable of the prizes. Both Josiah and his older sister immediately desired it.

His sister was an avid reader, so I expected that she would begin reading immediately, which she did. Josiah, on the other hand, had that distaste for reading, so I wondered how he would do. I anticipated having to read a lot of books to him.

Fortunately, he suddenly found motivation. He suddenly found books he enjoyed. He read every day that summer, and was proud of his achievements when the reading program ended.

We went to choose their prizes late on the first morning prizes could be collected. To their shock and dismay, there were no gumball machines. Apparently there were only a couple available, and they had been just as desirable to many other children as they were to ours.

I was pleased that my children didn’t take the lack of gumball machines too hard, but managed to find other gifts to appreciate.

I was even more pleased that my son had become a reader.