The “Hut” expands its reading room

March 19, 2009

You may have
tangible wealth untold:

Caskets of jewels
and coffers of gold.

Richer than I you can never be-
I had a mother who read to me.

– Strickland Gillilan

Read to me

I was a lucky one. As far back as I can remember, bedtime at the Hayes house was a strict ritual of teeth-brushing, pajama-donning and bedtime book-choosing. My parents read to me every night until I could read to them, and they continued to encourage me to expand my reading skills. Unfortunately, some kids aren’t so lucky.

Children whose parents read to them daily grow into better students and readers.

Children whose parents read to them daily grow into better students and readers.

According to a UCLA study, less than half of America’s children age five and under have parents who read to them daily. Several studies have shown that children whose parents read out loud to them are much more likely to be better students in the future.

“Of all child-parent activities, reading aloud provides the richest exposure to language and represents an important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading,” says Dr. Victor Perez, assistant professor of pediatrics at Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA.

25 years of BOOK IT!

Addressing this national issue is one of the most kid-friendly chains I know – Pizza Hut. Almost 25 years ago, Pizza Hut established a national campaign to encourage students to read.

BOOK IT! got every kid school reading by offering free pizza as incentive. Believe me, the anticipation of finishing a book so I could add a sticker to my BOOK IT! button – getting me one step closer to that Personal Pan Pizza — was intense.

Each teacher sets a monthly goal for the class, and students receive stickers, buttons and other materials based on the number of books, pages or time they  read. Once a student reaches the reading goal, the teacher awards the student with a certificate for a Personal Pan Pizza.

Pizza Hut continues the program throughout the school year, and students who meet reading goals in each of the six months of the program are named BOOK IT! All-Star Readers.

Hot n’ ready… to read!

Pizza Hut has beefed up BOOK IT! to help children who aren’t able to read yet. The BOOK IT! Beginners Program encourages parents, day care providers and preschool teachers to read aloud to kids for at least 60 minutes per week.

The BOOK IT! Beginners program runs for eight weeks in March and April, with the objective “to develop a lifelong love of reading in children.”

Pizza Hut's Book It! has kids read their ways to free pizza.

The BOOK IT! Web site offers parents tips to build “reading-readiness skills” and establish an at-home reading routine. The site also offers the National Education Association’s “Top 100” list of books, and divides the books into appropriate age levels.

Pizza Hut has influenced millions of kids to read over the past quarter of a century, and expanding the BOOK IT! initiative to an even younger audience is sure to foster some future readers. Pizza Hut hit the corporate responsibility  nail on the head with this program, and BOOK IT! Beginners is a tasty way to get kids excited about reading.


One comment

  1. Hi Amanda,

    Reading this post brought back so many great memories of the BOOK IT! program. I participated every year in elementary school and absolutely loved it. My older brother and I always looked forward to heading to Pizza Hut for our free pizzas!

    Kudos to Pizza Hut for expanding the initiative to a younger audience, and thank you for writing about it!


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