Pizza Hut(R) Expands on BOOK IT!(R) Success With New R.E.D. Zone Read-Aloud Program Introduces Give Me Twenty Reading Challenge

DALLAS // PRNewswire // -- According to research, reading aloud to a child is the single most important factor in raising a reader.(1) To help cultivate more young readers through reading aloud, Pizza Hut® is introducing the R.E.D. Zone™ -- an online portal for educators and parents to help children in preschool and pre-kindergarten Read Every Day (R.E.D.) and build reading-readiness skills.

To kick off the launch, the R.E.D. Zone is challenging teachers and parents across the nation to read aloud for 800 minutes -- 20 minutes each day for at least five days per week over an eight-week period --with the Give Me Twenty Reading Challenge.

"With the introduction of the R.E.D. Zone, we are excited to bring fun new resources that focus on early reading to teachers, parents and young readers across the country," said BOOK IT! program director Leslie Brunt. "The R.E.D. Zone program is designed to spark an interest in reading at a very young age and help children develop a life-long love for reading."

The R.E.D. Zone is teaming up with Corduroy, one of the best-loved bears in children's literature, as the official reading partner for the program. Young readers will have the chance to use fun Corduroy-themed materials in the Give Me Twenty Reading Challenge.

The Give Me Twenty Reading Challenge will run March 1 through April 25, 2010. Preschool and pre-kindergarten classrooms and families with preschool aged children who have read at least 800 minutes during this time period are eligible to enter for a chance to win a R.E.D. Zone Reward. Prize packages will be awarded to ten eligible classrooms and to ten eligible individual families. The prize packages consist of: two books, Corduroy and A Pocket for Corduroy, a plush Corduroy bear, and a one-year subscription to One More Story, an online library of children's literature.

Participants will be able to track their minutes by downloading fun cutouts featuring Corduroy from the R.E.D. Zone website. After each read-aloud session, participants can use the cutouts of Corduroy's buttons and pockets to record the book they read or amount of time spent reading, which can then be placed on a wall as a visible representation of their accomplishments.

How to Participate in the Give Me Twenty Reading Challenge

Interested participants can visit the R.E.D. Zone to complete the registration form for the Give Me Twenty Reading Challenge. Registered participants will receive the official Give Me Twenty Reading Challenge Sweepstakes Entry Form via email after April 26, 2010 to enter for a chance to win the appropriate prize package. For more information, see the Official Rules.

Explore the R.E.D. Zone

For more information – including tips for reading aloud and a list of great read-aloud books -- please visit www.bookitprogram.com/redzone.

About BOOK IT!®

In 1985, Pizza Hut established the BOOK IT! National Reading Incentive Program to motivate children to read more and help them develop a lifelong love of reading. BOOK IT! is a six-month program for students in kindergarten through sixth grade. Teachers set monthly reading goals for their classrooms, and when students achieve their monthly goal they receive a Reading Award Certificate to redeem at their local Pizza Hut restaurant. For more information, visit www.bookitprogram.com.

About Corduroy and Penguin Group (USA)

Don Freeman's storybook character, Corduroy, a little bear with a missing button, has been one of the best-loved bears in children's literature for over 40 years since the book was originally published in 1968. Corduroy and A Pocket for Corduroy are two of many perennial favorites published by Viking Children's books, a division of Penguin Group (USA). Penguin Group (USA) is a global leader in children's publishing through its Young Readers Group. For more about the Penguin Young Readers Group, visit www.penguin.com/youngreaders. Readers can find out more about Corduroy at www.penguin.com/corduroy.

About One More Story

One More Story is an online library of the best of children's classic and contemporary literature for pre-readers and early readers. Through a simple point and click process, children can choose a book, see the illustrations and have the book read to them. For emerging readers, the I Can Read It mode empowers children to read on their own.

About Pizza Hut

Pizza Hut delivers more pizza, pasta and wings than any other restaurant. The only pizza company to be named a top ten franchise in 2009 by Entrepreneur Magazine, Pizza Hut began 50 years ago in Wichita, Kansas and today operates thousands of restaurants around the globe. Pizza Hut, Inc. is a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc. ( YUM).

(1) The Commission on Reading, Becoming a Nation of Readers (1985).

SOURCE Pizza Hut

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