More than 630,000 classrooms annually use The BOOK IT! Program; Estimated 54 billion minutes read by participants since inception in 1984; Educators, Public Officials praise program's efforts.
PLANO, Texas - Oct. 1, 2014 // PRNewswire // - The Pizza Hut BOOK IT! Program, which originated in 1984 in Wichita, Kan., and has since been experienced by millions of kids across the country, will recognize its 30th Birthday beginning today, Oct. 1, by introducing a $30,000 College Plan, releasing its first reading App (available in the App Store) and dishing out a free Personal Pan Pizza to BOOK IT! alums who sign up at www.bookitprogram.com/alumni.
BOOK IT! is the longest-running corporate-supported reading program in the country, and has engaged educators for more than three decades to aid in the effort of helping 60 million children read more than 54 billion minutes. The goal of the program since inception, which is available from kindergarten through sixth grade, has been to help kids develop a love of reading. Students who meet monthly reading goals are provided with a Reading Award Certificate that can be redeemed at participating Pizza Hut locations for a Passport to Reading Award and a one-topping Personal Pan Pizza.
"One of the greatest gifts young people can receive is a love of reading and programs like BOOK IT! have helped promote and encourage that much-needed love of reading," said U.S. Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas. "Literacy plays an important role in the well-being of our future generations, and the more support that is provided to our educators and schools nationwide, the more successful they will be as they move forward in life."
In honor of the 30th Birthday of BOOK IT!, Pizza Hut is inviting anyone who participated in the program to sign-up on the alumni page to receive a free Personal Pan Pizza (redeemable Oct. 1-10).
"The number one thing we get asked by any adult who went through the program is can we please develop an adult version of the BOOK IT Program," said Shelley Morehead, BOOK IT! Program Manager. "With the creation of the BOOK IT! Alumni page, we now have a destination to celebrate the positive memories that so many kids, now adults, have with the program."
The new BOOK IT! Alumni page, www.bookitprogram.com/alumni, will gather tidbits about BOOK IT! Alumni members, including elementary school, current occupation and location that will be featured on an interactive map showcasing where the literary-loving former participants are located across the world. Additional elements include BOOK IT! historical facts, #BOOKITKid hashtag social stream, a BOOK IT! celebratory video featuring a few well-known alumni and more.
"At its core, The BOOK IT! Program helps instill a love of reading among young people and that is why it has stood the test of time and is still loved by educators all over the country," said David Gibbs, President, Pizza Hut U.S. "The success of BOOK IT! is worth celebrating, and we're happy to do that with all the teachers, parents, kids and alums who have been part of this tremendous program."
In addition to the Alumni Program, Pizza Hut is featuring new and exciting elements for current BOOK IT! kids in the classroom to be part of the birthday celebration, including:
For its 30th year, BOOK IT! will reward a $30,000 College Plan to one student who reaches all of his or her reading goals for the 2014-15 school year. When a student redeems their monthly Reading Award Certificate, they will receive a free Personal Pan Pizza, a Passport to Reading Award and a sticker for each of the monthly visits. If a child earns all six stickers, they can submit their passport for a chance to win the $30K College Plan. More information is available at www.bookitprogram.com/fairytalegiveaway/.
Also this year, BOOK IT! is launching an App as a new and innovative way for kids and parents to track reading goals. The App features an interactive game where students choose their favorite dragon to be their reading companion throughout the duration of the program. Earning "coins" for every minute spent reading, accessories for the dragons such as fun glasses, watches and scarves can be purchased to help "deck out" their dragon. The App is connected to an online teacher dashboard that can be used to track reading goals and to recognize students for making progress. To learn more about the mobile app, visit www.bookitprogram.com/bookitapp.
One of the best parts of the BOOK IT! Program remains encouraging young children to get excited about reading. To reach this goal, BOOK IT! has partnered with bestselling author Jeff Kinney, creator of the award-winning Diary of a Wimpy Kid series to once again release a brand new custom story exclusively for Pizza Hut and students participating in the BOOK IT! Program. The story, Surprise!, is narrated by Kim Austin, a teacher at Ring Elementary School in Jamestown, NY, and will be available on Oct. 1.
BOOK IT! will continue its tradition of challenging principals across the United States to become shining examples for literacy and the BOOK IT! Program by choosing one day to read all day long, from first bell to last during National Young Readers Week scheduled for Nov. 10-14, 2014. Over the past several years, principals have risen to the challenge, reading everywhere from hallways to rooftops for the chosen school day and BOOK IT! is excited to reach new heights with this challenge during the festivities this year. To encourage a local school to participate, visit www.bookitprogram.com/teachers/nyrw.
"Setting an example and sharing a love of reading is so important because literacy lasts a lifetime. Last year I did the Principal Challenge and camping out in front of school and reading all day to all the students showed that reading can be fun," said Michelle Wilkes, Principal at Cleaveland Traditional Magnet Elementary School in Wichita, Kan. "The excitement and sense of accomplishment that all of the students show after reaching their reading goal and getting their own personal pizza certificate shows me how proud they are. I hope this program continues to make such a positive impact in our community."
In 1984, Pizza Hut established the BOOK IT! National Reading Development 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. For more information, visit www.bookitprogram.com or keep up with BOOK IT! via its social media outlets @BOOKITprogram or Facebook.com/bookitprogram.
Pizza Hut, a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE: YUM), delivers more pizza, pasta and wings than any other restaurant in the world. In 2014, Pizza Hut was named the Harris Poll Equitrend® Pizza Brand of the Year, garnered a top score in customer satisfaction among limited-service restaurant chains in the country from the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), and was the recipient of the Innovation and Leadership in Advertising Award from the American Advertising Federation, 10th District. The only pizza company to be named a top ten franchise in 2013 by Entrepreneur Magazine, Pizza Hut began 56 years ago in Wichita, Kansas, and today operates more than 14,000 restaurants in more than 100 countries. Pizza Hut also is the proprietor of the BOOK IT!® Program, which is a long-standing children's literacy program used in more than 630,000 classrooms nationwide.
SOURCE Pizza Hut