Today I want to give a shout out to the Pizza Hut reading program Book It! Now I am old enough to remember when this program began back in 1985. Back then I was in the fifth grade and up to this point I had made the occasional trip to the library to check out a book. Usually it was something like a collection of Peanuts cartoons or books on such things as movie monsters. I really wasn't all that into reading for the pure pleasure of it back then. When I checked out a book I wanted something that full of pictures that didn't have to many words.
Then one day my fifth grade teacher Mrs. Ross announced to the class that Pizza Hut was giving away a free Personal Pan Pizza to those students that participated in there new reading program. All you needed to do was reach a goal that was set by your teacher (which in our class was to read five books and do a book report on each) and you would earn a certificate that entitled you to the free pizza. The great thing about it was that there was no limit on how many free pizzas you could earn. Every time you reached the target goal, you earned a free pizza.
Not only did you have a chance to get as many free Personal Pan Pizzas as you could earn. But at the end of the program (the program ran from sometime in the fall to sometime in the spring) the class that had read the most books would earn a pizza party. In that first year my fifth grade class earned that party. I can still remember it, we went down stairs to one of the empty kindergarten classes, ate pizza. drank sodas and watched the original Freaky Friday movie, starring Jodie Foster.
Thanks to the Book It! program I discovered a brief love affair with books when I was younger. I became a fan of the Donald J. Sobel series of books Encyclopedia Brown. The short detective stories really captured my interest back then. For me they were really entertaining books. I also read such books as Tales of the Fourth Grade Nothing, Freckle Juice, Superfudge, How to Eat Fried Worms and many other books.
Sadly I would enter middle school the next year and my love of reading would fade until it picked up again when I was a senior in high school.
According to the Book It! website ( http://www.bookitprogram.com/ ) over 15 million reading minutes were tracked last year using their reading app. I would encourage all our readers to visit the website and see how you can get involved to support the Book It! program. I really believe this is a worthwhile project. It is important that we find ways of getting children interested in reading. The more they can read the farther they will go in life. If not this program, do something to help a child learn the advantages that can come from being able to read.