Students in several local elementary schools are taking part in Pizza Hut's 28th annual BOOK IT! reading program for the 2012-13 school year. Some schools participating are Calvert, Krout, Noble and Washington elementary schools.
The BOOK IT! program runs every year from October through March. The individual teachers set reading goals for each child with the help of a tracking chart that measures the number of books, pages or minuets.
All materials are provided by BOOK IT! and are free.
Photo by Nicole Walby, A-T Staff Writer
Students from Lindsay Newlove’s second-grade class at Krout Elementary spend time reading.
Nikki Reineke teaches second grade at Calvert Elementary.
"This program motivates kids and gives students the added value of reading with Pizza Hut coupons," Reineke said.
Each night, the students have to read for about 15-20 minuets and, at the end of each month, children who reach their monthly goal will receive a Reading Award Certificate they can take to a Pizza Hut and get a free one-topping personal pan pizza.
"The kids are able to focus on long-term reading goals and get the added incentive of getting a pizza at the same time," Reineke said.
"It is a good learning process for them," she said.
Mary Leibengood, fourth-grade teacher at Calvert, said, "Kids are reading that wouldn't have before. They are motivated with the incentive that they are getting something free."
"Read Your Heart Out" is this year's theme. BOOK IT! is a program that is simple for the teacher to use, flexible because goals match reading ability, and fun because achieving a goal is a great reason to celebrate. BOOK IT! was created in 1985 and reaches more than 14 million students in 38,000 elementary classrooms annually.
"Kids enjoy the reward and the incentive to read and then get a free pizza." Nate Haferd, general manager for Pizza Hut of Tiffin.
"The program is very beneficial to Pizza Hut and the community. Families come in at the end of every month and kids are able to receive other prizes along with their pizza," he said.
Charise Hall teaches fifth grade at Noble. Her students read five books a month, and after they have finished the book they can choose an activity related to their book to do from a list provided.
Activities include making a sculpture, writing a comic strip, making a 3D-diorama, creating a picture book or writing a summary.
"This program is very flexible. Children get their freedom to choose their own book, and if they are not enjoying it then they picked the wrong book," Hall said.
Pizza Hut deserves credit for also being a strong force in the community, Hall said.
"The kids love it and for them to promote learning is an awesome thing," she said.
Kids are able to have fun and find something they like to do and enjoy.
"It is more fun for them than the common text book and work sheet. The kids get to read for pleasure and are learning in the process," Hall said.
This program is good for all ages.
Judy Downie, a first-grade teacher at Washington Elementary, said the program enhances their reading program with students reading 15 extra assignments a month.
"Students are motivated to do their homework." Downie said. "I have seen a higher percentage on homework return with this program. ... Students also get to spend some personal time reading with their parents every night."
According to a release, The BOOK IT! Program is part of the "Share a Slice of Hope" movement at Pizza Hut. Share a Slice of Hope encourages consumers and Pizza Hut employees nationwide to help others through the company's three philanthropic pillars: children's literacy, world hunger relief and community involvement.
"This program is great for the community and the kids enjoy reading," said Lindsay Newlove, second-grade teacher at Krout Elementary.
She has been participating in the program for about 12 years and loves to see kids want to read.
"Some kids do not like reading at home, and this program is a way to kickstart and motivate them to read," she said.