Pizza Hut U.S. has been fostering a love of reading for more than 30 years through the BOOK IT! program. Since 1984, one in five Americans has participated in the free literacy program for schools. BOOK IT!, which runs from October through March of each school year, allows teachers to set monthly reading goals for their students. Students who meet their monthly goal are rewarded with a certificate for a free, one-topping Personal Pan Pizza and reading journal from Pizza Hut.
The basics of the program have stayed consistent for more than a generation, but BOOK IT! is getting an upgrade with innovative digital features that will be available to teachers and parents beginning in the 2018 – 2019 school year. A streamlined enrollment process and interactive dashboard will make it easier for teachers and parents to monitor children’s reading progress and celebrate their success with digital award certificates.
BOOK IT! reached 14 million kids in 620,000 classrooms in 2017, with plans to expand to 1 million classrooms by 2020. It’s a program with proven results: According to a recent study, former BOOK IT! participants are more likely to hold advanced degrees and earn higher wages than the general population. Most importantly, adults who went through the program as children are more likely to establish regular reading routines with their own kids.
While BOOK IT! has had widespread success, there are more opportunities to promote literacy in the U.S. and around the world. In 2016, Pizza Hut announced a commitment to expand on BOOK IT! with a new social impact campaign known as Pizza Hut: The Literacy Project. Through this effort, Pizza Hut has partnered with First Book to empower teachers with greater resources.
Pizza Hut restaurants now fundraise to support this effort. Money raised provides teachers with credits to the First Book Marketplace, which they can use to purchase books and other educational resources at deeply discounted rates. In the first year of the campaign, The Literacy Project reached 15.9 million people and distributed more than 275,000 books and educational resources in the U.S., Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica and South Africa. Additional countries and locations will be added throughout the campaign, with the goal of reaching 100 million people over 10 years.