The Pizza Hut BOOK IT! Program is kicking off its 33rd year by announcing it will expand the program from 620,000 classrooms to a million by 2020.
Launched in 1984, BOOK IT! is a reading program designed to encourage kindergarten through sixth grade students to find the joy in reading. To date, the iconic program has reached 1 in 5 Americans (65 million nationwide), and its time-tested approach to encouraging reading has made a tremendous impact.
A new survey1 found that former participants in the BOOK IT! Program are more likely to hold a degree from a higher education institution (61 percent), compared to the general population (49 percent). Additionally, it showed that BOOK IT! alumni are more likely to earn higher wages. Specifically, BOOK IT! alumni are 53 percent more likely to earn a household income of $100K or more, compared to the general population.
More importantly, the survey also revealed that adults who have gone through the program are more likely to establish regular reading routines with their family, as more than half (54 percent) of BOOK IT! alumni say they read with their children every day, compared to 32 percent of the general population.
“The mission of the BOOK IT! Program is to turn “have to read” into “want to read” in classrooms and living rooms across the country, and it is immensely gratifying to see BOOK IT! alumni instilling a love of reading within their own families,” says Natasha Collins, Manager Social Impact, Pizza Hut. “While we know there are many factors that contribute to personal success, reading and literacy are critical.”
BOOK IT! Expands Through Digital
To further its commitment to literacy, Pizza Hut is opening a new chapter in the BOOK IT! Program by developing innovative digital features that will be available to teachers and parents beginning in the 2018-19 school year.
The streamlined enrollment process and interactive teacher dashboard will provide teachers with up-to-date reading progress at their fingertips and an exciting in-classroom celebration experience. Additionally, it will be easier for parents to monitor their child’s reading progress and celebrate their success with digital award certificates delivered to their inbox. The digital rollout is a key enabler of BOOK IT!’s expansion to one million classrooms by 2020.
A Global Literacy Commitment
BOOK IT! is a key pillar of Pizza Hut: The Literacy Project – the brand’s global commitment to impacting 100 million lives by enabling access to books and educational resources, empowering teachers and inspiring readers. In the first year of the campaign, the company impacted 15.9 million people and distributed more than 275,000 books and educational resources—across markets including the U.S., Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica and South Africa.
To support these efforts, Pizza Hut also partnered with First Book, a recognized nonprofit, social sector leader, to engage consumers in a fundraising initiative to provide new books and educational resources to schools and programs that serve children in need.
“Advancing equal education begins through the simple act of putting the highest quality books and resources directly into the hands of children. Pizza Hut: The Literacy Project is championing this cause by providing access to books and other resources for communities that have the greatest need,” says Kyle Zimmer, co-founder, president and CEO, First Book. “This vital program is made even more powerful by ensuring that the books reflect the full diversity of our country. When children can see themselves in the stories they read, the impact is profound. Our own research tells us that children are inspired to read more.”
Addressing literacy-related issues—like access and empowerment—are part of a global focus led by the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development that includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), one of which is Quality Education.
Results achieved by Pizza Hut: The Literacy Project are in direct support of SDG 4—Quality Education. The goal of SDG 4 is to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. Specifically, Pizza Hut is delivering results, in part, to support Target 4.6, which is to ensure that all youth and a substantial proportion of adults, both men and women, achieve literacy and numeracy by 2030.