According to research, reading aloud to a child is the single most important factor in raising a reader. To help cultivate more young readers through reading aloud, Pizza Hut is introducing the R.E.D. Zone, an online portal for educators and parents to help children in preschool and pre-kindergarten Read Every Day (R.E.D.) and build reading-readiness skills.

To kick off the launch, the R.E.D. Zone is challenging teachers and parents across the nation to read aloud for 800 minutes—20 minutes each day for at least five days per week over an eight-week period—with the “Give Me Twenty Reading Challenge.”

“With the introduction of the R.E.D. Zone, we are excited to bring fun new resources that focus on early reading to teachers, parents, and young readers across the country,” says BOOK IT! program director Leslie Brunt. “The R.E.D. Zone program is designed to spark an interest in reading at a very young age and help children develop a life-long love for reading.”

The R.E.D. Zone is teaming up with Corduroy, one of the best-loved bears in children’s literature, as the official reading partner for the program. Young readers will have the chance to use fun Corduroy-themed materials in the “Give Me Twenty Reading Challenge.”

The “Give Me Twenty Reading Challenge” will run March 1 through April 25. Preschool and pre-kindergarten classrooms and families with preschool-aged children who have read at least 800 minutes during this time period are eligible to enter for a chance to win a R.E.D. Zone Reward. Prize packages will be awarded to 10 eligible classrooms and to 10 eligible individual families. The prize packages consist of: two books, Corduroy and A Pocket for Corduroy; a plush Corduroy bear; and a one-year subscription to One More Story, an online library of children’s literature.

Participants will be able to track their minutes by downloading cutouts featuring Corduroy from the R.E.D. Zone website. After each read-aloud session, participants can use the cutouts of Corduroy’s buttons and pockets to record the book they read or amount of time spent reading, which can then be placed on a wall as a visible representation of their accomplishments.

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