DALLAS, Jan. 19, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Grab your comfiest blanket and favorite PJs and find a good spot in front of the computer. The nation's largest annual bedtime story event, America's Biggest Bedtime Story, is back for its fourth year and will feature one of the world's most recognizable superstars. BOOK IT!®, the reading incentive program sponsored by Pizza Hut®, is teaming up with Justin Bieber, the Grammy Nominated R&B/Pop singing sensation, as this year's celebrity reader to motivate children to read more and help them develop a lifelong love of reading. Children, parents and teachers alike are encouraged to join the online webcast of Justin's reading at http://www.bookitprogram.com/on Feb. 15 starting at 8 a.m. CST.
Justin will host this year's event by reading his favorite childhood book, Dr. Seuss's classic, The Cat in the Hat. Last year, approximately 215,000 people joined the webcast, setting a new record for the event. Pizza Hut is challenging classrooms and families across America to join the 2011 event and if total attendance surpasses last year's attendance record, then BOOK IT! will donate $25,000 to the Pencils of Promise charity. Supported by Justin, Pencils of Promise is a global movement that partners with local communities to build schools in the developing world.
"The Bieber fever is in full effect with the BOOK IT! program this year," said Leslie Brunt, director of the BOOK IT! program. "The combination of Justin Bieber with a Seuss classic is sure to make this our largest and most successful event yet!"
"We're excited to be a part of the BOOK IT! program and collaborate with an inspiring teen like Justin Bieber to build another new school that enables education for those who need it most," said Adam Braun, Founder of Pencils of Promise.
How to Participate
Readers can join in by logging on to http://www.bookitprogram.com on February 15 starting at 8 a.m. CST. The webcast will be available online until 11:59 p.m. CST on February 18. The read-along will feature Bieber reading Cat in the Hat along with activities, a chance to win prizes and tips on how to raise a reader.
About America's Biggest Bedtime Story
America's Biggest Bedtime Story was created in 2007 by the BOOK IT! Program in response to research that revealed that nearly half of all American parents (48 percent of those responding to a BOOK IT! Program survey) do not have a nightly tradition of reading to their kids before bed.(1)
There is a need to read at home. According to a 2003 study by Cathy Collins Block, professor at Texas Christian University School of Education, student achievement is significantly bolstered by just 20 extra minutes of reading each day (Hunter, 2004, p. 39).(2) A 2008 poll of teachers who participated in the BOOK IT! Program found that 96 percent of teachers agreed that parents aren't spending enough time reading to their kids at home.(3) In fact, according to this survey, when it comes to reading at home, nearly 42 percent of the responding teachers said that they would give parents a grade of D or F.
Parents looking to improve their "grades" can try reading the book that teachers surveyed recommended most for bedtime reading, Good Night Moon by Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd. Parents can also find helpful tools on www.bookitprogram.com, including tips on encouraging literacy at home and a bedtime story contract to encourage nightly reading as a family.
About Pencils of Promise
Pencils of Promise is a passionate community of individuals collectively creating a non-profit that empowers each person, regardless of status or position, to make a positive impact on the world. Together, we build sustainable schools, partnerships and solutions to enable basic education for underserved children in the developing world. For more information visit PencilsofPromise.org.
About Dr. Seuss Enterprise, L.P.
Dr. Seuss Enterprises was founded in 1993 following the death of Theodor S. Geisel, Dr. Seuss, to conserve and nurture the works of Dr. Seuss by protecting the integrity of the Dr. Seuss books while expanding beyond books into licensed merchandise. The licensing effort is a strategic part of the overall effort to strengthen and protect the relationship consumers have with Dr. Seuss characters. Theodor Geisel said he never wanted to license his characters to anyone who would "round out the edges." That is one of the guiding philosophies of Dr. Seuss Enterprises.
About BOOK IT!
In 1985, Pizza Hut established the BOOK IT! National Reading Incentive Program to motivate children to read more and help them develop a lifelong love of reading. BOOK IT! is a six-month program for students in kindergarten through sixth grade. For more information, visit www.bookitprogram.com or keep up with BOOK IT! via its social media outlets @BOOKIT85 or Facebook.com/BOOKIT1985.
About Pizza Hut
Pizza Hut, America's Favorite Pizza, delivers more pizza, pasta and wings than any other restaurant. The only pizza company to be named a top ten franchise in 2009 by Entrepreneur Magazine, Pizza Hut began 50 years ago in Wichita, Kansas, and today operates nearly 10,000 restaurants in more than 90 countries. Pizza Hut, Inc. is a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE: YUM). To check out what's new at Pizza Hut visit PizzaHut.com, or keep up with the brand via its social media channels at social.PizzaHut.com.
1) The BOOK IT! Program worked with Synovate to conduct a 2007 online survey of 444 American parents 18 and older with children, 9 years old or younger.
2) Hunter, Phyllis (2004, January/February). Classroom Libraries Level the Playing Field. Scholastic Instructor Magazine, p. 39.
3) The BOOK IT! Program conducted a 2009 online survey of 469 teachers who participate in the BOOK IT! Program.
SOURCE Pizza Hut