Pizza Hut® BOOK IT!® Reading Program Kicks Off 28th Year With New Partnership And Challenge To "Read Your Heart Out"™ Pizza Hut® reading incentive program syncs up with "Diary of a Wimpy Kid," reaching 14 million young readers in 680,000 classrooms for 2012-2013 school year

DALLAS, Oct. 3, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- BOOK IT!, the national reading incentive program created by Pizza Hut, is beginning its 28th year with enrollment in 680,000 classrooms across the country. More than 14 million students in 38,000 schools are involved in the BOOK IT! reading program. 

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In May, BOOK IT! announced it has joined with author Jeff Kinney and his book series "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" for the 2012-2013 school year. "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" is integrated into all BOOK IT! classroom materials, teacher printables and web creative at bookitprogram.com.

"Year after year, the Pizza Hut BOOK IT! Program continues to reach new kids with a positive message about how rewarding reading can be," said Shelley Morehead, BOOK IT! Program administrator. "Through our 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid' partnership and our 28 years of advancing literacy, we're fortunate to have such tremendous support from schools around the country who want to make it great."

With this new integration comes a fresh BOOK IT! tagline: "Read Your Heart Out," motivating children to make reading an important part of everyday life. The "Read Your Heart Out" Quest involves 5 steps for young readers: rally readers, track reading minutes, take on the Principal's Challenge, read to help kids who are hungry and share your love of reading. Resources are available for each step of the Quest at http://www.bookitprogram.com/readyourheartout/

"Our team developed the 'Read Your Heart Out' Quest in an effort to make reading that much more fun for students, teachers and parents," said Morehead. "BOOK IT! students can read for a cause, principals can show their school the importance of literacy with wacky reading stunts and teachers can make reading a learning adventure in their classrooms."

BOOK IT! is drawing on its partnership with the "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" series to further encourage the "Read Your Heart Out" theme. One of the most successful children's book series ever published, "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" books have been on multiple national bestsellers lists since publication of the original volume in 2007. There are more than 75 million copies in print in over 40 countries around the world.

"The BOOK IT! Program and 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid' are a perfect match," added Jeff Kinney, "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" author. "Both BOOK IT! and 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid' are passionate about bringing reading to life in a fun and relevant way."

The BOOK IT! reading incentive program, launched by Pizza Hut in 1985, reaches more than 680,000 classrooms and 14 million children annually. Teachers and librarians set monthly goals and present students with a reading award certificate when goals are met. Students take the certificates to a Pizza Hut restaurant, where they are congratulated by a team member and given a free, one-topping Personal Pan Pizza®. There is no purchase necessary and the pizza can be taken to go.

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.

About "Diary of a Wimpy Kid"

Published by Amulet Books, an imprint of ABRAMS, "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" books have sold more than 75 million copies in 41 countries in 39 languages around the world. Kinney was named to Time magazine's 100 most influential people list and his work has been widely praised for its ability to turn reluctant readers onto books. Kinney won three Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards for "Best Book" in 2010, 2011 and 2012. The series is a fixture on the USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, Publishers Weekly and The New York Times bestseller lists. Books in the series have won numerous awards voted on by students and teachers in schools around the globe. The seventh book is due out on Nov. 13, 2012. The third film installment, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days, released in theaters on August 3, 2012. The Wimpy Kid giant helium balloon will make its third appearance in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City on Nov. 22, 2012.

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 @BOOKITprogram 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 2012 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.

Media Contacts

Doug Terfehr

Kristin Wertz

314.550.0934

972.338.7719

doug.terfehr@yum.com

kristin.wertz@yum.com

SOURCE BOOK IT!



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