DALLAS, Feb. 24, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Led by an outbreak of "Bieber Fever," more than 500,000 people participated in last week's America's Biggest Bedtime Story, an annual event created by the Pizza Hut® BOOK IT!® Program. Justin Bieber, the Grammy Nominated R&B/Pop singing sensation, hosted the webcast reading his favorite childhood book, "The Cat in The Hat." After more than doubling the viewership of the 2010 webcast, this year's participation activated a $25,000 donation from Pizza Hut to Pencils of Promise, an organization that works to enable basic education for underserved children in the developing world.
"This year's America's Biggest Bedtime Story event was our most successful event to date," said Chris Fuller, Director of PR at Pizza Hut. "In partnership with one of today's hottest pop stars, we were able to bring the joy of reading into homes and classrooms across the country and make a contribution to a wonderful organization. Pizza lovers and readers across America definitely have Bieber Fever!"
As a fun addition to this year's event and to celebrate the release of Justin's new movie, fans were able to download a pair of his signature purple 3-D sunglasses to their Facebook profile to trigger an additional charity donation. Downloads of the "Read in Style with Bieber" application brought the total charity donation from Pizza Hut to Pencils of Promise to $35,000.
Due to popular demand, the webcast hosted by the teen celeb was extended to ensure that all "Beliebers" could join Justin in reading the Dr. Seuss classic and jazz up their Facebook profile Bieber Fever style.
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!® PROGRAM
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.
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