PLANO, Texas, Nov. 11, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- In recognition of National Young Readers Week Nov. 11-15, Pizza Hut® and its BOOK IT!® Program is challenging students, parents and principals across the country to "Read Your Heart Out" in an effort to raise awareness for the importance of literacy among young people.
As a result, some principals are taking that challenge to extreme heights. Literally. Principals across the country will "read from the rooftop" of their schools from the opening bell to the closing bell at least one day during the week to encourage their students to rally around reading.
To lend support, pro football star DeMarco Murray, whose DeMarco Murray Foundation was created to bring greater attention to the importance of children's literacy, will join administrators from McLaughlin/Strickland Elementary School in Farmers Branch, Tex., on the rooftop tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. Fans who want updates on Murray's foundation can visit DeMarcoMurray.org or follow on Facebook and Twitter.
"We're thrilled to have the support of DeMarco and thousands of principals, families and students across the country," said Shelley Morehead, Pizza Hut BOOK IT! Program Administrator. "A love of reading begins at a young age, and National Young Readers Week was designed by Pizza Hut and the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress as a reminder to everyone how important literacy is in the development of young children. It's grown into a date on the calendar that educators really look forward to. From reading on the roof to reading hearts out in the classroom, it's exciting to see the level of support this effort receives."
More than 1,100 principals have signed up across the country to take part in the challenge, which is more than double the number of principals who participated in 2012. That means that just during this week, principals across the country will read more than 8,800 hours which is equivalent to 366 days. In addition to the Principal Challenge, there is a new, free online story available every day during National Young Readers Week from One More Story. In 2012, more than 3.1 million students viewed these stories which equates to an additional 24 million minutes of reading that week.
Principals who are participating in this challenge qualify their school for a chance to win 101 copies of Jeff Kinney's "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck," the eighth in the series, for its school's library. Kinney has been a close partner with the BOOK IT! Program through the last two years and recently wrote an original online story, Splat, for use on National BOOK IT! Day in 2013.
The BOOK IT! reading incentive program, launched by Pizza Hut in 1985, provides the materials for teachers and librarians to 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 Pizza Hut BOOK IT! Program is used in more than 620,000 classrooms nationwide, and reaches more than 14 million students each year.
To learn more about the Pizza Hut BOOK IT! Program and National Young Readers Week, visit www.pizzahut.com/bookit.
About Pizza Hut 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.pizzahut.com/bookit or keep up with BOOK IT! via its social media outlets @BOOKITprogram and Facebook.com/BOOKIT1985.
About Pizza Hut
Pizza Hut, a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE: YUM), delivers more pizza, pasta and wings than any other restaurant in the world. In 2013, Pizza Hut was named the Harris Poll Equitrend® Pizza Brand of the Year and was the recipient of the Innovation and Leadership in Advertising Award from the American Advertising Federation, 10th District. The only pizza company to be named a top ten franchise in 2013 by Entrepreneur Magazine, Pizza Hut began 55 years ago in Wichita, Kansas, and today operates more than 10,000 restaurants in more than 90 countries. Pizza Hut also is the proprietor of the BOOK IT!® Program, which is a long-standing children's literacy program used in more than 620,000 classrooms nationwide. To order online from Pizza Hut, visit PizzaHut.com.
About "Diary of a Wimpy Kid"
More than 115 million Diary of a Wimpy Kid books are in print around the world. The books have been sold in more than 44 territories in 42 languages. Published by Amulet Books, an imprint of ABRAMS, Kinney's work has been widely praised for its ability to turn reluctant readers on to books. Book 8 in the series. Diary of a Wimpy Kid Hard Luck, will have the biggest print run of 2013 and was released on November 5, 2013. The series has been a fixture on the USA Today , Wall Street Journal, Publishers Weekly and New York Times bestseller lists. Jeff Kinney was named one of Time magazine's most influential people in the world. Three movies based on the book series have grossed more than $250 million internationally. The book series won Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards in 2010, 2011, and 2012 (and is nominated for one in 2013), and Jeff Kinney won a Children's Choice Book Award in 2012. Books in the series have won numerous awards voted on by students and teachers around the globe. The Wimpy Kid island (Wimpy Wonderland) on poptropica.com, a virtual world for kids, remains one of the most visited on the site.
About One More Story
One More Story is an online library of the best of classic and contemporary children's picture books. Each book is narrated by a different professional actor with original music created by Robby Merkin, former music director of Sesame Street. One More Story was named a top ten digital resource by School Library Journal and has won numerous awards. Visit www.onemorestory.com for more information.
SOURCE Pizza Hut