Kids Can Read For A Free Personal Pizza This Summer — Just Like You Used To
Summer days, chapter books, and Pizza Hut personal pan pizzas. Cue the nostalgia.
Summers in the ‘90s were glorious. With a popsicle in hand, I remember laying out on a trampoline in my backyard reading every page of every book in The Babysitter’s Club series to complete enough books to earn a free personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut's Book It! program. Did you know that Book It! is still very much a thing? Now, you can re-live all the nostalgia of your own childhood summer reading days with your own kids.
Since 1984, The Pizza Hut Book It! program has helped kids grow in their reading skills during the summer months when the dreaded “summer slide” can take hold. Their website states that part of their mission is to “inspire a lifelong love of reading in students.” Judging from my own experience and that of pretty much every other kid who participated during the Book It! heyday back in the mid-90s, the program does just that.
Kids ages 4 through 12 as of Sept. 1, 2021 are eligible to enroll in the program. (But I promise I won’t tell anyone if you want to sign up your 2-year-old and read the books yourself.) Both homeschooled students and those enrolled in a full-time school program are eligible.
During my own childhood, I remember writing down book titles on a paper form to turn in to Pizza Hut in exchange for a coupon for a personal pan pizza. There were also other fun rewards for certain achievements like a big, purple button with the Book It! logo on it. (Do my kids get a cool button to pin on their backpack? I hope so.) For 2021, though, Book It! has gone digital.
After signing up on the Book It! online portal, parents decide how their child’s reading is tracked — per pages read, minutes read, or number of books read. Starting June 1, parents can track their student’s progress through an online dashboard on the Book It! website. When your child meets their monthly goal, they’re rewarded with a digital certificate sent via email that’s redeemable for a free one-topping personal pan pizza at Pizza Hut.
In addition to tracking your child’s progress online, the Book It! website also offers a plethora of resources for parents like printable reading trackers, activities, coloring pages, and more to keep kids engaged throughout the summer months.
If your kids love participating in Book It! over the summer, perhaps you can convince their teacher to use their in-class incentive program for educators during the school year. The structure and rewards are similar to the summer program, but runs from October to March, allowing teachers to set monthly classroom reading goals for their students.
My parents never had a problem encouraging me to finish my summer reading lists because Pizza Hut had their back. Between the promise of a personal pan pizza from ‘The Hut’ and the slew of rewards from our local library, I had my nose in a book every day all summer long throughout elementary school. I memorized every word to The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales and refused to put down anything written by Judy Blume until I had devoured the entire paperback.
I can’t wait to sign my own kids up for this incredible program that I loved so much as a kid. I know they’ll want to read Dog Man and Diary of a Wimpy Kid instead of my beloved faves, but at least they’ll be reading and they’ll get a free pizza, too. Dinner taken care of, plus some education? The best.