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.