Monday, April 13, 2009

Join John Lithgow and BOOK IT! in America's Biggest Bedtime Story

Join John Lithgow and BOOK IT! in America's Biggest Bedtime Story

DALLAS, April 13, 2009 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Mom, is it bedtime yet? This is not a question that is often heard by parents, but on Tuesday, April 14, kids will have something to look forward to at bedtime -- America's Biggest Bedtime Story. The online special event hosted by Pizza Hut's BOOK IT!(R) Program, the nation's largest reading incentive program, will feature children's author and actor John Lithgow reading a bedtime story to families across the country.

Readers can go to www.bookitprogram.com on April 14 to participate in what aims to be the largest bedtime story gathering in history. Families will be able to read along with Lithgow as he shares his new book, I Got Two Dogs, the story of two very loveable dogs named Fanny and Blue.

Record-breaking Challenge

The BOOK IT! Program premiered America's Biggest Bedtime Story in 2007 when more than 60,000 families logged on to watch Lithgow read his book, The Remarkable Farkle McBride. During this year's event, the BOOK IT! Program is challenging families to break the 2007 record for a good cause. If more families participate in 2009, the BOOK IT! Program will donate $10,000 to First Book, a non-profit organization that provides new books to children in need, to make sure no child grows up without a great bedtime story.

"America's Biggest Bedtime Story brings fun and excitement to reading at home," said Leslie Brunt, program director of the BOOK IT! Program. "The goal of America's Biggest Bedtime Story is to encourage more families to start a tradition of reading together for at least 20 minutes every night."

America's Biggest Bedtime Story was created 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)

Importance of Reading to Kids

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 recent poll of teachers who participate in the BOOK IT! Program found that 96 percent of teachers agree 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 "GPAs" 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, a certificate of participation in the BOOK IT!(R) Program and a bedtime contract to encourage nightly reading as a family.

About John Lithgow

John Lithgow, two-time Emmy and Tony Award winner, and two-time Academy Award nominee, was the star of the long-running hit comedy series "3rd Rock from the Sun" for NBC-TV. His 1982 Academy Award-nominated portrayal in "The World According to Garp" brought Lithgow national attention. He received his second Academy Award nomination the following year for his role as Debra Winger's lover in "Terms of Endearment." Additional starring film credits include his panic-stricken airline passenger in "Twilight Zone: The Movie," "Memphis Belle," "Footloose," "Buckaroo Banzai," "All That Jazz," Brian DePalma's "Blow Out" and "Raising Cain," and "Harry and the Hendersons." Addressing a completely new audience in "John Lithgow's Kid-Size Concert," a music video of children's classics and original tunes, Lithgow also showcases his talents as an actor, singer, songwriter, and co-producer. Born in Rochester, NY, John Lithgow lives in Los Angeles, CA.

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 .

About First Book

First Book provides new books to children in need, addressing one of the most important factors affecting literacy - access to books. An innovative leader in social enterprise, First Book has distributed more than 60 million free and low cost books in thousands of communities. First Book now has offices in the U.S. and Canada. For more information about the nonprofit First Book please visit www.firstbook.org .

About Pizza Hut

Pizza Hut, an American icon, delivers more pizza, pasta and wings than any other restaurant. A shining example of success in American entrepreneurism, the company began 50 years ago in Wichita, Kansas and today operates more than 10,000 restaurants in hundreds of countries. In 2008 Pizza Hut was ranked #1 in customer satisfaction among national pizza chains by the American Customer Satisfaction Index. Pizza Hut, Inc. is a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc. (YUM, Trade ). To check out what's new at "The Hut" visit www.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.

        Media Contact:
Sarah Rosanova
Zeno for Pizza Hut
312-396-9711
Sarah.Rosanova@zenogroup.com


SOURCE Pizza Hut

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