Book It — Books, and Pizza

book-it-pizza-hut-pin

With Book It! commemorating its 30th anniversary by way of a Book It! Alumni program aimed at nostalgic thirty-somethings, Mental Floss has a great rundown on what it fairly accurately calls “a clever way to get kids and parents into Pizza Hut franchises — with some reading thrown in” (via mental_floss, “Pizza for Reading: Pizza Hut’s “Book It!”). I love books, and I love pizza — and I can’t help but wonder how much the extrinsically motivating pizza rewards encouraged reading habits for elementary school students.

More interesting still is the controversy and discussion on reading motivation for students, along with the complicated tension between education and corporate sponsored programs —

“The Book It! program was the subject of a 1999 study and scholarly paper. Titled “Effects of extrinsic reinforcement for reading during childhood on reported reading habits of college students” (Psychological Record, 1999, by Flora, S. R., & Flora, D. B.; full text), the paper characterized pizza as an “extrinsic reward” for reading, and analyzed survey data collected from college students, trying to determine how the pizza rewards (and other extrinsic rewards like cash payments) affected students’ reading behavior”

Accurate numbers seem to be difficult to come by — but it’s unquestionable that the Book It! program has reached a very large number of students over three decades, with estimates claiming a total of 54 billion minutes of reading time (!), and one in five (!!) Americans having participated in the Book It! program since 1984 (via Mashable, “Were you a Pizza Hut BOOK-IT! Kid?”).

I wish grownups could get pizza for reading books. Actually, Book It! for grownups sounds like a great idea.

Archives

Surprise me

About

I run the ThinkLab at the University of Cambridge, and research digital habits, productivity, and wellbeing.

tyler shores cambridge

What I’m Reading Now:

Supercommunicators by Charles Duhigg

Related Articles

Have questions or ideas or requests for working together?

Get in touch