Panning pizza

Pizza Hut’s freebies for readers have come under attack.

You’ve read the book, now eat the pizza.

Since 1985, that’s been the gist of Pizza Hut’s Book It, an incentive program used by 50,000 schools nationwide to reward young readers with free pizzas. The program is now under attack by child-development experts who say it promotes bad eating habits and turns teachers into corporate promoters.

Book It, which reaches about 22 million children a year, “epitomizes everything that’s wrong with corporate-sponsored programs in school,” said Susan Linn, a Harvard psychologist and co-founder of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood.

“In the name of education, it promotes junk food consumption to a captive audience … and undermines parents by positioning family visits to Pizza Hut as an integral component of raising literate children,” Linn said.

Since when is pizza junk food? I’ve always thought of it as food. And are they really giving out enough coupons to fatten the literate and destroy their parents’ authority?

Via The Ed Wonks.

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  1. Walter E. Wallis says:

    The whole “Fast Food” bruhaha is elitist snobbery. It is quite possible to get a balanced meal at the Arches or a total negatory meal at a vegie shop. I see in this complaint some of the acceptance of Michael Moore and Al Gore on campus but rejection of recruiters.

  2. I consider pizza to be one of the 5 major food groups.

    We love Book-It. It was a huge incentive for my kids to meet their reading goals in elementary school. Our Pizza Hut has a pretty good salad bar, too.

    Of all the things wrong with public school… I don’t think this is one of them.

  3. wayne martin says:

    > He described Book It as a “dreadful program”
    > that puts pressure on parents to celebrate with
    > their reward-winning children at Pizza Huts.

    Gawd .. what drivel .. this group seems to have no belief in the capability of parents to manage their families. It’s a shame that the Corporate Media gives ink and air-time to these “nattering nabobs of negativity”.

    > “The more kids see books as a way to get pizza or
    > some other prize, the less interest they’ll have in
    > reading itself,” Kohn, a former teacher, said in a
    > telephone interview. “They tend to choose easier
    > books to get through faster.”

    This teacher should have been asked what the NAEP scores for the US say about the Government schools ability to teach reading?

  4. Hey, pizza works for homeschoolers, too. We’ve enrolled for the last two or three years, and the Woodyettes love the little extra bonus at the end of the session. As much as they like pizza, though, what they really love is looking at the reading lists Mrs. Woody (their devoted teacher) keeps. It grows nearly as fast (if not faster) than they do.

    Truth to tell, ol’ Woody ought to read more. The girls are stomping all over me. And you can be certain they rub my nose in those reading lists every chance they get.

    Sweetly, of course. 😉

  5. Jennifer says:

    Im my kids’ school, if you read the minimum required you get one personal pan pizza a month. You do not receive more pizzas for more reading, you get one per month. One personal pan pizza a month is not going to make kids obese. Reading for the sake of reading is not a motivation for all kids like it was for me when I was growing up. Also, just because you have the pizza certificate doesn’t mean you have to use it.

  6. Pizza is not unhealthy food. It is a somewhat high calorie food, but physically active kids will use up the calories and more. It’s not a complete diet by any means, but what snack foods combine meat, diary, and grain products? Add some fresh fruits and vegetables and you’ve got a complete, healthy meal. (Olives and pineapple slices on the pizza don’t qualify!)

  7. Calling pizza junk food?

    Don’t go to Bensonhurst or Mulberry Street or South Boston and say that!

    They better hope the anti-defamation league doesn’t hear about it…

    Pizza Hut pizza, on the other hand, IS junk — at least by my New York Pizza-eating standards….

    By the way, Wayne Martin, were those the words of our former Vice President from Maryland?

    Nice usage….

  8. Sigivald says:

    Never, ever trust a Founder of a Campaign on any subject even vaguely related in any way to the business of said Campaign.

  9. Bill Leonard says:

    In culinary terms, a pizza is a type of casserole. I wonder how many of these anti-Book It zealots have decided to forego quiche, yet another form of casserole.

    When confronted by mendacious self-appointed experts such as these, I think yet again that Hemingway (or whomever it was) was right when he opined that most of the world’s problems could be solved by a three-day open season on people.

  10. and undermines parents by positioning family visits to Pizza Hut as an integral component of raising literate children

    My kids incredibly are able to read without Pizza Hut being an integral or even a non integral component.

    Linn, a Harvard psychologist and co-founder of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood.

    another reason to be embarrassed to live in MA

  11. Carolyn says:

    Get your fat logo branding off my children. School is for education, not for selling slices of product placement to captive young eyeballs.

    This is about Channel One, about forcing taxpayers to pay so their kids can be forced to watch, or listen to, commercials when they are supposed to be at school. Learning.

    Thanks. You can now return to your quiche-casserole.

  12. The Pizza Hut program provides a once-a-month personal pan pizza treat for the kids that complete the minimum number of books/minutes read for the month. The obesity problem doesn’t rest with the Pizza Hut Book it program, it’s with the crap that parents choose to feed their kids. This is another attempt to deflect parental responsibilty away from the parent.

  13. matthewktabor says:

    I didn’t know Pizza Hut was doing this… is it possible to enroll if you’re in your twenties?

  14. wayne martin says:

    > were those the words of our former
    > Vice President from Maryland?

    Yes ..