Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Reading V. Eating

A Fuse #8 Production: Reading V. Eating

Thanks to Fuse #8 for alerting me to this article on CNN about the Pizza Hut Book It Program.

My school currently does not use this program, but they have in the past. My children's school uses this program, and I have to admit to having at least 3 of the pizza certificates on my fridge right now. (I love pizza, but Pizza Hut is not my favorite!)

I never participated in the program as a kid, but I do have VERY fond memories of participating in the public library's summer reading program, which offered prizes for reading a certain number of books. While, I did love to read, and would have read books over the summer anyway, the prizes were kind of nice and made it something FUN to do. At the school I teach at we have sponsored reading programs from our local minor league hockey team, where the kids read a certain number of books over a period of time and get a free ticket to a game and from Six Flags Amusement parks , in which you read 6 hours and receive a free ticket to a Six Flags park. I think that most of the kids who have participated in these programs are either heavily encouraged by their parents/teachers or they just love to read and would have read anyways, the prize is a nice little bonus. Plus, isn't it fun when you get recognized for something like reading at school. We recognize all the kids who excel in sports and other pursuits, isn't it great when we get to reward kids for doing something like reading! When you walk into most elementary schools these days you will see some kind of reading incentive program, whether it be Pizza Hut or some other corporate company offering a prize for reading books or a school sponsored program where they offer prizes or ice cream parties or pizza parties to the "winners". I hate to say this, but kids have SO many choices on recreational activities, from being over scheduled with soccer and piano and dance classes to playing video games and computer games and checking their e-mail that sometimes I think the kids NEED a reason to do something like reading and if it takes a pizza, then, well I am all for it. (note: I am making these statements not only as a media specialist, but also as a mom who has a 5th grader who HATES to read, although even the promise of pizza is niot an incentive to him, sigh.)

I think that as long as a school/teacher does not make this a MANDATORY program that the student has to participate in, then it can be a good thing. If a parent has an objection to taking their child to Pizza Hut, then don't have the child participate, simple as that. Do I think that a child is going to be encouraged to eat unhealthy all because of ONE personal pan pizza that was given to them as a prize - NO. I do have to wonder though, what will come under fire next, I am waiting for some "well meaning" parent to want to outlaw books in schools because of the threat of paper cuts - hey it could happen!

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