When I was in elementary school, many an hour was spent sitting reading books within eyeshot of my parents so that they could vouch for my time spent on Book It! sheets. The end goal of course, was to earn a trip to a sit-down Pizza Hut for a free pizza at the height of the chain's popularity (you know, about the same time that they were giving away awesome X-Men comics, Land Before Time puppets, and selling Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles rock concert VHS tapes).
For those not familiar, Book It! was a program that was created by Pizza Hut that encouraged young minds to sit and read offering them a free personal pan pizza in return for hitting a certain page count. Parents would sign the sheets as witness to the time spent reading and the sheets would be turned in at your elementary school to your teacher in exchange for the coupon that promised you deliciousness.
Sadly, like many things from our youth the program has fizzled and disappeared along with many of the sit-down full service Pizza Huts. In fact, many are unfamiliar with the program to the point where if you mention Book It! in conversation, the pop-culture reference can be lost on those around you.
Pizza Hut is looking to change that by revealing an all-new Book It! Alumni Program that promises those children of the 80s to tell their stories and memories of the program and where they currently reside in life in exchange once again for a free pizza. Unfortunately, the program is also a reminder of how much things have changed as the coupon is for a carry-out pizza only: a testament to the fact that only a handful, if any, full service sit-down Pizza Huts are in existence. In 2014, people would rather grab their Pepperoni Stuffed Crust to go so they can get home and sit in front of a screen rather than sit in the red brick buildings with the oddly shaped roof while they tear through their new Chris Claremont X-Men comic with extremely greasy hands.
Along with the Alumni program, Book It! is returning with a new mobile app designed to encourage reading as well as an offering of a college scholarship in the Book It! program's name, a worthy substitute for free pizzas.