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New on Throwback Video: How Pizza Hut's BOOK IT! Program Taught Millions of Kids to Love Reading

Jake Rossen
Pizza Hut found a way to get kids reading with two words: free pizza.
Pizza Hut found a way to get kids reading with two words: free pizza. / Courtesy of Pizza Hut
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You may think Pizza Hut’s greatest achievement was the Personal Pan Pizza. And that’s totally valid. But the pie people also had a lot to do with creating a generation of book lovers. Launched in 1985, the Pizza Hut BOOK IT! school program encouraged kids to pick up books in exchange for cool buttons and free pizza—an idea stemming from Pizza Hut president Arthur Gunther’s own experiences with his son’s troubles reading.

What happened next involved the White House, child robots, and Batman. Check out the whole story on the newest episode of Throwback hosted by Mental Floss editor-in-chief Erin McCarthy. And don’t forget to bring your button.

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