Hell’s sponsorship of the LIANZA Children’s Book Awards has sparked a reading revolution across the country, with experienced librarians lauding the campaign as the “best promotion for children’s literacy” they’ve ever seen. The launch of the ‘8-Trip Pizza Wheel’ – which rewards kids and teens with healthy ‘333 Kids Pizza’ for completing eight books – has been a revelation, with 100,000 discs ordered by schools and public libraries nationwide.
“We’ve been absolutely blown away by the response – every day we’re sending out thousands of more pizza discs and hearing terrific stories about kids discovering the love of reading,” says LIANZA relationship manager Wendy Walker. Chris Archbold - a Christchurch primary school librarian - believes the campaign is a “fantastic idea” and has the backing of the school’s 210 pupils. “Our kids are loving the Pizza Challenge we’re holding at school - more of them are reading than ever! I love the fact that they have to tell me a bit about the book, before I will sign their wheel – having to give proof is great and encourages them to actually finish a book!” says Chris. The programme has also struck a chord with teenagers from Cashmere High School. “The students have read so much during this promotion. Some of my books have never seen so much action!” says school Librarian Ms Hill. “I have non-readers and avid bookworms alike all getting reading mileage like never before. “The best part is the discussion that ensues about the books they’re reading, which then leads to peer review and recommendation - great stuff!” Invercargill’s James Hargest College was one of the first schools to get in on the action – its library manager Kirsty Adams says: “The kids are extremely excited about the promotion. This afternoon I had a Year 9 girl, who is a very reluctant reader, take out two books to read over the weekend.” Wellington’s Seatoun School librarian Kylie Parry says results in literacy levels are already shining through with her kids. “I've had parents tell me about their child's increased reading since starting the promo at the beginning of last week. It's a big success here and well worth the extra workload,” says Kylie. West Auckland’s Ranui Primary School has a special after-school group, with boys who need extra support with their reading. “Since the pizza discs came out, I have seen them in the library changing books at lunchtime. It’s so gratifying to see their enthusiasm for reading grow, with the encouragement of the free pizza!” says school librarian Leigh Allanson-Evans. Next month Hell is beginning its North Island Caravan Tour, where kids in towns without Hell stores have the opportunity to redeem their pizza wheels. “It’s a great chance to promote children’s literacy in smaller NZ towns, so we can’t wait to hit the road,” says Hell general manager Ben Cumming. On top of that, Hell and LIANZA are holding celebrity book-reading sessions in libraries throughout July. Stay tuned to Hell’s Facebook page for further details. For more information on the Library and Information Association New Zealand Aoteroa’s Children’s Book Awards, visit http://www.lianza.org.nz/awards/lianza-childrens-book-awards.