Monday, November 09, 2009

Read A Book

Last week when I was thinking about an editorial for today's edition of Small Town Newspaper, I discovered that today is National Young Readers Day. It was established by the Library of Congress in order to encourage kids to read willingly and to develop a love for reading that will last their lifetime. It's a worthy goal. The thing is, in order to fund events and materials and to market the thing, they needed a corporate sponsor, and they chose Pizza Hut.

I am not a fan of Pizza Hut. Ranked among the pizza chains, I think they are mediocre, and the atmosphere of their restaurants makes me sad. But my main issue is not that it was Pizza Hut that sponsors something like a reading program with the Library of Congress. I find it appalling that we would allow any junk-food companies to promote their junk to a captive audience—this reading program is in public schools, and food from Pizza Hut is a reward for kids who read.

I should have written my editorial about this issue, but most of our local elementary schools have opted out of the program this year. They still sell Pepsi in the vending machines under an exclusive contract, I understand, but they won't be hosting this particular reading program. It's a shame we can't just fund the Library of Congress enough that they can have programs without attaching a corporation to it.

Instead of this subject, I chose to focus on the benefits of reading and the Library of Congress' new young reader's section. So, here it is.


kyle@sift said...

Francesca gets the little coupons from Pizza Hut from her school but when she brings them home she says, "Mom, I think you'd better make pizza soon. I got another coupon." She is so detached from junk food she'd rather have my pizza.
Francesca's school is also doing a reading challenge this year. They want the kids to read a combined total of 1,000,000 minutes by May. After the first three weeks they are at 110,000 minutes.
Any incentives to get kids to read is great but I agree. Corporate sponsorship is just sad. Perhaps explaining to our kids the joy of reading is all it takes. We are a family of readers so it comes naturally around here.

Shan said...

Oooh. I didn't know this. I think we'll devote this after school day to reading and make it a "thing". Thanks for the idea. That is one thing I never mind encouraging. :)