Ring Elementary School Teacher, Kim Austin, Chosen as National BOOK IT Narrator for Jim Kinney Custom Book

Kimberlee Austin, Surprise Narrator from The BOOK IT!® Team on Vimeo.

Ring Elementary School third grade teacher, Kim Austin, was chosen from hundreds of teachers nationally to narrate Pizza Hut’s BOOK IT! Program’s custom audio story, Surprise!, written by bestselling author Jeff Kinney. Mr. Kinney is the writer of the award-winning Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. The contest, held in August, was in honor of BOOK IT!’s 30th year birthday celebration. Teachers submitted an audio sample, reading from a portion of the story. They were judged on pitch, tone variation, pronunciation and rhythm. Votes were tallied and Ms. Austin’s audition came out on top.

“I have been using the BOOK IT! program in my classroom for years and find that it is a wonderful way to motivate students to read outside of the school day,” said Ms. Austin. “It allows the teacher to set the reading goals for the classroom or for individual students so that every child can find success. I was thrilled to find out that I was chosen to narrate Mr. Kinney’s book and to play a part in a program that I love to use in my classroom.”

The audio version of Surprise! with Ms. Austin’s narration can be found at: http://www.bookitprogram.com/surprise/default.asp. Listen to an interview with Ms. Austin at: http://www.bookitprogram.com/surprise/narrator.asp.

“We are so proud that Ms. Austin was chosen to narrate Mr. Kinney’s custom book from teachers across the country,” said JPS Superintendent Tim O. Mains. “As a school district, we can never stress enough the importance of reading both in, and outside, the classroom. Ms. Austin’s accomplishment reinforces that we need to instill a love a reading in every child in our district and we congratulate her on her honor.”

The Pizza Hut BOOK IT! Program, which originated in 1984 in Wichita, Kan., and has since been experienced by millions of kids across the country, will recognize its 30th Birthday beginning Oct. 1, by introducing a $30,000 College Plan, releasing its first reading App (available in the App Store) and dishing out a free Personal Pan Pizza to BOOK IT! alums who sign up at www.bookitprogram.com/alumnihttp://www.BookItProgram.com/Alumni.

BOOK IT! is the longest-running corporate-supported reading program in the country, and has engaged educators for more than three decades to aid in the effort of helping 60 million children read more than 54 billion minutes. The goal of the program since inception, which is available from kindergarten through sixth grade, has been to help kids develop a love of reading. Students who meet monthly reading goals are provided with a Reading Award Certificate that can be redeemed at participating Pizza Hut locations for a Passport to Reading Award and a one-topping Personal Pan Pizza.

“At its core, The BOOK IT! Program helps instill a love of reading among young people and that is why it has stood the test of time and is still loved by educators all over the country,” said David Gibbs, President, Pizza Hut U.S. “The success of BOOK IT! is worth celebrating, and we’re happy to do that with all the teachers, parents, kids and alums who have been part of this tremendous program.” 

In addition to the custom audio story and alumni program, Pizza Hut is featuring new and exciting elements for current BOOK IT! kids in the classroom to be part of the birthday celebration, including:

Passport to a $30k College Plan Sweepstakes
For its 30th year, BOOK IT! will reward a $30,000 College Plan to one student who reaches all of his or her reading goals for the 2014-15 school year. When a student redeems their monthly Reading Award Certificate, they will receive a free Personal Pan Pizza, a Passport to Reading Award and a sticker for each of the monthly visits. If a child earns all six stickers, they can submit their passport for a chance to win the $30K College Plan. More information is available at www.bookitprogram.com/fairytalegiveaway/. 

BOOK IT! Mobile App
Also this year, BOOK IT! is launching an App as a new and innovative way for kids and parents to track reading goals. The App features an interactive game where students choose their favorite dragon to be their reading companion throughout the duration of the program. Earning “coins” for every minute spent reading, accessories for the dragons such as fun glasses, watches and scarves can be purchased to help “deck out” their dragon. The App is connected to an online teacher dashboard that can be used to track reading goals and to recognize students for making progress. To learn more about the mobile app, visit www.bookitprogram.com/bookitapp.

National Young Readers Week
BOOK IT! will continue its tradition of challenging principals across the United States to become shining examples for literacy and the BOOK IT! Program by choosing one day to read all day long, from first bell to last during National Young Readers Week scheduled for Nov. 10-14, 2014. Over the past several years, principals have risen to the challenge, reading everywhere from hallways to rooftops for the chosen school day and BOOK IT! is excited to reach new heights with this challenge during the festivities this year. To encourage a local school to participate, visit www.bookitprogram.com/teachers/nyrw.

posted on 10/10/2014 - filed under: Academics, Elementary School, Spotlight, Staff