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National Young Readers Week – November 11-15, 2024

Youngsters need to read, and Young Readers Week, celebrated in the second week of November every year, from November 15 to 19 this year, is the perfect opportunity to introduce your young ones to the incredible world of books. Did you know that children learn between 4,000 to 12,000 words per year by simply reading, no matter what book it is? Young Readers Week raises awareness about the importance of reading and it is a great time to help your kids develop a fiery passion for reading. Celebrate Young Readers Week by teaching your children all about the joys of books and literacy. We promise, it is a lesson that will follow and help them throughout their lives.

History of National Young Readers Week

The history of National Young Readers’ Week began with Pizza Hut’s – yes that Pizza Hut – ‘BOOK IT!’ program, which you might remember if you went to a school in the United States within the last decade.

In 1984, Pizza Hut’s office in Wichita, Kansas created the infamous ‘BOOK IT!’ program, after U.S. President Ronald Reagan encouraged American businesses to get more involved in education. The then-president of Pizza Hut, Arthur Gunther, was inspired by his son, Michael, who had eye problems that made reading difficult for him as a young child. Arthur met with educators in Kansas and came up with the program that had kids devouring books so they could eat pizza.

BOOK IT! is the largest and longest-running corporate-supported reading program. When children meet a monthly reading goal that begins from October to March, they get a Reading Award Certificate and a free one-topping Personal Pan Pizza.

The program was tested in Kansas schools before being rolled out nationwide in 1985. Over the years, over 14 million students across 620,000 classrooms have participated in the program. The program got such popularity that it got recognition from President Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton.

In 1989, Pizza Hut extended ‘BOOK IT!’ by organizing a week-long reading event that brought local figures like school principals into schools to demonstrate the importance of reading to the kids. This week was called National Young Readers Week. 

The event was created alongside the Library of Congress’s Center for the Book. Pizza Hut issued a challenge to school principals to “become shining examples for literacy by choosing one day to read their hearts out all day long, from first bell to the last during National Young Readers Week.”

National Young Readers Week timeline

The ‘BOOK IT!’ Program is Created

In 1985, Pizza Hut rolls out its ‘BOOK IT!’ program after testing it in Kansas schools.

June 2, 1987
President Ronald Reagan Endorses the Program

He sends a letter to the organizers commending them for their work since reading is vital.

October 3, 1988
Bill Clinton Declares National BOOK IT! Day

Arkansas Governor, Bill Clinton, proclaims the day as ‘BOOK IT! Day’ in Arkansas.

The First National Young Readers Week

Pizza Hut extends its BOOK IT! program by creating National Young Readers Week.

National Young Readers Week FAQs

When is American Education Week?


American Education Week is celebrated the week before the week of Thanksgiving. There are festivities to honor all the people that make the American education sector a success, from school principals to teachers, bus drivers, and cafeteria workers. The week involves events such as Family Day, Educator For A Day, and Substitute Educators Day among others.

What is National Young Readers Day?

National Young Readers Day is celebrated during National Young Readers Week on the second Tuesday in November every year. The day was created to remind Americans about the importance of reading for children.

What are Young Readers?

Young Readers is a broad term that can mean anything from adolescent children to middle-graders and teenagers. As a general rule, a young reader is someone between the ages of two and 18.

National Young Readers Week Activities

  1. Buy a book for your child

    What better way to celebrate National Young Readers Week than by buying your child a book (or 50 books)? Did you know that children who have a home library with as little as 20 books of their own get three more years of schooling than kids who don’t have any books at home? You can get your child a new book every week and set reading goals for them.

  2. Read your child something

    Whether you are a teacher, school principal, or loving parent, you need to build your kid’s reading culture by leading by example. You can read them a book every day throughout the week, following Pizza Hut’s challenge. This is especially good for younger readers who might not yet be able to read on their own. It’s never too late to instill a love of books in children!

  3. Donate books to the local school library

    Too many libraries are underfunded. Use this week to celebrate the joys of literacy by donating some books to your local school library. You can make your donations in cash or kind – you would be changing the lives of hundreds of children.

5 Reasons Why Reading Is Important For Children

  1. A reading child is a confident child

    Learning to read gives children confidence — reading presents kids with a challenge and teaches them the skills needed to overcome it.

  2. It encourages independence

    Kids get a sense of fulfillment when they finally learn to read on their own. It also teaches children to make choices for themselves — about what to read — and cultivate their own interests separate from that of their parents.

  3. It makes their brains grow faster

    Reading might not make your kid’s brain grow literally, but it certainly helps with brain development — reading to your child or teaching them to read can increase their brain function considerably.

  4. It helps them bond more with parents

    Kids can read together with parents or parents can read to them — either way, it is a great way for parents to establish a nurturing space for and with their children.

  5. Reading helps kids communicate better

    Reading helps kids improve their vocabulary and, through reading, your little ones can also understand context cues and get better at general communication.

Why We Love National Young Readers Week

  1. We love free pizza

    We love pizza, and we love free pizza even more. During National Young Readers Week, you can encourage ardent young readers with a delicious slice of their favorite pizza, just like with the original ‘BOOK IT!’ program.

  2. Reading is important

    We cannot overstate the importance of reading. It’s not just a cliché — readers are better learners and leaders.

  3. It’s a fun way to teach kids to read

    There are different fun ways to teach kids about reading, and National Young Readers Week is one of them. Children can bond with their parents and school principals in reading challenges, and learn that reading often comes with rewards. In 2016, a school principal in Pennsylvania dressed up as Batman to read to kids from the roof.

National Young Readers Week dates

2022November 14Monday
2023November 13Monday
2024November 11Monday
2025November 10Monday
2026November 9Monday

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