Medina Journal-Register — When Pizza Hut left Medina years ago, the Book It! program left with it. Students in lower grades throughout elementary school still read and were read to, but the pizza incentive was gone.
Local Mark’s Pizzeria owner Brian Christiaansen and his business partner Chris Marquardt decided to keep the incentive alive, and thus, “Book Mark’s” was created.
Brian’s wife, Lisa Christiaansen, also serves as his administrative assistant. She said the program has grown into an overwhelming success.
“For Medina last year, we gave out over 1,600 medium pizzas,” Christiaansen said. “We averaged at least 250 a month.”
Christiaansen said her husband and business partner both being parents played a role in their deciding to pick up the slack after Pizza Hut left town.
“They did a lot of business with the school with the band, and the guys wanted to encourage reading at the elementary level,” Christiaansen said.
The Book Mark’s program will enter its fifth year this November. As has been the case the past four years, Nicole Goyette will serve as Christiaansen’s contact person for Medina.
“The teachers here are all very supportive of the program,” Goyette said. “Even when we’re all busy, and I remind them to get their stuff to me, they jump right on it because we all love anything that gives kids an incentive to read.”
Goyette said having an incentive for students is a huge help with the added benefit of developing a worthwhile routine.
“If they’re reading every night, that’s a good habit to get into,” she said.
With pizza as a possible prize, Goyette said many students seem motivated to read in order to achieve their goals.
“Every kid loves pizza, and if you just do your job and read every night, it winds up taking Mom and Dad off the hook for dinner once in a while,” she added, noting the sense of accomplishment a student feels by “buying” dinner on a given night.