Pizza entices young Wairarapa readers

By Hayley Gastmeier hayley.gastmeier@age.co.nz -
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Masterton Library is taking part in the children's 2016 Hell Pizza Reading Challenge. PHOTO/HAYLEY GASTMEIER
Masterton Library is taking part in the children's 2016 Hell Pizza Reading Challenge. PHOTO/HAYLEY GASTMEIER

Most of Wairarapa's libraries are using pizza to encourage children to read more books.

They have taken on the 2016 Hell Pizza Reading Challenge, a nationwide programme where children are treated to a free pizza once they have read seven books.

The reading programme, now in its third year, is a collaboration between Hell Pizza and the Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa.

It is open to children in Years 1-8 and all schools and libraries in the country are invited to take part.

Both Carterton and Masterton Libraries are running the challenge for the second year in a row.

Featherston is taking part for the third time and librarian Penny Griffin said more than 60 children in the town had taken up the challenge this year, with some already on to their second round of books.

This is the first year Martinborough Library has signed up to the reading challenge.

Janet McAllister, the library's children reading programme co-ordinator, said the challenge would "give the kids that extra little incentive" to pick up a book.

Children who choose to participate can collect from the library a round book review wheel that looks like a pizza with seven slices.

A slice of pizza will be stamped by a librarian after each book is completed by the child.

The child just needs to tell the librarian a little about what the book is about.

When the wheel is full, it can be taken into any Hell Pizza store where the child will receive a '333 Hellthy Pizza'.

Ms McAllister said the children would feel a sense of achievement on redeeming their free pizza, knowing they had worked hard and deserved it.

"And it's something they can keep up at all year."

She said the challenge would run until December and so far 10 children in Martinborough were taking part.

Last year more than 250 schools nationwide signed up to the reading challenge.

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