HELL gets more Kiwi kids hooked on books

The HELL Reading Challenge has incentivised young New Zealanders to read more than 2.5 million books!

This reading revolution has very likely already been sparked in your local community, with HELL intent on firing up young Kiwis’ passion for literature.

Now in its third year, the HELL Reading Challenge has seen 400,000 Pizza Wheels distributed around the country to date.

“The Pizza Wheels provide young bookworms with a personal record of their reading achievement,” explains HELL general manger Ben Cumming. “Each book read equals one stamp on the wheel – and once all seven ‘slices’ have been stamped by a local librarian, kids are rewarded with a free ‘333 kids’ pizza’ by redeeming their completed wheel at their local HELL store.”

The programme is completely free for primary schools and local libraries to enter; 565 institutions across the country are registered so far for this year’s challenge (344 school libraries and 221 public libraries).

“The response continues to be overwhelmingly positive and we are printing a further 50,000 Pizza Wheels this year to meet demand,” says Ben. “We are working hard to support Kiwi youth in our communities through a range of initiatives 4, and this is one that we are particularly proud of.

“Prising kids’ eyeballs away from screens and refocusing them on books is getting more and more difficult – but this initiative really appears to be connecting young minds to the benefits books can bring, both in terms of literacy and creativity.”

The HELL Reading Challenge is administered by the New Zealand Book Council on behalf of the New Zealand Book Awards Trust. HELL is a major sponsor of the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults, established to recognise the contribution New Zealand’s children’s authors and illustrators make towards building national identity and cultural heritage.

The HELL Reading Challenge runs until Sunday, 4 December 2016

Responses from schools and libraries so far include:

“The more children we get reading, the better outcomes for our community as a whole!” (Mackenzie Community Library)

“Our kids loved this last year and our teachers are very keen to be involved again.” (Pegasus Bay School, Canterbury)

“The children are enjoying the challenge. Thank you!” (Mokoia School, Taranaki)

What the kids are saying:

India Rose, Year 5: “The HELL Reading Challenge has really helped me because I read more books and I get better at reading.” – Riccarton Primary School, Christchurch

Pene, Year 5: “I tried to read more books and I really liked it. I think reading books makes me smarter.” – St Therese School, Auckland

Eunice, Year 6: “I didn’t like to read much but the Pizza Challenge made me read more books and I found that I loved to read.” – St Therese School, Auckland

Britney, Year 8: “I hated reading but now I’m in love with it!” – Glenfield Intermediate, Auckland

What their parents are saying:

“My children have never been more interested and motivated to read than since they were involved in the HELL challenge.” – (Children at St Therese School, Three Kings, Auckland)

“I think that without a reward, my daughter wouldn’t be willing to read as many books. But with that incentive it gives her enthusiasm to read more.” – (Child in Year 4 at Ranui Primary School, Waitakere, Auckland)

“Alyssa has become a much more confident reader. She is more willing to attempt new words and try new books. She is not discouraged by mistakes or unfamiliar words.” (Child in Year 2 at Chaucer School, Blockhouse Bay, Auckland)

Key figures:

400,000 (Pizza Wheels distributed to date) x 7 (books recorded on each wheel) = 2,800,000 books (that Kiwi kids have been incentivised to read by the HELL Reading Challenge)

2014: 100,000 wheels distributed in launch year.

2015: 150,000 wheels distributed. 319 school libraries and more than 100 public libraries 5 across New Zealand took part.

2016: 150,000 wheels distributed to date – including 50,000 extra wheels printed to meet demand. 344 school libraries and 221 public libraries registered to date.

Spread of registered schools (by decile) in 2016:

Decile ratingPercentage

1 7.1%

2 7.8%

3 12.3%

4 9.6%

5 11.0%

6 6.2%

7 10.8%

8 12.0%

9 10.5%

10 12.7%