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Advice from a RIF Dad

Wendell Basset and kids

“We need more books,” they would say.

“But of course!” I agreed beaming with a feeling of satisfaction and parental pride. “We’ll go to the library tonight and you guys can get as many books as you want.”

As the weeks went on and the piles of books would grow all over the house, I couldn’t be happier. My little boys had an insatiable hunger for knowledge … and that Personal Pan Cheese Pizza!

Let’s be honest, I can’t take all the credit for getting my kids to love reading. A clever marketer out there may have helped me a bit. The goal was simple and the reward was desirable: read a certain number of books per month and get a coupon for a free one-topping Personal Pan Pizza.

Pizza night was a special night in my house for many years, as were the days leading up to our dinner out. As my two young sons worked to reach their reading goals, we all learned and shared special moments – sounding out letters, taking turns making animal sounds, looking up new words in the dictionary, laughing about characters in a graphic novel series or enjoying an extra-long bedtime story.

Looking back on these days, I couldn’t agree more with Maya Angelou: "Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him."

My advice? Never miss an opportunity to share the love of reading with a child. Make it fun. Make it memorable. And if you must – throw in a cheese pizza!

Wendell Basset
Dad… and RIF Program Operations Manager