Pizza Offer Gets Students Motivated

According to, “If at first you don’t succeed, dangle a pizza in front of the kids and watch them learn.”

“The pizza offer is what Washington-McKinley School teacher Dorothy Jones used to boost reading levels in her classroom. Jones teaches second grade at the school and discovered that many of her students were woefully behind in their reading abilities when school began. Elementary school teachers from the district use the Development Reading Assessment program to judge how well their students can read, she said. The program is based on an ascending letter ranking system starting with the letter “A.” Students entering second grade needed to reach the “I” level to be properly prepared. Of the 15 students in her class, two met the expected level and only one exceeded it. Her class would need to jump 25 reading levels in a month to meet standards.”

“‘Some students were really struggling,’ Jones said. ‘They could barely read anything by themselves.'”

“In the first week of school, Jones offered to finance a pizza party if her students met the assessment standards within a month. Then, Chicago Heights School District 170 Supt. Thomas Amadio heard about the offer and agreed to pay for it if the students succeeded. For a month, Jones said she had the students work together as partners to strengthen their reading skills. The stronger readers would read stories to the slower ones.”