Mayor Kurt Schmoke delights children from George Washington Elementary School with Dr. Seuss classic

Mayor Kurt Schmoke delights children from George Washington
Elementary School with Dr. Seuss classic

Bell Atlantic Yellow Pages donates $25,000 to further
Baltimore Reads' children's literacy efforts

Feb. 22, 1999


Gia Oei,
(978) 762-1333

BALTIMORE -- Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke gives new voice to the
Dr. Seuss classic, Green Eggs and Ham, today at 10 a.m. at the Barnes &
Noble bookstore on East Pratt Street. Mayor Schmoke will read to
children from the George Washington Elementary School who have
successfully completed the school's 100 Book Challenge reading program.
The reading is part of the celebration of Bell Atlantic Yellow Pages'
donation of $25,000 to sponsor the Baltimore Reads Book Bank and the
opening of its newest book drop site.

Started in 1992, the Baltimore Reads Book Bank provides new and gently
used books to families in Baltimore to instill a love of reading and family
learning. The donation from Bell Atlantic Yellow Pages will help increase
the number of children's books the bank can distribute to primarily low-
income families, increase the visibility of the program and help mobilize
volunteers who read to children.

The Baltimore Reads Book Bank has 27 distribution sites located
throughout the city, primarily in social service waiting rooms, homeless
shelters, community health centers, and schools. In addition, there are 15
collection sites where individuals, companies, and other organizations can
drop off books. The newest site being unveiled today is located at the
Barnes & Noble in downtown Baltimore where the reading will take place.

"I'm proud to be involved with the efforts of Bell Atlantic Yellow Pages,
Baltimore Reads, and Barnes & Noble to focus on children's literacy,"
said Mayor Schmoke. "Providing the children of Baltimore with
opportunities to read at an early age will improve their ability to become
lifelong learners. In addition, it will help instill in them a love of reading
and lead them to a brighter future."

A recent study showed that 41 percent of fourth graders in the U.S. cannot
read at the basic level, and only 28 percent performed at or above the
proficient level.

Statistics such as these convinced Bell Atlantic Yellow Pages to create a
comprehensive outreach program to support children's literacy programs.
The partnership with Baltimore Reads is just one component of the
efforts. Last summer, Bell Atlantic Yellow Pages sponsored James Earl
Jones, actor and Bell Atlantic spokesperson, who read the Maurice Sendak
classic children's book, Where The Wild Things Are, to children at the
Enoch Pratt Free Library.

Additionally, the company's efforts include initiatives such as the Book
Angel Program, which donates funds to scholastic book fairs at elementary
schools, and magician Joe Romano, who uses magic, music and audience
participation to teach children important literacy lessons.

"We're thrilled with the generous donation from Bell Atlantic Yellow
Pages," said Maggi Gaines, executive director - Baltimore Reads. "Their
partnership with Baltimore Reads will help us reinforce continuous
learning and promote reading as a family activity. It also will put books in
the hands of youngsters who ordinarily would not be able to afford them."

Bell Atlantic Yellow Pages partnered with Baltimore Reads because of the
success the organization has demonstrated in working with literacy
providers, business, and government to find new and exciting ways to
promote and encourage literacy among children and adults.

"Baltimore Reads is a leader among literacy organizations, so we're very
excited about this new partnership with them," said Les Hunter, general
sales manager at Bell Atlantic Yellow Pages in Baltimore. "It seems that
every day there are new reports about how reading to our children can
provide them with a positive start in life. We're glad to extend our efforts
to families in Baltimore."

With more than 500 directories published in the United States, Bell
Atlantic Yellow Pages is the world's largest publisher of Yellow Pages
shopping directories. The company also has Yellow Pages directory
operations in six countries and publishes more than 12 million copies of
123 shopping directory editions internationally. Its affiliate, Bell Atlantic
Electronic Commerce Services is creator of BigYellowSM, a leading online
shopping service on the Internet.

Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of the new communications and
information industry. With more than 42 million telephone access lines
and 8.6 million wireless customers worldwide, Bell Atlantic companies
are premier providers of advanced wireline voice and data services, market
leaders in wireless services and the world's largest publishers of directory
information. Bell Atlantic companies are also among the world's largest
investors in high-growth global communications markets, with operations
and investments in 23 countries.

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