Mayor Menino, Verizon Help Students Begin New Chapter for Boston Reading Program

BOSTON - Mayor Thomas M. Menino will join Verizon Region President Donna Cupelo to read to schoolchildren in Roxbury tomorrow (Jan. 9) as Verizon's "Season's Readings" program distributes books donated by area employees.
At the event, Verizon also will announce a $55,000 grant to ReadBoston, Mayor Menino's citywide literacy initiative.

Mayor Menino and Cupelo will read to elementary school students at 9 a.m. at the Rafael Hernandez School at 61 School Street. Members of Verizon's Hispanic Support Organization, an employee resource group, also will read and present books collected during the Season's Readings campaign.

Verizon's grant will support "Reading Is Fundamental," (RIF) a ReadBoston program in 50 Boston Public Schools that provides books and activities designed to encourage reading outside the classroom.

"I want to thank Verizon for its commitment to helping children in Boston learn to read, said Mayor Menino. "ReadBoston is actively working in our communities each day to ensure that children are receiving the tools they need to learn to read."

Cupelo, Verizon's region president for Massachusetts and Rhode Island, said, "Reading helps nurture and build strong communities. Verizon is committed to supporting Boston in its efforts to improve literacy and increase awareness of this fundamental need."

Season's Readings is part of Verizon's national literacy program, Verizon Reads. Throughout the holiday season, Verizon employees are encouraged to donate new and gently used books to the campaign and to pledge they will read to a child throughout the coming year.

Last year, Verizon employees donated over 70,000 books to the campaign and pledged nearly 1 million minutes of reading to children throughout 2002.

"Reading is an integral factor in a child's life, said Theresa Lynn, ReadBoston executive director. "When Verizon and programs like RIF allow us to get books into the home, it is a wonderful thing."

Through Verizon Reads and the Verizon Literacy Network, Verizon works to increase community and corporate awareness, raise funds, encourage collaboration among literacy providers, and engage employee in supporting literacy programs.

To promote the importance of reading to children, Verizon also partnered with the National Center for Family Literacy (NCFL) to develop a list of tips for reading and a list of 15 children's books that are excellent for year-round reading. The reading tips and book lists are separated into three age categories - birth to toddlers, three to five years, and six to eight years.

The tips for reading to children and the age-specific book lists can serve as a catalyst for parents, grandparents, siblings and others in emphasizing the importance of developing literacy skills in young people. These also are helpful when choosing books for special occasions. For more information about Verizon Reads and NCFL's lists and tips please visit www.verizonreads.net.

Verizon Communications

Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 135.0 million access line equivalents and 31.5 million Verizon Wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. With more than $67 billion in annual revenues and more than 236,000 employees, Verizon's global presence extends to more than 35 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.


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