Verizon Employees and 'Season's Readings' Deliver Holiday Cheer to California

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- Verizon, America's literacy champion, is promoting the power of reading this holiday season through "Season's Readings," a program that encourages employees to promote literacy in their community.

As part of the program, Verizon's 14,000 employees in the region expect to donate more than 4,000 books to elementary schools, libraries and children's organizations in their communities.

The centerpiece of Verizon's Season's Reading in California is a book drive and read-aloud pledge campaign. Throughout the holiday season, Verizon is encouraging its 256,000 employees nationwide to donate new or gently used children's books and to pledge to read to a child or adult during the holiday season and the coming year. All books collected locally will be distributed when the collection concludes at the end of the month.

Through the Season's Readings program, Verizon has partnered with Scholastic Inc., the largest children's book publisher and distributor in the world, to promote the importance of reading to children. For the past month, Verizon employees have purchased children's books at Scholastic book fairs and have donated them as part of the literacy program. Book fairs were held recently at several Verizon offices throughout the region.

"Reading is the key to a successful life and establishes a foundation for a lifetime of learning, so I'm proud that our employees have supported this very worthwhile effort," said Tim McCallion, Verizon's Pacific Region president. "I can't think of a better gift than the gift of literacy."

To promote the importance of reading aloud to children, Verizon has provided the Verizon Season's Readings Ten Great Holiday Books to Read to Your Kids developed by the National Center for Family Literacy (NCFL)

The company also provided NCFL's Tips and Recommendations for Reading to Your Children and a list of 15 children's books that are excellent for year-round reading. Both the reading tips and book list are separated into three age categories -- birth to toddlers, three to five years, and six to eight years.

The tips for reading aloud and the holiday and 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 make for a helpful guide when choosing book titles for holiday gifts.

All Verizon employees have received a copy of the NCFL lists and tips to assist them in selecting a book to donate and in fulfilling their read-aloud pledge.

"We are extremely pleased to provide support and resources to the Verizon Season's Readings program," said Karen Proctor, community affairs director for Scholastic. "Reading to young children has an immediate impact on a child's early language and literacy skills and later on helps with reading comprehension and even overall success in school."

Season's Readings is part of Verizon's commitment to leading the effort to increase U.S. literacy levels. Through its signature Verizon Reads program and the Verizon Literacy Network, Verizon works to increase community and corporate awareness, raise funds, encourage collaboration among literacy providers and engage employees in supporting literacy programs. For more information on Verizon Reads, visit www.verizonreads.net.

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 128.5 million access line equivalents and 28.7 million wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. A Fortune 10 company with 256,000 employees and approximately $65 billion in annual revenues, Verizon's global presence extends to more than 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.