Verizon to Launch 'Season's Readings' Literacy Campaign in Richmond with Employee Book Fair

RICHMOND, Va. -- Verizon, America's literacy champion, will mark the Richmond-area kickoff of its "Season's Readings" national employee book drive and reading campaign with an employee book fair next week at one of its West End offices. Monies raised from the book sale will be used to purchase books for needy schools.

"I'm proud that our employees are getting behind this very worthwhile effort," said Robert Woltz, president of Verizon Virginia. "I can't think of a better gift than the gift of literacy."

The book fair will be held Dec. 17-21, 11 a.m.-2:30 p. m. in the lobby of Verizon's building at 3013 Hungary Springs Rd.

Throughout the holiday season, the Verizon's 256,000 employees -- 2,700 of whom are in the Richmond area -- are urged to donate a new or gently used book to the campaign. The company has already collected over 200 books from Richmond-area employees.

Employees are also asked to pledge their time to read aloud to a child during the holiday season and upcoming year.

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

NCFL also has provided 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 will receive a copy of the NCFL lists and tips to assist them in selecting a book to donate and in fulfilling their read-aloud pledge.

The Verizon Season's Readings program is partnering with Scholastic Inc., the largest children's book publisher and distributor in the world. Verizon employees will be able to purchase Scholastic's children's books at their work locations and donate them as part of the reading campaign to literacy organizations and schools.

"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 overall 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.