Verizon Lights Up Holidays with Launch Of 'Season's Readings' Campaign in West Virginia

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Verizon will kick off its "Season's Readings" literacy initiative at 6 p.m. this evening in a festive holiday lighting ceremony at its West Virginia headquarters in Charleston.

The centerpiece of Season's Readings is a book drive and a read-aloud pledge campaign involving Verizon employees and the Verizon Pioneers. Now and throughout the holiday season, Verizon is encouraging employees to donate a new or gently used children's book to the campaign and to pledge to read to a child during the holiday season and in the coming year. Similar efforts are underway at other Verizon locations across the country.

West Virginia First Lady Sandy Wise will launch this unique Verizon literacy effort in the state this evening by reading from The Wild Christmas Reindeer to employees' children and a group from the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club of Charleston.

"This holiday season is a perfect time to sit your child in your lap and share the joy of reading," said Wise. "It is important to read to your child all year round, and I thank Verizon for its efforts in this campaign."

"I'm hopeful that all of our 3,300 employees in West Virginia will play an active role in Season's Readings," said Gale Given, president of Verizon West Virginia/Kentucky. "We're calling on them to donate both books and their time as readers."

Given added that, while the campaign is largely employee-focused, the public can join Verizon employees in depositing children's books in receptacles in front of the company's state headquarters at 1500 MacCorkle Ave., S.E., in Charleston. The company also has set up receptacles to accept books from employees at Verizon locations in Beckley, Clarksburg, Huntington, Martinsburg and Wheeling.

Reading Tips, Book Lists Promote Importance of Reading Aloud

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 Children," developed by the National center for Family Literacy (NCFL).

The company also unveiled NCFL's tips for reading aloud to children and a list of 15 children's books that are excellent for year-round reading. The tips and list are sorted into three age categories - birth to toddlers, three to five years, and six to eight years.

The tips for reading aloud and the recommended book lists can serve as a catalyst for parents, grandparents, siblings and others in emphasizing the importance of literacy to young people, as well a reference when choosing titles for holiday gifts over the next several weeks.

Books collected in West Virginia will be donated to literacy organizations around the state. 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 Season's Readings campaign is part of Verizon's national effort to increase U.S. literacy levels. Through its signature Verizon Reads program and the Verizon Literacy Network, the company 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 Foundation supports a variety of programs that focus on improving basic and computer literacy, bridging the digital divide, enriching communities through technology and creating a skilled work force. For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizon.com/foundation on the Internet.

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 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.