'Without a Trace' Star Eric Close and Author Peter Reynolds Showcase Thinkfinity.org's Free Educational Resources For Teachers at National Educational Computing Conference

SAN ANTONIO - Television star Eric Close teamed with acclaimed author, illustrator and educator Peter H. Reynolds here Tuesday (July 1) to lead an interactive investigation to demonstrate how technology, such as Thinkfinity.org, can impact learning and excite children about education.

Using the skills employed by his television persona, FBI agent Martin Fitzgerald on the hit show "Without a Trace," Close asked  an audience of 300 teachers a series of questions to help uncover online resources that would assist  students in developing 21st century skills such as creativity, problem-solving and critical thinking.

"As a father of two daughters, I see how they are drawn to and quickly master technology," said Close. "Technology, such as Thinkfinity.org, gives teachers quick, easy access to tremendous resources that will keep their students interested, and it's all free."

The session was one of several Verizon Foundation events at the National Educational and Computing Conference designed to showcase the free resources available to students, teachers and parents at Thinkfinity.org.

Thinkfinity.org is the Verizon Foundation's comprehensive online portal to more than 55,000 educational and literacy resources for teachers, parents and students. Resources include standards-based, grade-specific, K-12 lesson plans and engaging interactive activities provided in partnership with many of the nation's leading educational and literacy organizations.

"Every day, teachers spend hours developing lesson plans to help pique the interest of their students while developing the skills needed for the workforce of tomorrow," said Patrick Gaston, Verizon Foundation president. "Through Thinkfinity.org, teachers can quickly find compelling, engaging, interactive material, while also simplifying classroom preparation time."

Thinkfinity.org offers elementary through high school teachers resources across eight academic disciplines, from science to English to mathematics, to improve student achievement.

"My mission is to inspire creativity and self-expression - and so I'm continually exploring new ways to invite young people to the literacy party," said Reynolds, award-winning author of children's books such as "The Dot," and "Ish." "Technology has opened exciting new doors for classrooms to produce digital film makers, animators, staff writers, and publishers - preparing them to be the next-generation of technically literate citizens and employees, he said."

Since the launch of Thinkfinity.org in March 2007, the Verizon Foundation has committed more than $32 million nationally to update and expand Thinkfinity.org and provide training to teachers.

In addition to providing standards-based resources from the nation's leading educational and literacy organizations, Thinkfinity.org also offers a comprehensive professional development program that allows teachers to sign up for free online or face-to-face training to learn how to make the most of Thinkfinity.org tools.

Content for Thinkfinity.org is provided through a partnership between the Verizon Foundation and 11 of the nation's leading organizations in the fields of education and literacy: the American Association for the Advancement of Science, International Reading Association, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, National Center for Family Literacy, National Council on Economic Education, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Council of Teachers of English, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, National Geographic Society, ProLiteracy Worldwide and the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.

The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, supports the advancement of literacy and K-12 education through its signature program, Thinkfinity.org, and fosters awareness and prevention of domestic violence.  In 2007, the foundation awarded more than $67.4 million in grants to nonprofit agencies in the United States and abroad. The foundation also matched the charitable donations of Verizon employees and retirees, resulting in $25.1 million in combined contributions. Through Verizon Volunteers, one of the nation's largest employee volunteer programs, Verizon employees and retirees have volunteered more than 3 million hours of community service since Verizon's inception in 2000. For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizon.com/foundation.

About Verizon Communications
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a leader in delivering broadband and other wireline and wireless communication innovations to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving more than 67 million customers nationwide.  Verizon's Wireline operations include Verizon Business, which delivers innovative and seamless business solutions to customers around the world, and Verizon Telecom, which brings customers the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services over the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network.  A Dow 30 company, Verizon employed a diverse workforce of approximately 232,000 as of the end of the first quarter 2008 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of $93.5 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.