International Reading Association and the National Council of Teachers of English Receive $1 Million in Grants to Create Free K-12 Online Educational Resources

The International Reading Association and the National Council of Teachers of English have received $1 million in grants from the Verizon Foundation to expand their partnership with Verizon Thinkfinity (www.thinkfinity.org).

Verizon Foundation President Patrick Gaston announced the grants on Monday (April 26) at the International Reading Association's annual conference at McCormick Place.

The association and the national council will use the funds to create resources for ReadWriteThink, one of eight partner sites included in the Verizon Thinkfinity network.

Verizon Thinkfinity is a comprehensive educational website that contains tens of thousands of free, engaging educational resources to save teachers time, make learning fun and improve educational achievement. Lesson plans, in-class activities and homework help can be found quickly and searched by grade level, state standard, keyword or subject.

"In today's competitive global environment, learning must not end when the school day ends," said William B. Harvey, executive director of the International Reading Association. "Through our partnership with the National Council of Teachers of English and Verizon Thinkfinity, we will create new resources to give teachers, parents, caregivers and after-school programs the materials necessary to get children excited about learning."

An increase in parental and after-school resources is just part of a significant expansion of Verizon Thinkfinity taking place in the coming months. Other updates to Verizon Thinkfinity include:

  • An online Thinkfinity Community, a new feature that lets parents, administrators and teachers share ideas, ask for assistance, discuss the topics of the day, and connect with colleagues and experts across the country.

  • A new library of educational videos.

  • Social networking tools.

  • Newsfeeds on the latest educational news.

"Since its launch in 2007, Verizon Thinkfinity has been a valuable source of free educational resources for teachers seeking innovative ways to improve student achievement," said Verizon Foundation President Patrick Gaston. "This year, Verizon Thinkfinity will expand its offerings to truly make it a one-stop shop for any parent, teacher or after-school provider interested in education."

In addition, Verizon Thinkfinity will continue to offer a comprehensive professional-development program that allows teachers to sign up for free online or face-to-face training.

"Educators will really enjoy learning how to use these valuable, free resources from Verizon Thinkfinity and its partner websites to advance student literacy," said Kent Williamson, executive director of the National Council of Teachers of English.  "To further aid in teacher development, ReadWriteThink will continue to expand its monthly podcast series with interviews and chats with educational leaders and experts in the field."

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

The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, supports the advancement of literacy and K-12 education and fosters awareness and prevention of domestic violence.  In 2009, the Verizon Foundation awarded $67.9 million in grants to nonprofit agencies in the U.S. and abroad.  It also matched the charitable donations of Verizon employees and retirees, resulting in $26.1 million in combined contributions to nonprofits.  Through Verizon Volunteers, one of the nation's largest employee volunteer programs, Verizon employees and retirees have volunteered more than 5 million hours of community service since 2000. For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizonfoundation.org.

About the International Reading Association
The International Reading Association is a professional membership organization dedicated to promoting high levels of literacy for all by improving the quality of reading instruction, disseminating research and information about reading, and encouraging the lifetime reading habit.

About the National Council of Teachers of English
The National Council of Teachers of English is devoted to improving the teaching and learning of English and the language arts at all levels of education. We promote the development of literacy as a means of attaining personal fulfillment and achieving full participation in our global society.