Providence, R.I. - Webster Avenue Elementary School students received a holiday treat from Mayor David Cicilline today, when he read "Snow," by Uri Shulevitz, to 30 fourth and fifth-graders. The special reading was a celebration of a $25,000 grant donated by Verizon SuperPages, the world's largest print yellow pages and online directory publisher, to Volunteers In Providence Schools. The grant supports the BookPass program, a motivational reading program that Verizon SuperPages has funded for five years.
"Verizon SuperPages' generosity will help us reach children in Providence who may not have been exposed to books at an early age," said Terri Adelman, executive director, Volunteers In Providence Schools. "This year, we saw that the BookPass program began to change the outcomes of many students. Students strengthened their reading skills, improved their comprehension skills and became more interested in reading."
The BookPass program is designed to motivate fourth and fifth-grade students to read independently and to enhance their reading comprehension skills. Students are rewarded with a free book after they have completed 10 pre-selected books. To track their progress, students receive a BookPass sticker for each book they read. The BookPass program, which is supported by volunteers, benefits more than 2,000 children who attend Providence public schools.
"The BookPass program is built on the foundation that a child's ability to read well is a passport to success," said Mayor Cicilline. "Verizon SuperPages' support over the past five years has enabled thousands of Providence children to see their dreams become a reality. Without their help, these children may not have had the same success."
An integral part of the program comes at the end of the school year when students participate in "The Battle of the Books." The game show is a challenge for students to answer questions based on the books they have read in the BookPass program. Teachers use the program to establish reading clubs after school, assign book reports as a study tool and teach interpretation and analysis. The preparation paid off for the Webster Avenue Elementary School, which won the Battle of the Books game show this year.
"Supporting the BookPass program in Providence is critical because 44 percent of Providence residents have less than a ninth-grade education. As a result, their children enter school less prepared," said Todd Sanislow, Verizon Information Services general sales manager. "We are proud to partner with Volunteers In Providence Schools in its efforts to reach children in Providence who lack reading skills."
Verizon SuperPages supports community outreach programs across the nation designed to increase the literacy of both children and adults and to help people of all ages become computer literate. These programs are part of Verizon's commitment to leading the effort to increase U.S. literacy levels. Verizon SuperPages.com also features two community and literacy sections on its Web site: "Enlighten Me" for families and the "Internet Learning Tutor" for adults. "Enlighten Me" features SuperThinkers, a children's section featuring games and challenges designed to develop critical thinking skills in a fun setting.
About Verizon SuperPages and SuperPages.com
Based in the Dallas area, Verizon Information Services is a content provider for communications products and services, with approximately $4.3 billion in revenues. The company produces Verizon SuperPages, the nation's leading yellow pages, and Verizon SuperPages.com (www.SuperPages.com), the nation's number 1 Internet directory and shopping resource. SuperPages On The Go is the only nationwide yellow and white pages directory offered on Get It Now services through Verizon Wireless. The company also is the largest publisher of Hispanic directories in the U.S. and the first to provide a Hispanic online shopping resource, SuperPages.com en Espanol (www.superpages.com/espanol).Verizon Information Services is a unit of Verizon Communications Inc. (www.verizon.com)
About Volunteers in Providence Schools
Founded in the early 1960's, VIPS is a not for profit organization whose mission is to help Providence public school students of all ethnicities and ages raise their academic achievement level by providing them with tutors, mentors, and enrichment activities. VIPS helps to counter the effects of poverty, limited English, culture dissimilarities, and poor educational preparation by recruiting, screening, training, and organizing over 1,000 community volunteers each year to work as tutors throughout Providence's 50 public schools. The programs that we provide allow over 3,000 students to benefit from one-on-one or small group tutoring. More than 1,000 children to take advantage of homework help or enrichment programs, and 10,000 to receive free books of their own. Classroom teachers consistently indicate in their evaluations that 80 percent of the students being tutored through VIPS show clear improvements in attitude, attendance, achievement, communication, and behavior.
About Providence Schools
The Providence Public School District's mission is to ensure all students achieve high standards through the provision of a rigorous and challenging common core curriculum, strong parental and public support and engagement in the educational process, and robust recruitment and retention of the highest quality workforce, by providing leadership, professional development, support and inspiration to all employees. www.providenceschools.org.