Verizon Gives $95,000 to Texas A&M University

Date: February 13, 2007

A 2006 study by the National Council on Teacher Quality found that among the nation's universities almost all failed to incorporate the science of reading instruction into their teacher preparation programs. However, Texas A&M University stood out as one of the few to train its future teachers with knowledge of reading instruction.

In an effort to support and continue the training of effective teachers and promote increased literacy levels among children, the Verizon Foundation and the Department of Teaching, Learning and Culture in the College of Education and Human Development have joined together to produce early reading project tools.

The Verizon Foundation presented $95,000 to Texas A&M's Department of Teaching, Learning and Culture on Friday, Feb. 9 to fund the development of five online early reading modules in the department. The presentation took place prior to an educational briefing given by Dean Douglas J. Palmer to state legislators.

"We are always happy to give money to those projects that will have a profound impact on possibly thousands of children," said David Russell, Vice President of External Affairs of the Southwest Region for Verizon.

The Verizon Foundation previously funded the Brighter Horizons and Bridge to Literacy programs which targeted training preschool and daycare workers on basic literacy skills. They are now turning their support toward the Verizon Early Reading Online Project that will address reading for children in pre-K through the third grade.

With the help of the Foundation, the project seeks to provide reading materials through online modules to enhance reading performance of young children. The modules will be housed on the college's eEmpowerment Zone site and will be available at no cost to anyone who has access to the Internet.

To measure the students' understanding of the National Institute for Literacy approved content, pre- and post-tests will be used. Module formats will vary based on the skill level of the reader. The modules will focus on several objectives including phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and text comprehension.

The content will be created by reading instruction specialists at Texas A&M and technology specialists in the college's eEducation department. The content will then be tested in the Bryan/College Station area in pre-K through third-grade classrooms.

The project will begin pilot testing in January, 2008.

The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, is committed to improving literacy and K-12 education; fostering awareness and prevention of domestic violence; and promoting the use of technology in health-care delivery.  In 2006, the foundation awarded more than $69 million in grants to nonprofit agencies in the United States and abroad. The foundation also matched charitable donations from Verizon employees and retirees, resulting in $29 million in combined contributions. Under the foundation's Verizon Volunteer initiative, one of the nation's largest employee-volunteer programs, company employees and retirees have also contributed nearly 3 million hours of community service since Verizon's inception in 2000.
For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizon.com/foundation.