Athletics News

    Verizon Reads with the Trojans

    The program is an interactive literacy initiative that links USC Trojan Athletics with local educators and schools. The program provides schools several opportunities to promote and reinforce the values of reading and education. It is a three-phased program that allows for different levels of school involvement.

    The program can provide teachers in the Southern California area with tangible incentives (posters, bookmarks, athletic event tickets) to encourage their students to read - and to ACHIEVE!

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    Fall '01 Literacy Poster
    Spring '01 Literacy Poster

    Phase I
    Launched in Spring 2001, Phase I is designed to meet the immediate need for mentor-volunteers at Foshay Learning Center in Los Angeles. Foshay has a glaring need for more than 150 mentors to assist in the development of kids reading two grades or more below their classmates' reading level. In order to meet this need, the University of Southern California Athletic Department has committed to provide and recruit mentors. Athletes, coaches and staff members are being encouraged to develop substantial relationships with their mentee while assisting their progress in school. The mentors use rewards provided by Verizon, CBS 2, USC Athletics and our other participating sponsors (e.g. pencils, collectibles, toys or tickets).

    Phase II
    Phase II was designed to ensure that the Verizon Reads with the Trojans program serves those student-athletes who are motivated to volunteer but have limited time due to their restrictive practice/game schedules. Modeled after a similar Verizon program at Duke University, this phase of the literacy initiative is destined for success.

    This phase is designed solely for the "Family of Five" schools surrounding USC campus. Students on every athletic team at USC will be asked to volunteer a minimum of two hours per semester to speak to classes or assemblies, pay a visit to a local hospital or attend an after-school sports clinic. They will be asked to talk about the importance of reading, learning, teamwork, building self-esteem and wellness with the children. Interactive presentations and prizes will reinforce their message. Verizon Reads with the Trojans has adopted two national programs to help in Phase II. The Jester & Pharley Phund has been incorporated to address the needs of those children in hospitals. The program curriculum includes visits and correspondence with sick children. The Kids in Sports program allows student-athletes to participate in an area of expertise by allowing "playtime" to become "learning time."

    Phase III
    Phase III is designed to be the broader-reaching arm of the program. A multimedia campaign featuring television and radio PSA's, direct mail, events and interactive "for kids" features on our official athletic website will be used to welcome schools into our Verizon Reads with the Trojans "literacy network." Posters featuring USC Athletes and our partners will be distributed through a network of schools and the Public Library System promoting reading. Students who read five or more books can exchange matching bookmarks for tickets to USC Athletic events.

    Media Exposure
    The Trojans welcome KCBS-TV 2 for their support of the program!

    • CBS 2 will be airing several public service announcements on their network about the program, its participating schools, USC Athlete mentors and the achievements of the program's readers.
    • CBS 2 will feature the program on its "Woman 2 Woman" and "Sports Central" shows.
    • CBS 2 will attend events linked with the program, including the Teacher Appreciation Day on September 29, 2001.

    If you would like to be a part of Phase III of the Verizon Reads with the Trojans program, and you teach 8th grade or below in the Southern California area, here's what you should know:

    Verizon Reads with the Trojans posters and bookmarks will be available twice a year (in the Fall and the Spring), which you can use as incentives or giveaways for your students. The top performing classes in the city will be eligible for Trojan prizes and special V.I.P. guests.

    You can now register your class to become a part of the Trojan Literacy Network. You can register right here online! OR, ask your principal if they received a fax-back form that was sent to your school in August. Fill it out and fax it back to us at 213-740-1306 to participate!


    If you are a parent or student, please pass this information onto your teacher.