A $200,000 grant from Verizon is funding an intensive effort to help improve literacy and parent involvement in local schools this year. The grant provides a program called Connect with Kids, which uses TV broadcasts, the Internet and printed pieces to reach children and parents. Schools will receive lesson plans and classroom materials, and a half-hour television special featuring successful literacy efforts in the Long Beach Unified School District will air at 4 p.m. this Sunday, September 10 on ABC7. The show will be distributed to more than 70 television stations throughout the nation. Additional specials will air throughout the year. As parents view the specials, students will read and write about the same issues in class. The aim is to spark conversations between students and parents. "We’re honored to be part of this vital effort," said Christopher J. Steinhauser, Superintendent of Schools. "Connect with Kids is an innovative way to reach parents, and we appreciate the chance to spotlight our schools’ successful literacy efforts on a national stage."