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Sovereign Bank Kicks Off 8th Annual Holiday Book Drive with Reach Out and Read


Sovereign Bank today announced the launch of its 8th annual holiday book drive. For the third consecutive year, Sovereign will partner with Reach Out and Read, a national, non-profit organization that makes reading a routine part of pediatric care. The book drive offers Sovereign customers in communities throughout the northeastern U.S. the opportunity to make brand-new books available to kids who need them.

“Last year, Sovereign’s book drive resulted in more than 23,000 brand new children’s books distributed throughout the bank’s footprint,” said Joseph P. Campanelli, Chief Executive Officer of Sovereign Bank. “This holiday season, through our partnership with Reach Out and Read and the generosity of our customers, we continue to work for early literacy in our communities, giving thousands of kids a head start on reading when it matters most.”

Starting Monday, Dec. 3 and running through Monday, Dec. 31, Sovereign will again be accepting donations for the drive at all of its 750 Community Banking Offices. For each $2 donation, Reach Out and Read will purchase one of five classic children’s titles and make sure it is delivered to a Reach Out and Read facility in a local hospital, clinic or pediatrician’s office. Customers may choose from Where the Wild Things Are, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Clifford’s Animal Sounds, Goodnight Moon or the Spanish-language version, Buenas Noches, Luna when making a donation. To find the closest Sovereign Community Banking Office, please visit

The Reach Out and Read program model is based on research showing a strong connection between reading to babies, toddlers and young children and enhanced language development. Reach Out and Read trains doctors and nurses to give new books to children at each check-up between 6 months and 5 years of age and to provide developmentally appropriate advice to parents about reading aloud with their child.

“Books in the homes of the children participating in Reach Out and Read, many of whom are growing up in poverty, means that these children will also benefit from the attention and enjoyment when their parents read to them,” commented Barry Zuckerman, MD, Reach Out and Read Chairman and CEO. “This is a gift that keeps on giving!”

For more information on literacy-related milestones, the book-related skills that can be expected of children at certain ages, visit:

About Sovereign
Sovereign Bancorp, Inc., (“Sovereign”) (NYSE: SOV), is the parent company of Sovereign Bank, a financial institution with $87 billion in assets as of Sept. 30, 2007 with principal markets in the Northeast United States. Sovereign Bank has 750 community banking offices, over 2,300 ATMs and approximately 12,000 team members. Sovereign offers a broad array of financial services and products including retail banking, business and corporate banking, cash management, capital markets, wealth management and insurance. Sovereign is the 18th largest banking institution in the United States. For more information on Sovereign Bank, call 1-877-SOV-BANK.

About Reach Out and Read
Reach Out and Read is a national, non-profit children’s literacy program that works with medical providers to reach the children at greatest risk – children aged 6 months to 5 years living at or near poverty. Medical providers participating in Reach Out and Read give books to their youngest low-income patients at check-ups and advise their parents about the importance of reading. More than 20 million books have been distributed through Reach Out and Read, which currently serves 25 percent of the most impoverished children in the U.S. The only American literacy program featured at the recent White House Conference on Global Literacy, Reach Out and Read is endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Reach Out and Read has one of the strongest records of research support of any primary care intervention. Peer-reviewed studies indicate that parents who get books and literacy counseling from their doctors and nurses are more likely to read to their young children, read to them more often, and provide more books in the home. Low-income children exposed to the program have shown improvements in language development, a critical component of school readiness. Children who participate in Reach Out and Read score 4 to 8 points higher on vocabulary tests, giving 2-year-olds a 6 month head start developmentally. Reach Out and Read is working to make literacy promotion a standard part of pediatric primary care. More than 46,000 doctors and nurses have been trained by Reach Out and Read since its founding in 1989. This year Reach Out and Read will provide 4.6 million new books to 2.8 million children at 3,300 health care sites in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. International programs modeled on Reach Out and Read have been started in Italy, Israel, the Philippines, England, Bangladesh and Canada. UNESCO awarded Reach Out and Read an international 2007 Confucius Prize for Literacy in recognition of its particularly effective contribution to the fight against illiteracy. For further information, please visit Reach Out and Read’s website at

Media Contact
Ellen Molle
Office: (617) 757-5573
Cell: (617) 548-9932


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