Deployment Resource: United Through Reading

In honor of Reading Across America Day, we wanted to put a spotlight on a wonderful reading resource for military families.

Preparing your children for their first deployment of a parent is tough for everyone involved. I recently went through this with my girls for the first time. I asked all my fellow spouses with children to share their tips and tricks. I referenced a fellow contributor’s post on preparing kids for deployment regularly.  I wanted my youngest to be familiar with “Dada” when he returned and for my oldest to have him continue to be a part of our daily routine.

I was so glad when someone shared United Through Reading (UTR). Their mission is to “unite military families facing physical separation by facilitating the bonding experience of reading aloud.” The organization helps families stay connected through video recordings of storytime and books, sent to military families to help ease the stress of separation, maintain positive emotional connections, and cultivate a love of reading and early childhood literacy. Since 1989, more than 2.4 million military members and their families have benefited from the program.

Here’s a few great ways to utilize the program:

Storytime App

United Through Reading has “Story Stations” set up all over the world for service members to record storytime videos and send to their families back home. While this is not possible on a submarine, you can stiill utilize their United Through Reading App, available on IOS and Android devices. The app is free and secure to allow service members to record anywhere and family members to view anywhere.  To receive a complimentary book, simply fill out this form. Books are kindly donated by Dollar General Literacy Foundation.

Printable Reading Logs

United Through Reading also has great resources online, including printable reading logs. The Reading Log has stars for every day of the week, so you or your loved one can mark off every day you read for five weeks. You can decide if the stars represent a certain number of books per day or a certain number of minutes. You can use it for reading together with a United Through Reading video recording or reading independently. Set a goal and a reward to motivate yourself and your family! Include how many stars you will complete and how you will celebrate meeting your goal.

Suggested Book Lists

The program also offers a massive book list available to service members! Here are a few books I personally purchased to have in our family library to help my daughters understand more about submarines and deployment: Super Submarines, Submarines, and Paper Hug.

Have you tried United Through Reading? Share your experience in the comments. Do you have favorite books to explain deployment or the submarine force to your children? Here are a few others our contributors recommend:

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