United Through Reading

Bath time is over and kids are in their pajamas waiting for a bedtime story with dad. There is no squirming as Dad’s calm voice reads a favorite Dr. Seuss book aloud. When he’s done, they replay the DVD recording and watch him again. This is the power of the United Through Reading® Military Program.

When a parent is deployed the USO Guam and United Through Reading help families stay connected through reading. Parents can visit a USO Center or other United Through Reading sites throughout the world to read a children’s book aloud while being recorded. The DVD recording, the book and simple instructions are sent back home to the deployed service member’s family for free.

Families play the recording at bedtime, story time or anytime. They will watch it over and over again, memorizing every word of the story and soaking up every gesture from mom or dad. Parents or caregivers at home often photograph or record their children’s reaction, which they send back to the deployed parent to share the impact and complete the circle of communication.

“We recently went to Qatar for a four-day pass and used your USO facilities. The staff was wonderful and ensured that the books and video made it to our children. Our girls enjoyed the DVD so much they brought it to school and both classes watched it!” For young children, the DVD recordings helps them remember what a parent looks like during a long deployment. “A child has a hard time understanding that mom or dad is okay from an e-mail or a letter,” a Marine chaplain told us. “A video image reassures the child that his or her parent is doing well.”

United Through Reading fulfills an aching need for the on-duty parent, too. Like the brand-new dad en route to Iraq who stopped at a USO center after two days in transit without sleep. Never mind a shower, never mind a snack, he immediately headed for the United Through Reading room to record a story for his infant son. USO centers have a supply of books that kids love. “My wife wrote me that my daughter watches her video every day and that she answers my questions each time as though I were right there asking them.”

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Supporting active duty military and their families
  • More than 225,000 recordings have been distributed since the program’s inception
  • More than 70 USO Centers serve as host sites for the program

United Through Reading® Founded in 1989, United Through Reading is the nation’s first nonprofit to promote the read aloud experience for separated military families. United Through Reading offers deployed parents the opportunity to be video-recorded reading storybooks to their children which eases the stress of separation, maintains positive emotional connections and cultivates a love of reading. At nearly 200 recording locations worldwide, Marines, Soldiers and Sailors, National Guard, Reservists and Airmen, can read to their children from units on ships, in tents in Afghanistan, on bases and installations around the world and at 70 USO centers worldwide. Over one and a half million military parents, spouses and children have benefited from the program since its inception.

Book your United Through Reading session at the USO Guam today!

Please send an email to USO Guam Programs Manager Edmund Lebita: elebita@uso.org

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