United Through Reading Calls Attention to 40 Million Stories Missed Yearly by Military Families

June 6, 2017

Founding Sponsor Reader’s Digest Foundation is Bringing Stories Home for Military Families with $500,000 Grant.

SAN DIEGO (June 6, 2017) — More than 100,000 military parents are deployed each year, leaving nearly a quarter million children at home. Taking into account that a conservative deployment is six months long, each of these military children will experience approximately 180 nights without their deployed parent home for a bedtime story. For military families that totals 40 million missed stories every year.

This is why national nonprofit, United Through Reading (UTR), today announced the launch of their 40 Million Stories campaign which aims to ensure that every military child has the opportunity to receive a bedtime story each night, even when their parent is deployed. UTR’s goal is to continue their work to bridge that 40 million story gap, starting with delivering 10 million stories in 2017.

UTR’s mission to connect military families through the read-aloud experience on video allows military parents to send many of those stories to be enjoyed by their children at home. Last year, military children were able to enjoy more than eight million stories with the help of UTR. But there are still millions of stories to save.

Through the 40 Million Stories campaign, UTR will continue its mission to reduce the stress and anxiety in military children caused by separation; build strong military families through positive parenting by creating storytime routines; encourage literacy development and learning readiness in military children; and promote wellness for service members and military children.

“Family connections are so important, especially when a parent is deployed,, ” said Sally Ann Zoll, Ed.D., CEO of United Through Reading. “Our work allows military parents to nurture and encourage their children’s literacy skills while helping families maintain an emotional bond during the periods of separation, all through a critical shared reading experience.”
Reader’s Digest Foundation is the Founding Sponsor of the 40 Million Stories campaign with a grant of $500,000 over two years to support UTR’s effort to bring 10 million stories home for military families in 2017, and even more stories in 2018.
“There is nothing quite as special as the deep and everlasting bond that forms when a parent reads to his or her child,” says Bonnie Kintzer, President and CEO of Trusted Media Brands and Director and Chairman of Reader’s Digest Foundation. “We feel privileged to partner with United Through Reading to support the 40 Million Stories Campaign and its goal to give all military families the chance to maintain that bond while deployed parents serve our country around the globe.”
For more information on United Through Reading or on the 40 Million Stories campaign, please visit 40millionstories.org or email stories@utr.org.

About United Through Reading
United Through Reading is a non-profit 501 (c)(3) public benefit organization that has served military families for 28 years; its mission is to unite military families facing physical separation by facilitating the bonding experience of reading aloud together. United Through Reading offers service members the opportunity to be video-recorded reading storybooks to children at home which eases the stress of separation, maintains positive emotional connections, and cultivates a love of reading and early childhood literacy. At more than 200 recording locations worldwide, service members can read to the children who are special to them on military bases and outposts, deployed U.S. Navy ships, U.S. Coast Guard cutters and at select USO host sites. Since its inception, more than 2 million military parents, spouses, and children have benefited from the program.


About Reader’s Digest Foundation

Reader’s Digest Foundation, started in 1938, is dedicated to improving children’s literacy and educational success, and to empowering Trusted Media Brands (formerly the Reader’s Digest Association) employees to give back and volunteer in their communities. Reader’s Digest Foundation provides grants to support children’s literacy through its R.E.A.D. Together program. The Foundation also partners with nonprofits to create workplace opportunities for Trusted Media Brands employees to volunteer their time and share their expertise.