5 Techniques to Incorporate United Through Reading in School Days

August 24, 2020

As the school year begins and families deal with new school experiences, United Through Reading is here to provide help!

UTR recordings not only keep service members and veterans connected to their loved ones during times apart, but also help children grow their love of reading. In fact, 90 percent of families reported an increase in a child’s love of reading after watching UTR video-recordings.

Service members can actively participate in a student’s schoolwork, whether deployed around the world or going into work a few miles from home, acting as an additional support to those at home facilitating schooling, and helping the student complete important daily reading time.

The best part! Our recordings can be sent and watched by ANY of your loved ones – so make recordings for your nieces, nephews, grandkids, godchildren, and family friends and be a part of their learning experience too.

Tips for Service Member Making UTR Recording


Help Them Reach their Next Reading Level

Our comprehensive book list offers books for babies to teens; no matter how old the child is, we’ve got them covered!

For early readers, look for books that they may know that will reinforce sight words on each page. Or check out our leveled reading books to pick a book that’s just right for them.

When you make a recording, be sure to point out words on the page and emphasize how to pronounce new words to help them learn even more as you read together.

For middle and high school students, our chapter books are a great option. Don’t worry about reading the entire book in one sitting. Read a chapter at a time, or read every other chapter, to encourage them to fill in the blanks between your recordings.

Next time you are home with the child or talking to them on a video chat, ask them about the books that you’ve been reading together. These conversation starters are a great way to stay connected when you’re apart. Moreover, this ensures you always have a topic ready to go, a benefit that might help bridge the conversation when they may not want to talk about school or the other activities that they are missing right now.

Supplement Their Lessons

Select a book from our list that will help introduce and reinforce the lessons that your child is studying in school. This is a great way to stay involved in the schoolwork and expand what they are learning.

Are they learning about the lunar landing and space exploration? Read Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly, Chasing Space by Leland D. Melvin, My Journey to the Stars by Scott Kelly, or You Should Meet Mae Jemison by Laurie Calkhoven.

What about the periodic table? We’ve got you covered with I Am Marie Curie by Brad Meltzer, who discovered a new element!

How about a lesson on marine life? Check out National Geographic Readers: Weird Sea Creatures by Laura F. Marsh to add to what you’re learning in the classroom.

Interested in biographies? Our book list includes a number of non-fiction and historical fiction to engage every child’s interest.

Is your child learning a second language? Does your family speak multiple languages at home? We have a number of bilingual books on our book list to supplement their learning!

Grow Your Home Library

Through the United Through Reading App you can request FREE books to record with our app. This is a great way to add new books to your home library and create new memories together as a family.

Recreate the experience of visiting the library for your child, and have them help you select your next recording by looking through our book list. Then order your FREE copy of the book and make your recording for them to read along with you during their day.

Additionally, make a variety of recordings so that the child can pick which book they want to read that day, whether for their reading time, bedtime story, or just to see and hear their service member.

For the parent at home


Use In Conjunction With Daily Reading Time

Most children are used to multiple opportunities to read in the classroom environment; luckily academic experiences such as “read to self” time and “guided reading” can be supported by a UTR recording. Literary evidence shows that listening to a book provides the same benefits as visual reading, and can even help with assistance in identifying and decoding new words thanks to the auditory cues provided from the recording.

UTR has long helped military children in their literacy journeys – helping kids like nine-year-old Emmalynn Boblett learn to read alongside her dad while he is on the other side of the world. She shares, “United Through Reading has helped me to read better. I have trouble reading because I am dyslexic. When daddy reads to me I can listen to the words and I can follow along by looking at the pictures and words in the book.”

Turn the recording on for your daily reading time and have your child follow along with the service member with the book.

Use for Reading Comprehension

A UTR recording can be used to support important reading comprehension activities to ensure that children are able to identify the main topics and supporting details in a story. UTR recordings provide a relevant and technologically savvy way to assist a child in their development of reading skills.

Reading comprehension can be directly targeted by using the UTR books as their source for book reports or other presentations on the subject matter. Incorporate additional technology, like a google slides presentation, to add a visual component to a traditional book report, and encourage the child to do research on a component of the book to further the learning experience.

How are you using your United Through Reading recordings right now? Tell us in our new survey or email stories@utr.org.