When military families experience a separation due to deployment or training, research shows military children can experience higher levels of emotional difficulties than the general population. In fact according to longitudinal studies of military families by RAND, one third of the military children from active-duty families reported symptoms of anxiety. When a military families utilize United Through Reading (UTR) toxic stress and anxiety are reduced making it easier on the children and families to cope while their service members are away.
A National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine study states parenting practices associated with positive child outcomes in emotional, behavioral, cognitive and social competence include both routines and shared book reading, both of which UTR provides in military homes. When families read bedtime stories each night with United Through Reading videos, military families are strengthened through positive parenting.
Reading aloud with military children on a regular basis through UTR videos encourages early literacy and language skills, vocabulary development and growth, and fosters a love of reading that promises they will be lifelong readers.
The Defense Center of Excellence (DCoE) contends that communication, closeness, emotional ties, support, and nurturing are all factors that promote positive psychological health; United Through Reading encourages all of these factors through the read-aloud experience and connection, promoting psychological health and wellness for the service member, caregivers, and military child.
"I loved how (United Through Reading) allowed me to connect with my daughter during this year-long assignment. I had made a habit since she was born to read to Lillian every day, so this program enabled me to continue that from afar," said Danielle Wilson.
At United Through Reading we are focused on keeping military families connected, which means we encourage military families to use a range of tools for this purpose, such as video chat, email, social media, and phone calls. We also know that there are challenges associated with these tools as well, which is why we encourage using all of these tools alongside United Through Reading recordings.
Why? Because a United Through Reading video-recording is always:
RELIABLE when internet connections aren't.
REPEATABLE for kids to watch again and again.
ACCESSIBLE to children at any time they need their service member.
United Through Reading helps service members overcome the following challenges, such as it is hard to sync schedules from far away time zones, and not always having access to a strong, reliable internet connection, sometimes for months at a time.
Even when families can overcome the difference in time zones and schedules align, young children don't always have the attention span needed to focus on video chat.
And, as much as service members would like to establish a schedule for reaching their loved ones, their missions in a combat zone or operational activities may not allow them because of time and safety reasons.
Having United Through Reading storytime recordings on hand means that children can spend quality time with their loved one anytime they want, on their schedule.
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