podcast website image - draft

Military children face many changes in their young lives, leading to disruptions in routines that can have lifelong implications. They can even fall behind in reading skills, profoundly affecting their academic careers and futures. 

Listen to our Ready for Reading Podcast to learn why military families should establish reading routines with their children and how to make reading fun for the whole family. 


Episode 1: From Decoding to Comprehension: How Reading Aloud Empowers Emergent Readers

In this episode, our host, Penney Letrud-Samons, speaks with United Through Reading's Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships, Molly Haskin, MS CCC-SLP, to discuss the importance of reading aloud and its impact on comprehension. They introduce the concept of P.I.E. and how it relates to reading

See our full show notes here.

A photo of Molly Haskin, guest of the Ready for Reading Podcast

Episode 2: Introducing Our 2024 Book for the Military Child, Ty's Travels: All Aboard

In this episode, Penny Letrud-Samons interviews Kelly Starling Lyons and Niña Mata, the author and illustrator of the book Ty's Travels: All Aboard, which has been selected as the 2024 Book for the Military Child, in conjunction with April’s Month of the Military Child. The Book for the Military Child unites and celebrates military children across the globe through their shared experiences. Kelly Starling Lyons is an award-winning author with over 30 children's books to her name. Niña Mata is an award-winning illustrator known for her diverse artwork.

See our full show notes here.

Author Kelly Starling Lyons is seated on a staircase surrounded by and holding some of the books she wrote.


Episode 1: Meet United Through Reading’s New CEO, Tim Farrell

Listen to new CEO Tim Farrell and host Josie Beets discuss Tim’s background as an Airman, what he’s learned in his post-active duty career working with military nonprofits, and how United Through Reading can offer military families even more opportunities to connect through reading.

See our full show notes here.


Episode 2: Tools for bonding as a military family

Patty Barron is the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy and she joins us in Episode 2 to discuss the programs and resources her office provides to help support military families. She also shares how the DoD is working to make accessing resources even easier through technology. Patty is a military spouse and the mother of a military spouse, so she has a deep understanding of what military family life is like. You’ll hear her share stories about how books influenced her life and how they played a role in raising her military kids.

See our full show notes here.

Patty Barron, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense

Episode 3: What reading as a family looks like at different stages, with Molly Haskin


United Through Reading’s own Molly Haskin, a licensed, certified Speech Language Pathologist, joins Josie to discuss what reading looks like at every reading stage, from newborn all the way through the teen years. You’ll hear fascinating information on everything from the science of reading to how reading with your children can provide helpful information when moving and changing schools.

See our full show notes here.

A photo of Molly Haskin, guest of the Ready for Reading Podcast

Episode 4: Why Military Families Should Read with their Babies and Toddlers

Dr. Dorinda Williams is an infant and early childhood mental health expert with Zero to Three, an organization dedicated to ensuring that all babies and toddlers have a strong start in life. She’s also a military spouse and has spent much of her career working with military families. Dorinda is the author of Over There, a book that can be found on the bookshelves of many military families and a particular favorite here at United Through Reading.

In this interview, you’ll hear what’s going on in a baby’s brain in the early years, why positive early experiences like reading are so important for small kids, and why Dorinda ended up writing her book Over There. You’ll also discover a few great books for our littlest military kids.

See our full show notes here.

dorinda williams zero to three

Episode 5: Best books for military tweens with author Victoria Jamieson


Victoria Jamieson is the author of the graphic novel and New York Times Best Seller Roller Girl, and she joins Josie to discuss how she became an author and illustrator and why graphic novels are great reads for kids. In this interview, you’ll hear Victoria talk about her hit book Roller Girl as well as her most recent book When Stars Are Scattered. Josie and Victoria also share a few more of their best book recommendations for military tweens.

See our full show notes here.

Victoria Jamieson author

Episode 6: Books for military teens with Bloom Military Teens


If you have a military teen, this podcast is a must-listen. Matthew Oh and Elena Ashburn join Josie and share stories on what it’s like to be a military teen and how that led to the creation of their organization, Bloom Military Teens. They also talk about what books they’ve found helpful over the years.

This episode is brought to you by our friends at Veterans United Home Loans. Veterans United Home Loans is dedicated to helping Veterans and military families become homeowners.

See our full show notes here.

Matt and Elena Ready for Reading

Episode 7: Why military parents should be reading to their kids with Marty Martinez, Reach Out and Read


Marty Martinez is the CEO of Reach Out and Read and a champion of children’s health. He and Josie discuss why reading builds connection, and also why that connection and bonding is so important to a child’s healthy development. They also discuss the research on why reading routines are so important for kids and families, and how those little moments of reading matter.

This episode is brought to you by our friends at Veterans United Home Loans. Veterans United Home Loans is dedicated to helping Veterans and military families become homeowners.

See our full show notes here.

Marty Martinez Ready for Reading

Episode 8: How we select books for our military children, with Samantha Hagan Lingad


Samantha Hagan-Lingad, the woman behind our book selection, joins us on this episode with special guest interviewer and Director of Communications, Jessica Hall. They discuss how United Through Reading chooses books for our library, why it’s important for those books to be diverse, and some great titles that you can read to your kids and request from our library, especially for kids in the 4 to 8-year-old age range.

This episode is brought to you by our friends at Veterans United Home Loans. Veterans United Home Loans is dedicated to helping Veterans and military families become homeowners.

See our full show notes here.

Samantha Hagan-Lingad Ready for Reading

Bonus Episode: How ordinary people change the world with author Brad Meltzer


Ever wondered what it takes to change the world? Meet author Brad Meltzer in this special bonus episode of Ready for Reading, hosted by United Through Reading’s CEO, Tim Farrell. Brad’s Ordinary People Change the World children’s book series are always featured on our reading lists because they illustrate just how normal the most accomplished of people were before they became the legends we know today. Listen to Brad discuss his experience with military families, why he wrote these books, and why, especially for military kids, the real heroes are the ones they live with every day.

See our full show notes here.

Podcast Thumbnails

Bonus Episode: Introducing Book for the Military Child, with Laura Steiner


Military children deserve to be celebrated and to connect through their shared experiences. We’re helping grow that connection with each other and between military parents and their children with our new initiative, Book for the Military Child. You’ll hear from our program manager, Laura Steiner, on the book we chose, The Kissing Hand. You’ll also hear from the author of the book, Audrey Penn, along with special guest and longtime military spouse and mom, Melodye Whitesell.

See our full show notes here.

book for military child podcast

Season 2

United Through Reading is back with a new season of Ready for Reading. This podcast is a resource for military families to help strengthen bonds and grow stronger through the magic of reading. This season, we'll introduce you to 8 people who share tips and recommend books to fuel your family's reading routine. So snuggle up and get ready for Season 2 of Ready for Reading!


Episode 1: The importance of routines for military families


Listen to Christy VanVleck, a Navy military spouse and mom, as she shares why she began a reading routine and why she feels it's so important for her family to have a reading routine together. You'll also hear from Dr. Lee Savio Beers, a pediatrician in Washington, DC, a professor of pediatrics at Children's National Hospital, and a former president of the American Academy of Pediatrics (2021). 


The VanVleck family

Beers, Lee

Dr. Lee Savio Beers
Children's National Hospital

Episode 2: How to make reading fun for the whole family


Hear from Navy Lieutenant Commander Graham Van Hook on how his family focuses on routines and how he makes reading time fun. You'll also hear from Alicia Levi, CEO of Reading is Fundamental, on why reading routines matter and tips for reading to your children. 

vanhook reading

The Van Hook Family


Alicia Levi
Reading Is Fundamental

Episode 3: How reading together supports family readiness (and military readiness)


Listen to mom, teacher and Marine Corps military spouse Liz Castro share how reading routines help family readiness and her advice to her fellow military spouses. You'll also hear from Dr. Mark Pisano, a clinical psychologist who has been working with military kids for 39 years, on why connection between military family members is so important and how reading together can help build that connection. 


The Castros

mark pisano

Dr. Mark Pisano
Clinical Psychologist


Download the United Through Reading App today.