Reading Together, No Matter What:
A Message from our CEO on COVID-19
March 16, 2020
In these uncertain times as we all face new challenges presented by COVID-19, we are thinking of our military families who continue to serve. In particular, we have seen National Guard units across the country activated to respond, separating military families yet again in service to the nation. As always, United Through Reading stands ready to support them.
United Through Reading is tracking the evolving situation across the country and around the world. We hope no matter where you are, you are taking care of yourself and your loved ones.
Every year, United Through Reading connects tens of thousands of military families through the read aloud experience, with positive effects on children and parents. But we want every single military family to have the benefit of UTR. This is especially important now.
In order to reach every military family, last year we developed the United Through Reading App, which puts our Story Station in the hands of every military family through your phone. The United Through Reading App is a fun, free, and secure way to stay connected through the read aloud experience.
Servicemembers download the App (through the Apple App Store or Google Play), record a story, share that story and then head to our site to get another book to record and send to family. We hope you can take time to connect with each other through the App, even in these difficult times.
Your support of United Through Reading directly impacts our ability to sustain and communicate our incredible resources to military families, creating connections between parents and children through the read aloud experience. This work is critical and must continue – now more than ever.
Thank you for your support of United Through Reading as we unite military families facing physical separation through the bonding experience of reading aloud, no matter the distance or situation.
Sally Ann Zoll, Ed.D.
Chief Executive Officer
United Through Reading has a critical role in keeping military families connected and resilient while supporting the educational development and emotional wellness of military children during this time of uncertainty and heightened anxiety in our world.
During this time we are:
- Connecting with National Guard and Reserve members through military leadership and Yellow Ribbon Coordinators to promote awareness and encourage use of our App as a way to stay connected safely and securely while many are deployed in response to COVID-19 across the country.
- Working with our volunteers at our open Story Stations, primarily those embedded in military units, to ensure that they have the supplies needed as deployments are impacted by the military stop order, including quarantines prior to leaving for and upon returning from deployments.
- Working with publishing partners, like Elva Resa Publishing, to provide PDF versions of books for service members to read if they do not have access to physical books. Elva Resa also generously donated copies of these books that United Through Reading can send to families who receive a digital recording of their books through the app. If you would like to utilize the PDF books, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
- Serving as a resource to military families with ways to use United Through Reading during this time, including a list of books to read to help children cope with COVID-19, and our favorite celebrity readers right now.
- Joined COVID-19 Military Support Initiative (CMSI) with partners including the Association of Defense Communities (ADC), Blue Star Families, and participants of the White Oak Collaborative.
United Through Reading in the News
How United Through Reading Makes Storytime Special – Military.com
How to Connect Grandparents and Family Through Story Time – We Are The Mighty
Creating Family Connections Through Literature – Fort Meade Soundoff
22 Easy Ways to Keep Kids Occupied During Lockdown – Jo, My Gosh
7 Resources to Help Your Military Child Adjust to Military Life – MilSpouseFest