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America Supports You: Reading Program, Retailer Help Military Families

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 30, 2005 – A family reading program and a retail giant have joined forces to help deployed military parents stay connected with their children.

Thanks to a partnership by United Through Reading and the Minneapolis-based Target retail chain, the Family Literacy Foundation's read-aloud-by-videotape program -- previously available only to the Navy and Marines -- is opening to all branches of the armed forces.

"United Through Reading enables military parents and their children to continue to share bonds of love," said Betty Mohlenbrock, program founder.

"The program touches children's lives in ways a handwritten letter cannot," she said. "Hearing a parent read to you is one of life's tender mercies. What's really terrific is that the program benefits families by celebrating the primacy of reading, which is crucial to a child's education."

Since its inception during the Persian Gulf War in 1991, United Through Reading has served 100,000 military people and their families. The program offers children a chance to see and hear their parent read a story via videotape or DVD, while the children read along. The spouse at home records the children's reactions and sends the tape overseas.

"Our goal with this initiative is to lessen the strain of separation and increase bonding though the positive, educational experience that reading aloud provides," said Laysha Ward, Target's vice president for community relations. "The program shares synergies with our national initiative 'Ready.Sit.Read!' aimed at fostering a love of reading among children and families."

Since 1989, Family Literacy Foundation, a nonprofit organization, has helped build supportive relationships for children through family and friends reading aloud with them.

(From a news release from Target.)

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Related Sites:
United Through Reading
America Supports You

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