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Family Matters Blog: Blogger Touts Reading Program

By Heather Forsgren Weaver
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 25, 2010 – Heather Forsgren Weaver  of American Forces Press Service is a regular contributor to Family Matters. In this blog, Heather urges military families with a deployed parent to take advantage of the United Through Reading program.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
U.S. Marine Cpl. Thomas Crysler, whose first child is due in November, reads a book while being videotaped for the United Through Reading Program while at sea on the USS Ponce, Sept. 23, 2010. Crysler is a radio operator with Service Company, Combat Logistics Battalion 26 of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit.
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Want Your Child to Love Reading?

When I was a little girl there was a set of very special books on the bookshelf in my parent's living room – a set of Disney story books. These books were for special story times when my parents would read to us. I still love Snow White and Cinderella and I am totally addicted to Mickey Mouse. But most of all I love to read.

Those story times which were rare since my father worked three jobs, showed me the worlds that could open up in your imagination by opening a book.

My parents still have that set of Disney books and now as an adult I really look forward to reading them when I visit. Reading that set of Disney books, takes me back to a time when we would laugh our way through an activity.

Reading to your children is important because it will bring them many benefits later in life, such as life-long learning, being active in the community and having an inspiring career. That's what inspired the creators of United Through Reading a program which works with the military to connect deployed parents with their kids through reading.

"Research shows that reading aloud to children appears to be the single most important activity for building earliest emergent reading skills," according to the United Through Reading website.

The program is geared toward the "Sesame Street set," children two to five years old, but it also works well for older children. The deployed parent reads a book aloud to their child while being digitally recorded on DVD. The DVD is then sent to the servicemembers’ child, who can read along with a hard copy of the book in their hands while watching the video. The non-deployed parent or a guardian then takes a picture of the child reading along with the DVD and sends it to the deployed parent.

The servicemember can then start the process by reading another book.

While no one believes that reading via a DVD can take the place of actually reading to your child in person, I think this program is great alternative and I urge all military families to take advantage of it.

To comment on this blog, please visit the Family Matters blog.

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