United Through Reading is a non-profit that offers active duty military service members the opportunity to pre-record themselves reading books to their children at home. The program's mission is to keep the connection between parents and children strong, all while encouraging literacy and making homecomings easier.


United Through Reading was founded in 1989 in San Diego by a Navy spouse whose child didn't recognize her father when he returned home from Vietnam. Seeing a need, she decided to start United Through Reading and now, the program has over 200 locations worldwide!

Without access to a phone, internet or wifi in remote parts of the world, military families are unable to stay connected. "Whenever we get his video and the book in the mail, it's an awesome day," says Emily Embers. "United Through Reading is a great example of an organization that supports military families," she continues.

United Through Reading has won many awards including being the recipient of the inaugural 2016 Community Service Hero Award from the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, the 2015 American Prize winner of the Library of Congress Literacy Awards Program for nonprofits, and United Through Reading is a designated as a Best In America Charity.

In 2015, with the help of 13,260 volunteer hours, United Through Reading served nearly 100,000 beneficiaries, at 262 recording locations around the world distributing more than 10,000 children's books to military children.

In 2015, military families stayed connected using United Through Reading from:

  • 19 U.S. Air Force and Air National Guard Commands
  • 14 U.S. Army and Army National Guard Commands
  • 26 U.S. Coast Guard Cutters and Commands
  • 17 Joint Commands including Bahrain, Horn of Africa, Guantanamo Bay
  • 44 U.S. Marine Corps Commands and Libraries
  • 4 Medical Commands to include USNS Comfort, Fort Belvoir Warrior
  • Transition Battalion
  • 68 U.S. Navy Commands including Navy Special Warfare
  • 70 USO Host-Sites

This HooplaHa original video was produced by Tracy Chevrier, shot by Greg Grano and edited by Kellie Sieban. To see more good news and military moments, follow us on Facebook and sign up for our Only Good News Newsletter.