United Through Reading was founded in 1989 by Betty Mohlenbrock, the wife of a Naval flight surgeon who was deployed when their daughter was a baby. When Betty’s husband returned, their daughter didn’t recognize him and it took time to rebuild their bond. Betty was also a reading specialist with a master’s degree in education who continually saw children entering school at a disadvantage because they had little or no exposure at home with the alphabet, new words or books.
Through these two experiences a concept emerged for Betty. What if she could help parents and children stay connected during separations by enabling them to read together using video recordings? Separated families could sustain family bonds while enjoying the educationally beneficial tradition of reading together.
More than twenty-five years later the concept has proven itself again and again. Service members are reading to their children on video from United Through Reading sites around the world. More than two million mothers, fathers, and children have sustained family bonds and built literacy skills by reading stories together across long distances.