Charlotte Richter / Staff Writer
Nonprofit program United Through Reading has partnered with Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation to provide story stations at every post library. The story station at the Combined Arms Research Library now through Sept. 30 is a designated area with a rocking chair, backdrop and tri-pod to encourage service members to record themselves reading a book to family members or friends using the UTR app.
The intent is to virtually help connect service members with their loved ones in an exclusive reading experience, especially during moments of separation. To use the app, users create an account using ID.me and follow instructions to record. Videos are then uploaded into an archive in the app and e-mailed to whomever the user
specifies for future playback. The recording process takes about five to 20 minutes de- pending on the length of the book and the reading style of the user.
“It’s all free — free app, free books, free everything,” said Trisha Black, UTR program assistant.
Black said her family has often used the app when her husband, Capt. Adam Black, Command and General Staff Officer Course student, has been deployed or TDY, and the
stories have since become a routine with their children.
“The more you do it, the more natural it is for them, and the more they look forward to it,” Black said. “Your voice is like your fingerprint. There’s nothing like it in the world, it’s unique to you, and even if your kids aren’t readers, just hearing your voice every day is
going to give them that special connection.”
UTR has provided the library with three different children’s books — appropriate for
reading levels ranging from age 2 to 12 and older — that are available as a gift for users of the story station.
UTR app users can request that free books be delivered to children at home and service members away for read-along storytimes. UTR has a selection of more than 200 titles and considers additional requests. Families are also encouraged to explore options in the library.
“We have over 15,000 books in our Children’s Room,” said Sierra Hochstatter, CARL community library technician. “This includes board books, easy picture books, beginning readers, chapter books, graphic novels, biographies and non-fiction collections.”
Following UTR guidelines, UTR app participation is available to active-duty service members, Reservists and retirees. UTR acknowledges the importance of storytime vid-eos for everyone at home and abroad and also offers UTR app access to international service members with a Non-classified Internet Protocol Router Network account.
For more information, visit https://unitedthroughreading.org/.