Story time is a part of a nightly routine in households across America. It’s a great time for children to expand their imaginations, connect with their parents and enhance their reading skills. For the Bobletts and other military families however, story time isn’t a given.

Rex Boblett recently returned from his second deployment with the US Navy, which meant 10 months away from his family. While he was gone, he still was able to read to his kids every day by teaming up with United Through Reading, an organization that provides personalized videos of deployed parents reading stories to their children back home.

Statistics tell us that children who don't read over the summer lose more than two months of reading achievement. By sixth grade, those children will be two years behind their peers who don't slide.

During the month of May, in recognition of National Military Appreciation Month, AT&T employees and retirees participated in a virtual book drive for United Through Reading. AT&T committed to providing a $2 to $1 match of funds– adding up to a total contribution of $32,655!

That contribution will support programs like United Through Reading’s STEM the Summer Slide campaign. The “summer slide” is what happens when young minds sit idle during summer break. Statistics tell us that children who don't read over the summer lose more than two months of reading achievement. By sixth grade, those children will be two years behind their peers who don't slide. To prevent the slide, United Through Reading sends a selection of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) themed books to command program sites around the world each summer.

STEM the Summer Slide encourages military parents who are deployed or physically separated from their children to record a United Through Reading video during those months when their kids are most at risk of experiencing a dip in their reading achievement.

The STEM books supplement the stories that parents typically choose to read, and engage older children as well. The selected titles build on a child’s natural curiosity, and encourage imagination and innovation, all while continuing to fulfill the ultimate goal of United Through Reading – to connect separated military parents with their children.

About the Author

Sally Ann Zoll & Ignacio De La Torre

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Sally Ann Zoll, Ed.D., Chief Executive Officer at United Through Reading. Sally serves as the chief guardian and spokesperson for the organization’s vision and mission, builds and sustains relationships with stakeholders and partners, and leads programs, finances, and internal team. In her distinguished career, Sally’s values for education are always evident.

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Ignacio De La Torre serves as Regional Vice President of External Affairs for AT&T and is responsible for legislative and regulatory matters, and community affairs for the San Diego and Imperial counties region. He oversees a team of legislative directors that functions as a governmental liaison to elected and administrative officials in the region. The team works closely with community groups, and civic and business organizations. The team also manages the corporation’s giving and philanthropy, and team members serve as spokespersons on various communications-related matters. A twenty-six year employee of AT&T, Mr. De La Torre has managed professional staffs in network engineering, technical management, marketing and sales.

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