Alice Ozma's memoir, The Reading Promise, had my attention from just the brief snyopis I happened upon months ago. Alice's father, an elementary school librarian (which helps explain how the reading promise was even possible) and Alice decide to challenge themselves to read each night for 100 consecutive days. Once the hundred day challenge is complete, Alice and her dad decide to take it a step further and try to read for 1,000 nights without a break. And, upon completing that challenge, the two continue The Streak (as it is called) until Alice leaves for college nine years later.
While I wish that more of this book would have been about the books that were read, it is really more a memoir of Alice's childhood and a tribute to reading aloud and its importance. Alice's father, Jim Brozina, writes a forward for his daughter full bits I flagged to read and re-read later.
I do read to my daughters each night, yet I will admit that I have skipped some nights because it is too late when we get home from something, or someone is sick, or (and this I feel bad about) we have had some behavior issues and taking bedtime reading away really hits 'em where it hurts. I have also not practiced my reading ahead of time which makes me feel like a slacker compared to Brozina who read ahead each night before reading aloud to Alice.
While this book is a memoir, I would also consider it a tribute to Jim Brozina and his dedication to his daughter. Sadly, Brozina retired before he was ready when the schools he served chose to believe that reading aloud to children was unimportant and unnecesary. Instead of igniting a passion in children for reading, Brozina was supposed to teach computers, and as this book was published, Brozina is now looking to being elected to the school board. To carry on his love of reading aloud, Brozina now visits the elderly in nursing homes and reads aloud to his captive audience.
At book's end there is a list of many of the books that were read aloud during The Streak. Ozma admits not having kept records of what was being read, so it is possible that some titles were inadvertantly omitted. I enjoyed looking through the list and getting a few ideas for my own nightly read alouds. While I need to update my list, I did start a notebook for my girls chronicling the books we read aloud together. My mother, when I told her this, didn't understand the significance of this, yet perhaps someday this list will lead to a memoir about how reading aloud impacted our family.
I loved this book, and even more than that, I loved Jim Brozina, Alice's dad, for his love of reading and his ability to instill this same passion in his own child.
Visit Alice's website, Make A Reading Promise.