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The Reading Promise: My Father and the Books We Shared Audible – Unabridged

4.2 out of 5 stars 95 customer reviews

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By Tina Says VINE VOICE on April 23, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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.
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Format: Hardcover
"You may have tangible wealth untold; Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold. Richer than I you can never be -- I had a Mother who read to me." Strickland Gilliand

I have so much love for this book. As a librarian AND a parent, I know reading aloud is so important in developing a child's love of reading, but more importantly, in developing a CHILD. In an amazing feat, Alice Ozma (love the story behind the name, btw) and her dad read together every day for over 3,000 days- no exceptions. I orginally thought this book would have been about the books that they read during their "streak", but it is actually about the life that they lived during that time, and that's what makes it so enjoyable. At the end of the book there is a list of all of the books they read during the "streak", and perhaps one of my favorite things about that list is that it isn't entirely made up of the classic cannon - there are very modern books on there, including favorites of mine such as Each Little Bird That Sings.

Can't wait to buy my own copy. I'll be recommending this one to lots of friends.
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Format: Hardcover
Once upon a time, a little girl and her father wanted to know if they could read aloud for 100 nights in a row. When they reached that milestone, they decided to keep going. Eventually, when the little girl went to college, the nightly reading stopped after 3,218 nights.

The Reading Promise: My Father and the Books We Shared by Alice Ozma uses those nights of reading as the frame for an episodic memoir that covers life in the Bronzina household from when Ozma is in the third grade to present day.

Her father is a elementary school librarian, and his love of literature is evident the name he gave his younger daughter.

Ozma begins each chapter with a quote from a book she and her father would have read around the time of the incident that anchors the chapter: The Giver for a chapter about the death and funeral of her beloved beta fish; Charlotte's Web for a chapter about watching spiders and summer storms on a porch; Dicey's Song for a chapter about the awkward father-daughter conversations about a growing daughter.

The episodic nature of the book is, in part, the book's downfall. Ozma never spends enough time with pieces of her life that, in a different memoir, could serve as a centerpole. Her mother leaves the family, but it doesn't seem to affect Ozma and her father much other than the two of them trying to figure out what would make an acceptable Thanksgiving dinner. Her older sister pops in and out of the book but doesn't seem to be part of the family.

At times, this isn't a problem. After all, Ozma is telling the story of her relationship with her father. At others, however, the episodes rush by before their importance in Ozma's life is clear. The Reading Promise is Ozma's first published work, and the pacing shows that.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I own the book, and I also listened to the audio with Alice and her father doing the narration. I found the book very enjoyable and at various times found myself laughing or choking back tears. There are important lessons in this book and it is rather well written. It also shines the light on school systems that continue to place a higher value on their athletic departments than on literature and the arts. If you haven't read the book, I will not spoil it for you by saying any more. But, I will say that if the trend that is described in this book continues, our society will continue on its downward spiral into ignorance. I have nothing against sports, but there needs to be a balance, or we are in for some really hard times. That's my opinion, anyway.

I am a bit taken aback by other reviewers who have concocted a rather odd relation between the father and daughter, as opposed to the kind and loving relationship presented in the book. May I suggest some psychotherapy for you? Also, those reviewers who "skipped through the book" trying to find something that interested them says more about them. Perhaps they like abridged books. As someone who reads many books each year, my advice is to read an entire book, or you'll miss some wonderful gems, such as the story about "shaking sheep" found in this book (...oh...you people who "skipped through the book"...you missed that one?).

The bottom line is that this is a different kind of book, and its story is unique, which makes it compelling for me. May I suggest that you buy the book (or the audio) ... and read it ... all of it.
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