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2 Burnside Reference- Reading

The Reading Promise: My Father and the Books We Shared

by

The Reading Promise: My Father and the Books We Shared Cover

ISBN13: 9780446583770
ISBN10: 0446583774
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

When Alice Ozma was in 4th grade, she and her father decided to see if he could read aloud to her for 100 consecutive nights. On the hundredth night, they shared pancakes to celebrate, but it soon became evident that neither wanted to let go of their storytelling ritual. So they decided to continue what they called The Streak. Alice's father read aloud to her every night without fail until the day she left for college.

Alice approaches her book as a series of vignettes about her relationship with her father and the life lessons learned from the books he read to her.

Books included in the Streak were: Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, the Oz books by L. Frank Baum, Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, and Shakespeare's plays.

Review:

"Named for two literary characters ('Alice' from Lewis Carroll and 'Ozma' from L. Frank Baum), the author is the daughter of a Philadelphia-area elementary school librarian. Father and daughter embarked on a streak of reading-out-loud sessions every night before bed as Ozma was growing up. At first they decided on 100 nights straight of reading before bed — a minimum 10 minutes, before midnight, every night, no exceptions — then it stretched to 1,000, and soon enough the author was headed to college and they had spent eight years straight reading before bedtime, from Oz stories to Shakespeare. Reading with her father offered a comforting continuity in the midst of her mother's disquieting move away from the family, her older sister's absence as a foreign exchange student, and the parsimoniousness of her single father. Ozma's account percolates chronologically through her adolescence, as father and daughter persevered in their streak of nightly reading despite occasional inconveniences such as coming home late, sleepovers (they read over the phone), and a rare case of the father's laryngitis. Ozma's work is humorous, generous, and warmly felt, and with a terrific reading list included, there is no better argument for the benefits of reading to a child than this rich, imaginative work. (May)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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About the Author

Alice Ozma, a recent Rowan University graduate, currently lives in the Rittenhouse Square area of Philadelphia, PA. She is passionate about literature, education, and working with children. Find out more about this author by visiting her website: www.makeareadingpromise.com.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Michael Kane, January 2, 2012 (view all comments by Michael Kane)
Just finished devouring Ozma's The Reading Promise from New Year's Eve day through New Year's Day (with the obligatory break for celebration and sleep).

Amazing work by one so young - but a wonderful read with a promise that should be made by all parents with small children - to read to them as long as possible. My wife and I laughed and cried in many places throughout the volume as I read aloud those portions I knew she would also remember as having done with our daughter when she was young. As Alice's father watched her grow and mature, we watched our daughter learn to read and enjoy all types of books from this early time until now. She, as we are, is never without a book and enjoys reading as much as we do. She also became a reader because we never denied her when she expressed interest in picking up any one of the works we have in our extensive library (since it saved her the time to actually go to the school or public library). The only caveats stated were that words that were not understood she had to reference in a dictionary, and she had to ask about any concepts that she did not understand - which we always answered promptly and properly.

I sent an email to all the members of the local school board recommending the book, and also indicating that all teachers and librarians should make and keep "The Reading Promise" that is referenced at the end of the book - something I would also encourage all parents, grandparents and readers of this post to do.
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Tammy Dotts, June 8, 2011 (view all comments by Tammy Dotts)
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.

A reading list at the end of the book details most of the books the two read during what the referred to as “the streak.” It’s full of classic children’s books that most readers have encountered at one point or another.
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. You want to stop her as she’s writing and encourage her to put more words on paper, to spend more time with an episode. The scenes are probably vivid in her memory, and her writing is engaging so readers want to spend more time with the scenes. Unfortunately, Ozma is on to the next one far too quickly.

One of the stronger points of the book is her writing style. In the beginning chapters, the voice is that of a younger child, capturing who Ozma was at the time. Sometimes, she can come across as precocious, one of the kids you only see in sitcoms, but by the end of the book, it’s clear that Ozma was an intelligent child and, although some of the dialogue may be a fantasized version of how she spoke as a child, it fits with the picture of who the author is.

Readers expecting a close discussion of children’s literature and how it affected Ozma may be disappointed. The nightly reading is just a framework for stories about growing up. What does come through is her father’s love of reading and the importance both he and Ozma place on reading to children and making a place for literature in the home.

Ozma ends the book with a sudden, almost academic paragraph on the need for a commitment to reading in modern life. It feels out of place; after she had done a decent job in showing the need, she doesn’t need to explain it.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780446583770
Subtitle:
My Father and the Books We Shared
Author:
Ozma, Alice
Author:
Brozina, Jim
Publisher:
Grand Central Publishing
Subject:
Biography - General
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20120305
Binding:
Paperback
Language:
English
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
8.5 x 5.75 x 1 in 0.92 lb

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
Health and Self-Help » Child Care and Parenting » Single Parenting
Humanities » Literary Criticism » General
Reference » Books on Books
Reference » Reading

The Reading Promise: My Father and the Books We Shared Used Hardcover
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$6.95 In Stock
Product details 320 pages Grand Central Publishing - English 9780446583770 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Named for two literary characters ('Alice' from Lewis Carroll and 'Ozma' from L. Frank Baum), the author is the daughter of a Philadelphia-area elementary school librarian. Father and daughter embarked on a streak of reading-out-loud sessions every night before bed as Ozma was growing up. At first they decided on 100 nights straight of reading before bed — a minimum 10 minutes, before midnight, every night, no exceptions — then it stretched to 1,000, and soon enough the author was headed to college and they had spent eight years straight reading before bedtime, from Oz stories to Shakespeare. Reading with her father offered a comforting continuity in the midst of her mother's disquieting move away from the family, her older sister's absence as a foreign exchange student, and the parsimoniousness of her single father. Ozma's account percolates chronologically through her adolescence, as father and daughter persevered in their streak of nightly reading despite occasional inconveniences such as coming home late, sleepovers (they read over the phone), and a rare case of the father's laryngitis. Ozma's work is humorous, generous, and warmly felt, and with a terrific reading list included, there is no better argument for the benefits of reading to a child than this rich, imaginative work. (May)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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