Monday, October 17, 2011

The Reading Promise: My Father and the Books We Shared by Alice Ozma

When Alice was in the fourth grade, she made a deal with her librarian father that they would read out loud for one hundred nights straight. They accomplished this, and then decided to continue "the Streak." They ended up reading each night together for minimum of ten minutes until the night that her father dropped her off at college.

Each chapter starts with a quote from a book that they read together, and then offers some story about Ozma's growing up years.

I'm a big fan of literacy. I'm a fan of parents reading to their children. It gives kids a good head start on learning how to read, and is just good overall academically. Plus, what kid doesn't want to snuggle up to their parents and hear a good story and look at pictures?

My sister is a reading teacher (and she's the one who taught me to read!), so I hear all about the problems that kids have when they aren't read to at home and aren't familiar with how books and words work and sound.

My mom read to me before bedtime until I was in junior high, and I can still name all of the chapter books she read to me. And look at me now! I have a book blog! =D

Anyway, I liked the book's spirit and its message. However, the execution was lacking. Ozma includes a lot of dialogue between her and her dad which didn't seem true-to-life. Or maybe they are just very smart and clever conversationalists who always have witty comments to make. So those conversations seemed fake to me. Also, each chapter jumped to a new topic, so there wasn't so much cohesion to the entire narrative besides the fact that her dad was reading to her every night. Each chapter beginning was disorienting (especially since they usually start with dialogue) and it would take me a little bit to figure out what she was talking about.

Ozma seems like a really sweet, generous, and thoughtful person, and I think she has more books in her. With some maturing and experience, I think her next books will be better. I applaud her father and her for promoting reading and taking it so seriously.

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