Reviewed by Alyssa Katanic

Do you remember those special adults in your life that read out loud to you when you were a child? It may have been a parent, a teacher, a grandparent, or that babysitter who never let you watch television, but always came with a tote bag full of great picture books. Do you have a little one in your life to whom you read? Do you realize the impact that reading out loud has on a child’s life? In The Reading Promise, Alice Ozma shows her readers just how big an impact reading did have on her childhood and her relationship with her father.

Research has shown that many children begin to loose their interest in books around fourth grade. This also happens to be the time when many parents stop reading out loud to their children. Perhaps, as a librarian in a public school, Alice’s father recognized this. At any rate, when his own daughter hit nine years old, he feared the words: “Daddy, I’m too big for bedtime stories.” So he made a pact with his daughter to read together every day for 100 straight days. Soon, 100 days became 1000, and 1000 became nine straight years until the day that he dropped his little girl off at college (to study Literature, no less). Not one day of reading was missed!

Their reading was a rich and fun time to share together, but it was also an important vehicle through which this father could comfort and encourage his daughter through her mother walking out, the death of grandparents, and the ups and downs of adolescence and teenage years. In fact, Alice’s father was often able to choose books in which the characters faced similar situations to their own or exhibited characteristics, like strong female leadership, that he wished to instill in his daughter.

It was very encouraging to see such a positive and devoted father/daughter relationship, but there is also an underlying message. The Reading Promise encourages everyone who is able to read to find another someone to read to and to protect the art of reading out loud to children in schools and library programs. At the end of the book, Alice Ozma includes a written Reading Promise for others to sign for themselves, as well as a reading list of books that she and her father had enjoyed together.

The Reading Promise is an enjoyable book for those of us who grew up with great reading memories, for parents, and for anyone who works with or has a relationship with children. It will encourage its readers to start their own reading routines or to take our routines a step further by not going to bed without having read out loud to someone you love.

Rating: 4/5

Alyssa is a wife and stay at home, homeschooling mother of five, with two boxers, two cats, a soft shelled turtle named after Bob the Builder, and 7 frogs (admittedly a homeschooling project gone froggy). In all her spare time, she loves to read and believes that there is no such thing as having too many books!

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Grand Central Publishing. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.