When Jim Brozina’s wife abandoned her husband and their 10-year-old daughter Alice, the only thing they had left was each other. Although they had always been close, as his little girl grew older, the single father became increasingly concerned he and his daughter would eventually drift apart.
“You know after 4th grade they start looking at their friends…”
So the Millville, New Jersey dad came up with a brilliant idea to keep his little girl close by his side.
It was an idea that would bring Jim and his daughter closer than any parent could imagine.
The retired librarian challenged his daughter to a reading challenge. They had to read together as many nights in a row as possible—he called it “The Streak.”
So right before bed, Jim read to his daughter Alice at least one chapter a night, every single night, and the rule was he had to finish before midnight.
They started with chapter books, then moved on to novels and classic English literature. They covered everything from The Wizard of Oz to Harry Potter and Macbeth.
It would turn out to be the highlight of Jim’s day—every single day.
“It was our way of being connected,” he said.
“If I got that done and nothing else, that was the important thing of the day that had gotten done.”
The fun, animated, lively reading brought new life to Alice’s world. Like her dad, it was the one thing the little girl looked forward to every single day. Although it was often only 15 minutes, it had a huge impact on Alice.
“You wouldn’t think 15 minutes a day wouldn’t be that fundamental but it turned out thats what everything went back to,” Alice said.
“It was like, my life.”
The father and daughter read every single night together for 9 years—even throughout high school.
So while her classmates were out at parties trying to avoid going home or scheming for a way to sneak out of their house, Alice tried to make it home on time every single night before midnight to read at least one chapter with her dad.
They read until her first day at Rutgers University in New Jersey, where she ended up graduating at the top of her class with a degree in English Literature.
It was a bittersweet moment for the dad and daughter—when they read together for the last time in the stairway of her college dorm.
“It was a hard thing to bear to know that after almost 9 years that we were now doing the last time.”
It’s simple but perhaps therein lies the power and strength.
Alice is so grateful for her dad’s dedication throughout the years—she called her dad “selfless.” It colored her life and made her childhood magical.
Now, thanks to all the reading her dad did to her for nearly 9 years of her childhood, Alice reads to him a book she wrote herself about her dad and their special bond called The Reading Promise: My Father and The Books We Shared.
And Jim, now reads to senior citizens in nursing homes, continuing to share the joy of reading to anyone who will listen.