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Dad Reads to Daughter 3,218 Nights in a Row

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Bethany Sanders: When his daughter was in the fourth grade, Jim Brozina offered her a challenge: He wanted to see if the two of them could read together every night for 100 nights in a row. She accepted. When they reached their goal, she said to him quietly, "I think we should try for 1,000 nights." And that's how The Streak was born. According to the New York Times, the Brozinas read a total of 3,218 nights in a row, right up until Kristen's first day of college.

dad reads to daughter many days

It's an amazing feat, especially considering that they both had busy social lives, but the Brozinas say it was more than a personal challenge: It was part of the glue that held them together. The Brozinas had been through a difficult year that included losing both grandparents, sending Kristen's sister off to college and Kristen's mother leaving her father.

"It was just the two of us," Kristen told the New York Times. "The Streak was stability when everything else was unstable. It was something I knew would always be there."

Reading a book together requires coziness and intimacy -- and it's the perfect way to unplug from your busy life and take some time to bond with your child. Here are some tips for getting the most out of reading with your child:

• Find a comfortable spot in the house and make it your own. When one of my kids asks me to read, she heads right for the softest couch in the house, ready to cuddle in. But don't be afraid to read on the go. We keep books in the car for long waits, and I've even been known to share a book over breakfast.

Make reading together part of your daily routine. Even when kids are old enough to read on their own, parents can read books that are above a child's reading level to broaden their vocabulary and imagination. I often read chapter books at bedtime, just for this purpose.

Choose books that are interesting. Those early-reader books are great for reading practice, but it's the story books that really grab kids' attention. The more engaged children are at reading time, the more they'll look forward to it every day.

Read books that you once loved. My kids are finally ready to hear books like "Beezus and Ramona," and I couldn't be more excited. There's just nothing like passing on a great story to the next generation. On the flip side, be sure to let your kids choose, too. The books that they feel connected to might surprise you.

Have fun with it. Make up funny voices, be dramatic, add your commentary and, whenever possible, end the session on a cliffhanger.

Most of us won't find ourselves still reading to our kids on their first day of college, but don't let this important habit go too soon. Headed to the library? Here are some of our favorites for every age and stage:

Babies and Toddlers Aged 0 to 2:
"More More More Said the Baby," by Vera B. Williams
"Moo, Baa, La La La!" by Sandra Boynton
"Uh-oh!" by Rachel Isadora

Toddlers and Preschoolers Aged 3 to 5:
"Orange Pear Apple Bear," by Emily Gravett
"Silly Sally" or "The Napping House," by Audrey Wood
"Cookie's Week," by Cindy Ward

Big Kids Aged 6 to 9:

"Stellaluna," by Janell Cannon
"Bad Kitty Gets a Bath," by Nick Bruel
"The Little House," by Virginia Lee Burton
The "Ramona" books, by Beverly Cleary, or the "Fudge" books, by Judy Blume

Bigger Kids Aged 9 to 12:
"Inkheart" by Cornelia Funke
"The Graveyard Book," by Neil Gaiman
"Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH," by Robert C. O'Brien

"No More Dead Dogs," by Gordon Kormon
"The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian," by Sherman Alexie
"The Reformed Vampire Support Group," by Catherine Jinks

Now tell us about some of your favorite books you share with your kids!

next: It's Your Fault Your Kid Is Violent
4 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous March 23, 2010, 6:50 AM

What a wonderful story!

Mo March 23, 2010, 12:33 PM

I teared up when I read that they read together on for first day of college. Way to go Dad!

adelaide dancing March 23, 2010, 5:00 PM

great story, he gets my vote for father of the year for sure!

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