Dad and Daughter Go On Nine-Year Bedtime Story Streak

Single dad Jim Bronzina and his 9-year-old daughter Kristen began a nightly reading streak that didn't stop until she entered college.

If you’ve got kids, you’ve probably read them plenty of bedtime stories. But as they get older, they get less interested—they’d rather watch a movie or go to a sleepover than hear another word about Dorothy and the Tin Man. So before you know it, you’ve said goodbye to story time for good.

Jim Bronzina, a single dad from Millville, New Jersey, saw that happen with his older daughter. So he vowed to keep storytime going with his younger daughter, Kristen, by turning it into an adventure. When Kristen entered fourth grade, Jim suggested a challenge: could they read together for 100 straight days without missing a single storytime?

Jim and Kristen fulfilled their mission with no problem, so Kristen decided to raise the stakes on what became known as “The Streak”: “I think we should try for 1,000 nights,” she told her dad.

Jim was thrilled at the idea, but dubious that they’d be able to complete it. “And then we got to 1,000, and we said, ‘How can we stop?’ ” he told The New York Times.

So, for more than nine years, Jim read to his daughter every single day. As Kristen grew older, the reading material changed from picture books to Harry Potter to Charles Dickens. And even when activities like Kristen’s community theatre group kept her out late, her father never let her miss a reading session, showing up to read to her between scenes. The Streak didn’t end until Kristen finally left home to begin college several years ago.

Even though both Kristen and her father love books, The Streak was about more than that: in the year before The Streak began, Kristen’s mother left, her two surviving grandparents died, and her sister went off to college. “The Streak was stability when everything else was unstable,” said Kristen. “It was something I knew would always be there.”

And now, even though The Streak is officially over, its legacy will live on. Jim has kept 700 of his daughter’s favorite books, which he’ll give to her one day so that she can begin The Streak with her own children. Hopefully, they’ll carry the tradition on as well.

“It’s a means for me to touch generations I’ll never see,” said Jim. “They’ll all be smart. I can’t imagine these books will never be used. Every single one of them is so good.”