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Empowering Parents - Al Roker Q&A

Q: As a father of three, what's your best reading advice for parents?
A: Just do it. Read anything to your kids. Find books that you enjoyed as a kid. Chances are they will enjoy them too.

Q: Describe your family's reading ritual(s).
A: We read an ongoing chapter book to Leila and a simpler book to Nicky. Since their bedtimes are about an hour and a half apart, we take turns reading the stories.

Q: Besides stories before bed, how do you encourage your own children to make reading a habit?
A: We try reading street signs, cereal boxes and anything we get our hands on.

Q: Learning to read is a process and children often pass through phases of resistance to reading ("You read it; it's too hard!"). How do (or would) you handle this reluctance?
A: Try and make it a game. And say, "Just one more word, and then I'll do a word."

Q: A friend tells you that their child has said, "Reading is stupid! I hate it!" What advice would you offer your friend?
A: Tell the child, "Mommy and Daddy like reading and we don't think it's stupid. Let's try reading together."

Q: As adults, we understand that reading is important. As if you were speaking to a six-year-old, explain the importance of reading.
A: Reading helps us meet cool people and go to neat places. Without reading we can't figure out where we are or how to put things together. We need to be able to read to have fun and to do our best in school.

Q: What are your top three favorite children's books?
A: "Green Eggs and Ham" (Dr. Seuss); "Raising Dragons" (Jerdine Nolen); and "Please, Baby, Please" (Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee)

Q: Your son is likely still in the age group that still demands repetition. How you handle the "read it again!" dilemma that so many parents dread?
A: We read it twice, maybe three times and then Daddy says, "That's enough for now, let's try another book."

Q: Describe some of the media "tricks of the trade" that you use to make reading more interesting for your children.
A: Making sound effects, using different voices, and asking them to say the words if it's a story they know.

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