Connie McCarthy is passionate about her work as a teacher of young children. She has devoted her entire career to making sure that her students do well at school, right from the start. Connie has an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education, and a Master’s Degree in Special Education. She has been teaching first grade in East Providence, R.I. for 23 years, where she received the distinction of “Highly Qualified Teacher” by the Rhode Island State Board of Regents. Connie also taught nursery school for four years, and published numerous articles on early education in East Bay Newspapers in Bristol, R.I. She’s also been published in PTO Today Magazine. She lives with her husband, Brian, and has a daughter and a son, both young adults. Connie enjoys reading, writing about elementary education, and taking long walks with friends. During summer vacations, she likes to travel with her husband. She also loves reading readers’ comments on her weekly blog posts.
In preparation for my school’s annual “Reading Week,” I asked my 1st grade students to name their favorite kindergarten books, and tell me why they liked them. Their answers were impressive. Here are their thoughtful recommendations:
A Snowy Day, one student offered, because, “It always reminds me of how much fun it is to play in the snow, and how delicious hot chocolate is.”
Three students liked the I Spy books. One commented, “I like being a detective.” Another said, “I’m always happy when I find things in the book, and every time I read it, I get better and better at finding things.
One boy’s favorite book was Where’s Waldo? “It reminded me of when I got separated from my dad in [a] Lowes [store] and had to find him!” Another liked Where’s Waldo in Hollywood, because “I’m really good at it!
One boy’s favorite was Shark. “I really like learning about nature,” he said.
Another chose Danny and the Dinosaur, because, “I like fiction and I wish I had a dinosaur for a friend!”
One young man’s choice was Dog in Boots. “I have a dog, and he always hides in boots, too!”
Two girls loved One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. “It helped me learn about numbers and colors,” they both said.
Two boys agreed that Cat in the Hat was their favorite. They thought that “Dr. Seuss was so funny,” and they loved stories that made them laugh.
Two children liked Little Brown Bear, because they both have “tons” of stuffed bears!
One student’s favorite was The Mitten. “It made me think of when I lost my mittens,” she said.
One student remembered her love of Tales of Brer Rabbit. She proudly said, “It’s funny and good, and I got to take it home because I could read it.”
Three children loved “All the Berenstain Bears books,” because, as one said, “The Bear family is just like my family.”
Discussing favorite kindergarten books with my 1st graders has reinforced one of my lifelong beliefs. That is, if you are looking for a good book, talk to someone who reads books… and truly enjoys them!