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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.

3 Skills Critical to Common Core Success

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As a mentor for new teachers, I spend a lot of time discussing the three important skills young students need to learn before starting with Common Core phonics and early math. I call this my “Triangle Base.” These three core skills serve as a solid foundation for children to advance their Common Core studies.

The core skills in the Triangle Base are:

  • Rhyming
  • One-to-one correspondence
  • Patterns

Rhyming is so important because it promotes phonemic awareness, the ability to hear sounds in spoken language.

Knowing one-to-one correspondence is fundamental for both reading and math. In math, it means seeing the number 8, for example, and accurately pointing to and counting out eight objects. In reading, it means pointing to and saying what you’re seeing.

Recognizing and understanding both visual and auditory patterns are key indicators of reading and math fluency. An example of a visual pattern could be tile placement on a wall or floor. An auditory pattern could be the “e, i, e, i, o” in the song “Old MacDonald.”

The Triangle Base makes an excellent foundation because the skills also incorporate multiple intelligence styles. In other words, they encompass visual, auditory, and kinesthetic (hands-on) learners. So however your child learns best, he’ll be able to enhance and expand learning.

To practice these skills at home, parents should start by reading lots of nursery rhymes. Play “pattern” games by looking and listening for patterns inside and outside. Help your child practice counting objects in a row, pointing to the object as she says the number. When reading together, both you and your child should point to words you are saying. This subtle practice will help your child construct a solid Triangle Base, which is so important for success in Common Core classrooms.


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