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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.

Keep Your Child Reading All Summer

Keep Your Child Reading This SummerOne successful reading strategy I’ve used in 1st grade is pairing students with a 5th grade “reading buddy.” We would meet with our buddies once a week. Sometimes the older student would read to the younger one. Other times, the 1st graders would read to the 5th graders. Often, there was a discussion about the book, followed by a drawing or simple project related to the story. It’s always sad to lose our buddies at the end of the school year!

With summer vacation coming soon, this concept got me thinking about ideas to keep students reading all summer long.

Here are six simple suggestions:

  • Pair up your young child with an older sibling or trusted neighborhood student for some summer “buddy” reading time. One way to thank that older child is a gift card to a local ice cream shop or game shop.
  • Create a special “reading spot” for rainy days. This could be a bean bag chair, soft large pillow, or sheet over a table for a reading tent. Keep a small basket of books by his favorite author in the spot.
  • Focus on illustrations that tell the story. Young students love wordless books that tell a great story with pictures. Get some of these from your local library. Two authors that create these types of books are Frank Asch and Mercer Mayer. Your librarian can suggest more.
  • Focus on award-winning books. Ask your librarian to help you look for books that have won the Caldecott Medal or Newbery Award. Read them together with your child, and discuss what she thinks made them award-winners.
  • Read some child cookbooks and together make one or two of the easy recipes.
  • Have a family “read aloud” night. Take turns reading a family favorite book aloud.

When you combine reading practice with fun activities, you help create a lifelong love of reading!

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