SchoolFamily Voices

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.

Instilling a Love of Reading at Home

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Reading enjoyment begins at home. Parents can be a powerful influence on ensuring their child has a lifelong love of reading.

Here are 10 easy steps to subtly reinforce the joy of reading:

  • Set the example. Each time a child sees a parent, grandparent, or caregiver reading for pleasure, that child recognizes that reading is important.
  • Set aside at least 15 minutes a day to read aloud with your child.
  • When reading with a young child, use your index finger to “sweep” under the words. This trains the child’s eye to read in the proper left-to-right progression.
  • Add to the enjoyment and excitement of a good story by using different voices for different characters.
  • Pay attention to punctuation. With your voice, emphasize question marks and exclamation points at the end of sentences.
  • Help your child find books about a favorite animal, interest, sport, etc. A subject of interest will spark a desire to read and learn more about it. Baseball cards, comic books, recipes, newspapers, magazines, and the like all offer alternative ways to practice reading.
  • Co-read—take turns reading pages to each other. This will hold your child’s attention, especially with a book that might be longer than she usually reads.
  • Ask questions that help predict outcomes, such as “What do you think will happen next?” Or, “If you could write a different ending for the story, what would it be?”
  • Reduce distractions. Turn off the television and computer. Turn house and cell phones to silent when reading together.
  • Have a family DEAR night—“Drop Everything and Read!”

By incorporating reading as part of your family routine, you can get your child hooked on the joy of reading!


#2 Early Learning Furniture 2014-09-11 11:08
I'm glad you mentioned a variety of reading sources like baseball cards instead of just books, as this incorporates their own interests into reading, not just reading for reading's sake. I think it can also be really helpful to make books and other reading resources easily accessible, so children's bookcases in their rooms, at their heights, so they can choose to read when they would like without an adult as well.
#1 robin schafer 2014-08-29 14:22
I agree that parents need to start reading with children early. Parents
should read also, to set a good example. If children see their parents reading a lot , that can encourage them to read, too.
Parents should also start early in teaching their children emotional intelligence skills which will help make their children successful and happier. Children need to learn about feelings and how to respond to troubling events properly. Parents are perfect role models since they are with their children most. Robin Schafer

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Do you allow your children to watch TV or play on the computer before doing their homework?