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.

Turn Your Good Reader into a Good Writer

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Being a good reader does not necessarily mean that a child will be a good writer. Writing stories is a learned skill, and sometimes the best readers are reluctant writers. The key is to start simply, so that the art of writing is not overwhelming to a young child. Here are three simple ideas to help your young child become a comfortable writer:

  • Writing is part of life. From lists, memos, to e-mails, we write every day for a variety of reasons. Share the different methods of everyday writing and encourage your child to become an everyday writer. For example, have her write a "to-do" list for getting ready for school, a list of items that should always be in her backpack, or help her send an e-mail to a relative.

  • Let your child choose cute cards, or postcards to use as "Thank You" notes to family and friends. Not only will this give your child writing practice, it will brighten Grandma’s day!

  • Keep a notebook handy for your child to write easy, non-fiction stories from your family life. For example, when your child says "It was fun at the zoo today," ask "Why don’t you draw a picture of what you liked best?" When their picture is complete, ask questions about it. "What animal is that?" "What did you like about that animal?" Have your child write their answers underneath the picture, or you can scribe it for very young children. Remember to date the page. Then have your child read their words back to you. This can progress from one or two simple sentences to eventually filling the notebook with complete stories about their experiences.


#3 Ann Foster 2012-03-19 08:47
Great ideas, thank you
#2 Lynn Clarke 2011-02-04 00:21
Thanks for publishing these tips! E has just begun to show a real interest in making lists and labeling pictures. I plan to encourage a lot more of that, and see if we can make a book together.
#1 carol williams 2011-02-03 19:33
Labeling the animals drawn in a notebook is a marvelous idea, and having them read their own words back at a later date, like their own "book" also sounds fun and effective, too.
Wish I'd thought of that one!

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