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.

Easy Vacation Memories

One of the easiest ways to help your child practice writing this summer is to make a "Vacation Memory Book."

If you are going away on vacation, or just taking short day trips to the beach with your child this summer, this is a fun and simple project.

Here's what you will need:

  • An inexpensive, disposable camera from Wal-Mart, CVS, or any convenience store, or printable photos from your cell phone.
  • A blank notebook

Together with your child, take pictures of fun at the beach or other things of interest on a family vacation.


  • Have the photographs printed.
  • Let your child choose the photos he or she likes best.
  • Place the photos in the order the events occurred.
  • Paste the photos on the top of the notebook page, one photo per page.
  • Together, talk about the photo, and what was happening when it was taken.
  • Let your child write underneath the picture on the notebook page, just what the photo is showing. For example, "Here is a picture of the Statue of Liberty."
  • Or, you can help your child write the comments, if writing is too difficult for them.
  • Don't forget to date the pages.

Using photographs helps your child create a mental "picture" to go with the words. Putting the photos in sequence helps your child organize their writing. The end result is a wonderful summer memory book to be read again and again!

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