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.

Back to School Countdown for Early Elementary Kids

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Kids with backpacksRelaxed summer schedules are ending, and the back to school rush has begun. If your young child is counting down the days until school starts, or has just started back, your household routines are changing and getting back into "school mode."

Here is the first of a four week series to "jump start" school success.

Week One: "Rested, Organized and Ready"

  • Make your child's bedtime five to ten minutes earlier each night, and get started five to ten minutes earlier each morning. This eases children into a set morning routine.
  • Make time for a healthy breakfast. Many studies show that developing brains need that morning fuel to function well.
  • Lay out breakfast dishes, cereal boxes, utensils, etc. the night before to ease the morning rush.
  • Check newspapers and flyers for coupons or sales on school supplies. Stock up on items, used all year, that are discounted now. (Glue sticks, crayons, folders, etc.)
  • Keep backpacks, lunchboxes, books, and needed school supplies in the same designated spot each night. This eliminates morning stress and wasted time looking for misplaced items.
  • If your child is still learning letters, make alphabet practice index cards. Print the capital and lowercase letters together (Aa) as partners. This promotes an easier transition to reading and printing.
  • If your child can recognize some small words, build on that knowledge. For example, if he can read the word "an", add an "r" in front to make the word "ran." Then replace the "r" with other letters that would make new words ("c, d, f," etc.)
  • Practice rhymes and rhyming words. This promotes "phonemic awareness" which is a key element in learning to read.
  • Practice counting small objects (goldfish crackers, cheerios, pennies, etc.) and putting them in a row to correctly match the counting. This is called "one-to-one correspondence," a skill that is important in both math and reading.
  • Visit your local library to borrow books of interest to your child, that you can read together daily.

Look for the series to continue next week with:
Week Two: "Ready, Set, Read!"


#1 Lynn C. 2011-08-05 19:17
Great tips, Mrs McCarthy! I shared them on my facebook page. The bedtime and wake time being 5-10 min early each night will definitely help Mom adjust too! haha

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