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.

3 Strategies To Build Strong Reading Skills

When a young student starts to read, it’s a very exciting time for parents! But progressing from a beginning reader to a good reader takes time, practice, and knowing and using certain strategies.

Here is a list of three simple strategies to practice with your child that will promote good reading.

1.   Have her use the pictures in a story multiple ways:

  • To predict what might happen before reading
  • To figure out an unknown word or sentence
  • To see what makes sense in the story


2.    Have him use what he knows about the sound/letter connection:

  • Look for beginning, middle, and ending sounds to figure out new words
  • Look for word “chunks” or word “families” to decode unfamiliar words
  • Blend letter sounds to figure out a tricky word (for example, the “br” in bring)


3.    Look for meaning in the story and check for comprehension:

  • When reading, have him skip an unknown word, read to the end of the sentence, then think about what word would make sense
  • Periodically, have him stop and make mental “pictures” of what he’s reading
  • After reading, have him sequence and summarize events from the story; this can be done by telling, writing, and/or drawing


These strategies help beginning readers systematically build on their prior knowledge to become good readers!


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