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.

Ways To Help Your Child Become an Early Reader

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What makes a child become an early reader?

As a 1st grade teacher, I’ve helped many young children learn to read. In the process, certain patterns have emerged. It’s more than decoding sounds and words—it’s feeling excitement about a good story, learning about things of interest, or realizing that a book can take a reader to extraordinary places or create wonderful adventures!

I’ve also noticed that some children come to school better prepared to tackle the challenges of reading than others. These are the children who get “hooked” on reading, and easily read on (or significantly above) their grade level. Simple things can make these children read earlier than others, and it starts at home.

Some parents have successfully employed interesting strategies to help their children become early readers. These include:

  • Reading to children every night and asking pertinent questions
  • Letting your child see that you read for pleasure, to model good reading habits
  • Making sure their child can easily hear and create rhymes
  • Spending time together at the local library
  • Setting time limits on video games, TV, and computer time
  • Combining reading with drawing and writing activities

Incorporating just two or three of these strategies into your family’s busy life will make a tremendous difference in helping your child become an inspired early reader.


> Teach Your Child To Love Reading

> The Five Steps to Phonemic Awareness

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