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.

Simple Tools for Sharp Listening Skills

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In this digital age an old-fashioned, child-friendly cassette tape player can be your four-to-six year old's best friend!

Do you have to be away on a business trip, and miss your child's bedtime story?

  • Record your child's favorite book on a tape. Let him follow along in the book, as he listens to you read. It's the next best thing to being there!

Do you love getting books for your grandchild, but miss reading to her because you live miles away?

  • Before you mail that book, record the story on a cassette tape and include it in the package. It's a great way to stay close, even though you are far away!

Is your first grader having trouble remembering spelling words?

  • Let her record words in this order: Say it, spell it, and say it again. She can listen, then write, then self-correct until she confidently can spell all her words.

Want to improve your child's reading fluency and expression?

  • Tape him reading a story. He can then hear himself as others hear him. My students love this activity, and want to do it again and again!

So, search those yard sales for child-friendly tape recorders with built-in microphones and colorful push-buttons.

Or, get a new, inexpensive CD/Tape combination recorder and player. Color code the buttons with colored dot stickers (green for play, red for stop, yellow for rewind, etc.) for easy operation by your child.

Simple tools make learning fun!


#3 Erin 2009-08-05 14:55
We got my inlaws a webcam so they can read books to their grand children using skype or google vchat. And lots of computers have built-in webcams now. It's a super fun way to stay connected and promote reading/listeni ng!
#2 Susanne Toothaker 2009-06-22 07:52
Hey Connie,

What a great idea! I have a new summer project...putti ng together some taped stories for Luke!

#1 Clay Newton 2009-06-15 16:18
It's also really easy to record video of yourself reading to your child/grandchil d. When I went on a weeklong trip out of the country, I recorded an hour of video reading to my daughter and gave the tapes to her grandparents (who shed' be staying with half the time.) My daughter loved it, and it made me feel like I knew she'd be hearing from me often.

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