Many of us are in the heart of summer and attempting to soak up those last few weeks of summer break. If you are anything like me, you have been doing some planning and preparing for the upcoming school year. With only three more weeks until I officially return to school, I am beginning to prep my back to school necessities. With back to school information, the question of homework always arises and I want to provide students and parents with homework expectations from the very beginning. As a teacher, I make it my goal to make sure everything I do, or have my students do, is meaningful. Reading homework is no exception.
In the past, I assigned students to read each night and fill out a reading log. At the end of the week, I knew a completed reading log did not always mean reading actually occurred. I then asked myself a few questions. Even if students are reading each night, are they understanding what they are reading? Are my students using the reading skills they have learned in class? How can I make reading homework more meaningful?
I knew I wanted something that I could give my students that would reinforce the reading skills I wanted them to practice but not be overwhelming. Through some additional research I discovered weekly reading passages with text dependent questions. Each week students get a weekly passage and a set of questions broken up into four days. You can differentiate by providing appropriate passages based on each student’s reading level. Each day, students work through questions using the same text. Questions are text-dependent and vary in complexity.
If you have leveled readers or books that you allow students to take home for reading homework, you can create similar resources to use. Using the book, create a set of questions for students to answer throughout the week. Students will read the same book each night and answer a set of questions based on that book.
This nightly assignment provides students with meaningful reading practice without taking up too much time. Since students read the same passage each night, they improve in reading fluency and comprehension skills.
I have used this method in my classroom for a couple of years and have received great feedback. I still encourage my students to read for personal enjoyment and for parents to be involved with some type of pleasurable nightly reading.