Reading homework

Avatar for coloradomom2b
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Registered: 03-26-2003
Reading homework
8
Sun, 09-24-2006 - 9:35am

At our staff meeting on Friday, there was a HUGE discussion about assigning reading for homework. Not textbook reading but free reading, reading an AR book, or reading for book reports, etc. One group adamantly opposed it and was the most vocal. The other group, which included me, felt beat up at the end. Does anyone have any articles or books that give reasons why reading SHOULD be assigned for homework or why reading homework IS helpful to students?

I teach 4th grade, and we just don't have time to sit and read in class because we have so much to cover. Those students who finish early get a chance to read, but they would probably read at home anyway. I make them do 1 book report a month (which isn't a lot), and each month is a different genre. I'm trying to expose them to more than Magic Tree House and Geronimo Stilton.

Thanks in advance!

Tamie

Feb 09 Siggy

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-04-2003
Sun, 09-24-2006 - 11:00am

Tamie,

Forget them......

Then they will complain about how poorly the kids read. The fact of the matter is, between tv, video games, the mall, friends, cellphones, ipods and all the other stuff that can get in the way,if you don't MAKE READING A REQUIREMENT, most kids won't do it and even when it's a requirement, some won't do it....

Reading it just one of those things that highly undervalued, kinda like teaching, oops did I say that??? Kids aren't going to do it unless you make them.....

I wouldn't care what they read, magazines, pamphlets, the bible, Harry Potter, etc. You will improve your knowledge base, fluency, background knowledge, understanding and overall intelligence the more you read.....

Don't let the naysayers get you down. I do understand how they feel though. They kids are super lazy and many of them could care less about reading, but that doesn't mean I stop doing what I am doing because it is helping someone....

I attach reading logs to my homework packs, half the class does them half the class does not. So one time I said, "screw it, they are not doing it" I had a parent who ran up to me and said, "WHERE'S THE READING LOG" I said, I had so many not doing it, I got tired of wasting my paper......

She said, "my son loved doing it because he loved getting the reward for it" Also, he loves to read because you make reading fun for him" I said, "okay, I'll bring them back" and I did.....

So, do I want to say screw it and just junk it all? Yes. Do I feel like your naysayers? Yes. But I know that it's helping someone, so I keep on doing it, plus eventually they all do the reading because they get tired of not receiving the reward for it......

Take care and keep assigning that reading. You're doing the right thing......

Remember this: "Things that are common are not always right and things that are right are not always common"

GT35

Avatar for coloradomom2b
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Registered: 03-26-2003
Sun, 09-24-2006 - 7:45pm

I agree with you that reading homework is beneficial, and I think most parents would too. These teachers (K-2) were convinced that assigning reading homework accomplishes nothing and makes kids hate reading. They don't believe that there is any benefit to reading a novel at home at all. That's why I think I need the backing of a study or an article. Thanks for your input!

Tamie

Feb 09 Siggy

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-04-2003
Sun, 09-24-2006 - 8:36pm

This article is about the effect reading has on our minds. I hope this helps. I will keep looking for articles that relate to reading novels, but I just read this one and enjoyed it...

http://encarta.msn.com/encnet/departments/elementary/?article=WhatEffectReadingHasonOurMinds&GT1=8236

Check it out!!

GT35

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-06-2000
Sun, 09-24-2006 - 11:21pm

I'm totally on board that kids should be reading at home.

I also don't think one decent book report a month is a lot of ask at all.
But please - - skip the book floats, and dioramas and shadow boxes and mobiles - - and stick to actual plot summaries, or story element paragraphs (characters, setting, problem, solution) or something that actually works on reading and writing skills. (And doesn't cost us an arm and a leg in supplies, and doesn't turn into the contest to see which parent can build the prettiest thing - because most kids aren't allowed to use glue guns and the types of things that are needed to actually ATTACH anything onto these boxes long enough for them to even GET to school!) Ok....can you tell I don't like THAT kind of book report as a parent? LOL

And....I hate, hate, hate those reading logs!
I have a kid who would read anyway. Having to keep detailed records of it all just got to be a bit ridiculous at times. It turned what was already a pleasant and enjoyable home pastime into this record keeping pain.

Got pretty turned off to the "Monthly" reading logs in 1st grade with room for 12 books on them. Ummm....that gets us through one good night. Where are we supposed to put all the rest of the books for the month? I got fiesty one month and actually LISTED all the books on the back of the page. Not that it mattered for anything, but it just bugged me that something labelled "monthly" would come home with only room for 12 books. Now, in older grades with longer chapter books - sure. In fact, that is probably too much to expect when you are reading Newberry award winner type books. But when you are reading easy picture books and early phonics readers, 12 books might only be 20 minutes of reading.

Systems based on time are somewhat better. But, still not real world. Sometimes she doesn't get reading time. Like Wednesday nights - she has cello lessons, and church choir on the same night. It's a push to get the other homework done and get a reasonable bed time. Other days she will sit and read for 3 or 4 hours. Saying 20 minutes a day doesn't always make sense. Some kids will stop at that suggested minimum when they might have gone farther without that arbitrary limit.

So then in 4th grade was the awful minute reading contest. Each week you had to fill out a slip how many minutes you read for your class total to compete against the other classes. Now, my kid is a pretty avid reader, and at times was getting 500+ minutes during the week. And she kept "losing" to this kid who kept writing down over 2,000 minutes a week. Ummm....THAT is not something I would really want to hold up as ideal. From the time kids get home from school until a reasonable bed time there only is maybe 5 hours a day. 300 minutes. Anyone getting 2,000 minutes a week is spending ALL their available time reading. No dinner with family. No exercise or playing outside. No scouts or church or doing something good in the world. No family time. No time for a shower or hairwash or other basic items of health and hygiene. Please don't give out prizes for living an unbalanced, unhealthy life (or for lying, which was more likely in my mind.)

So - - long post to say - - I am all for reading.

But - I've seen an awful lot of school reading incentive programs that were just not so great.

Avatar for coloradomom2b
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Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 09-26-2006 - 8:27am
LOL! Your post cracks me up! I think I've seen a lot of those methods and might have tried a few in my time. I prefer the paper and pencil writing book reports too. They are basic and simple and don't take up tons of time to do. It's a book report, not a week long project! We also have set a "class goal" for AR points. I'm sure one person will be pulling the load for the others, but everyone will get rewarded if we get there. The kids decided how many points we should be able to acheive. I do have a reading log, but it's by number of pages they have read to date. That way, if we are 1/2 way through the month, and the kids have not read 1/2 way through the book, we know that they need to do some extra reading. They need the opportunity to see how short term goals (reading x number of pages per week/per night) can lead to long term goals (finishing the book). I don't think the minutes help because you can stare at a page for 20 minutes and not actually read a word!
Feb 09 Siggy

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-24-2003
Tue, 09-26-2006 - 2:17pm

I've been following the discussion and reexamining both my past experience and personal opinion on this one.

Sherry

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-14-2004
Tue, 10-10-2006 - 3:52pm

Hi... Can I ask what you offer as reading incentives/rewards. We've implemented a new program at our school... just wondering what other schools offer as incentives to reading... Is it per book or after a certain number of minutes read? Thanks for any info.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-04-2003
Tue, 10-10-2006 - 9:54pm

Hi,

I give several rewards: stickers, pizza coupons, a starbust (to be eaten after school) a pencil, a bookmark, they get to be a special helper for the day and a good ole fashioned "atta girl or atta boy"......

Sometimes just telling them that I appreciate the effort and letting them know how important reading is to their education goes along way for them.....

Then there are times I just say, "you can't be rewarded for everything, because some things you are supposed to do..."

I always have one or two who never receive the pats on the backs or incentives only because they never read outside of the classroom and then when I try to get them to read in the classroom they are so embarrased they won't try.....

Then when I give them quiet reading time, they sit and play with the books. But of course get mad because they don't earn the reward......

Oh well, such is life.

GT35