Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Reading Homework for Tonight: Read!

20 Day Blogging Challenge, Day 9:  Share a topic or idea from class this week. Will you do it again?

Our homework for tonight is to read.  That's it!  Just read.  There are lots of nights that I ask students to read for homework, but usually there is some type of written response that they have to do as well.  The thing is, if they know they have to do a written assignment that will take ten to fifteen minutes more, how much actual time will they spend reading?

I've been thinking a lot about the ideas from The Book Whisperer and Reading In the Wild by Donalyn Miller.  She makes a good point that so often, kids don't get much time to read.  We are always teaching reading strategies and skills.  We have them responding to literature, so we can be sure they are reading, and understanding what they are reading.  I've done book logs to keep them accountable, but how much actual time do we let them choose what they want to read and just read?

So tonight they are supposed to read, and tomorrow morning I will ask them to record their progress on the Status of the Class form that we added to their reading notebooks today.  We practiced today.  Along with the student form, which I took from the Reading In the Wild, I created a record sheet for me.  I will record just their book title and page number.  I am also interviewing them about the genre.  Rather than going through the entire class each day, I will interview about 1/3 of the class. I did that today, and will touch base with a different group tomorrow.  This is a great time for students to hear about books their friends are reading.  I have 29 students, and trying to get through everyone every time will be too time consuming.  I think kids will lose interest if it takes too long.

The only thing that students have to do besides read, is to have their parents sign the assignment note.  This way parents know what the homework assignment is.  It's a school policy to do homework on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday night.  I plan to make this same assignment once a week for the next few weeks.  Then I will have a better idea whether it's working, and the kids are really reading.

As far as the Status of the Class is concerned, I don't plan to do it every day, but we will give it a try at least two or three times each week, sometimes in whole group, sometimes in small group.

Do you use reading logs or some sort of written response for reading?  What works for you?

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