My third graders have reading homework twice a week. They have a list of reading response leads that they keep in their binder and are required to write two paragraphs a week as homework. Because families are so busy during the week, I allow my students to pick the nights they do their twenty minutes of reading and only require that two are turned in by Friday. This helps families plan around sports, church, and other family activities. The reading response leads change several times during the year as students grow as readers, but the format is always the same. Here's a link to the Level Two Reading Response leads in my TpT store. I'm using those right now in our classroom. I also have a level one and level three for the beginning and end of the year. If you're interested in the bundle, it's cheaper in my Teachers' Notebook store.
Every other month or so, I assign a homework project instead of the reading responses. For our fantasy unit, my students create reading sandwiches about a fantasy chapter book of their choice. It's a fun way to mix up the homework, and even my reluctant readers and writers enjoy making the project. On Friday, students share their sandwiches with the class in an oral book talk. After presenting their book, students answer questions from their peers. I love that! My students were asking really thoughtful questions like, "How did the cover illustration match the book?" or "What elements of fantasy did you find in your book?" I wish I had written more of the questions down because that's how thoughtful they were! The one I use is an old photocopy without a source so I'm hesitant to share it, but here's a link to a sandwich book report template for purchase from Unique Teaching Resources.
For another homework project, I have my students make book worms. I give them a packet to take notes while reading their chapter book. After finishing the book, students use their notes to create a book worm. The book worm contains skills for character development, setting, and plot. After giving their oral book talk, students hang the worms in the hallway to show off their hard work. I also found a butterfly reading response sheet from The Mailbox Magazine, so some years we turn our worms into caterpillars instead and add the butterfly worksheet to the hallway too. It makes for a pretty cute spring hallway display. You can purchase my book worm reading packet and template in my TpT store.
I know there are differing opinions on homework, but I think it's an important part of reading development. My students are able to select their own books and only read for twenty minutes. I think that's a fair way to assign work for all reading levels as opposed to a set amount of pages. I also think it teaches students to be responsible for bringing work back and forth each week. Finally, I think it's important for involved parents to see how their students work independently (or not!) while reading.
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