A seventeen-year-old student has recently filed a lawsuit against Amazon. He alleges that the Amazon Kindle ate his homework. Interestingly, the homework dealt with the book 1984.

A novel homework excuse... and I've heard quite a few in my twenty-eight years of teaching. However, the story, making headline news, shows that the subject of homework never ceases to interest and energize the American public. Everyone has an opinion on the validity of assigning independent practice at home. Some argue that homework is an invasion upon family time; others demand more exploratory or open-ended assignments; some want more and some want less.

Here's what I did last year and plan to do again this year re: assigning homework.

On back-to-school night last year, I made a deal with their parents: I said, "I won't assign grammar or essay homework, if you will supervise your child's reading-discussion homework." Every parent made positive comments about this approach to homework. Few parents at the intermediate, middle, or high school levels want to or know how to supervise written work. Supervising their child's reading is something that parents support and perceive as valuable.

Here, in a nutshell is the homework plan: Students read for thirty minutes, four times per week. Parents grade a three-minute discussion of each reading session. Students lead this discussion with reading comprehension strategy discussion prompts. I got a high degree of buy-in from parents and students. I flesh out this homework program much more on my blog at Homework That Makes Sense.

Tags: comprehension, homework, independent, practice, reading, skills, strategies, study

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