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Nightly Reading Homework: Best Practices in 6 Steps

Nightly Reading Homework: Best Practices in 6 Steps | ITTT | TEFL Blog

If you're teaching a child in Kindergarten to second grade, you can probably assign about 10, 20, or 30 minutes of reading per night as homework.

This blog post explains what the teacher can do and what parents and other caregivers can do to ensure that this assignment is truly beneficial to the child's development as a reader.

Recommendations for Parents

The first thing a parent should do is sit next to their children as they read. Although it may be tempting to try to complete other tasks, the purpose of this homework is to have an adult monitor their progress.The parents can watch the words as the child reads them when they sit side by side. This allows parents to provide immediate feedback to their children when they require it.

Number 2 is: Don't "tell" the words.

A child needs a lot of time to struggle with words in order to learn how to comprehend them on his or her own. If the parents intervene to inform the child what the words mean, the child will miss out on the learning that occurs as a result of the struggle. Sometimes all parents have to do is sit quietly and wait for their child to figure out a word.

Number 3: Move beyond "sound it out."

It's not the most efficient approach to figure out what a word is by trying to sound it out letter by letter. There are numerous approaches to decoding a word. Consider comparable words as one option. If the child is having trouble reading the word "rake," point out that it shares several letters with the word "cake," which the child is already familiar with. This may assist the child in determining the correct pronunciation of "rake." Another approach is chunking, which involves splitting the word down into smaller bits rather than trying to sound out each individual letter.

Finally, enable the child to make a guess based on the illustrations in the book. When the child is reading, never cover the pictures. They're useful tools for helping the child figure out words on his or her own.Parents can also hide part of a word to check if the youngster can read the whole of the word first.

Number 4: Have the child re-read some passages for fluency.

If the child merely sounds out individual words, the child won't really get the meaning of a sentence. For the words to make sense together, the words need to be read smoothly. So if the child takes a while to get through a particular sentence, have the child go back and re-read it, so it makes more sense. Just be careful not to overdo it.

Asking the child to repeat dozens of sentences in one session will drive him\her crazy. A few times is enough. And if the child is struggling through most of every page, it's probably not the right book for him\her. Choose an easier one, or the parents should tell the teacher that the child is struggling at this level.

Number 5: Allow some mistakes to go uncorrected.

It's not necessary to correct every single error the child makes. Because the child is working hard to get the word "headdress" right, and then puts a lot of concentration into "golden cobra," Pointing out that the child said "the" when she should have said "a" would be too much of a distraction. Once the child gets the more difficult words down, parents can be pickier about making sure the child reads all the words right.

Number 6: Allow the child to read the same book multiple times.

If the child reads a book on Monday and wants to read the same one again on Tuesday, that's okay. With each successive read, the child will get better and better at building her\his fluency, and by the end of the week, the child should easily recognize words he\she struggled with at the beginning.

Finally, continue to read to your child.

Even if the child is learning to read on her or his own, she or he can still benefit greatly by listening to the parents read. By continuing to read to her\him for pleasure, the parents model proper pace, expressive reading, and a love of books, all of which will aid in her\him becoming a lifelong reader.

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WILHELM, C. (2014). Your child has nightly reading homework. What should you be doing?[online]Cult of Pedagogy. Available at: [Accessed 19 Feb. 2022].