Thursday, March 10, 2011

Share A Story 2011: Love of Reading vs. Homework

Welcome to Thursday's edition of Share a Story - Shape a Future. Today's topic is Love of Reading vs. Homework.

We all worry about balancing our children's reading lives. We want them to have choice and to become lifelong readers.  As teachers, we work hard to make school reading authentic, but even with the best intentions, sometimes children get the wrong messages about school vs. home reading.

As parents, many of us have seen the impact on the messages our students get about reading being different at school and at home.  Years ago, I wrote an article about shopping with my daughter, Ana, who was then 6 years old. I loved watching her book choices and wished she could have the same freedom choosing books at school.  (You can access the article at Choice Literacy.)  We have also all heard of stories of the home reading bag where students are required to read books at their "level" instead of books they love.  Lisa Koch wrote an article about the impact this home reading had on her son in, "My Son, Clark Kent", also at Choice Literacy.

As a classroom teacher, I have always struggled with reading homework.  I know that when reading is assigned, it feels like a chore to me, I don't like it and I go through the motions of reading and I don't want that for my students.  But I also know that the amount of reading kids do, makes a difference.  And as a parent, I know that my kids read at home when their teachers expect them to.  I want my students to read at home because I know that it is an important way for them to grow as readers but I don't want to assign it.  What's a teacher to do?

I see huge potential in social networking tools.  If students see a purpose to their home reading, if we have tools that can extend the conversation beyond the school walls, home reading becomes more authentic. Many teachers I know are using blogs, wikis and social networking sites such as Shelfari to give students a place to talk with others about their home reading.  Rather than keep a home reading log for the teacher, the students can converse with others about their reading.

Today, as part of Share-A-Story, some of our favorite literacy experts have written posts on this topic of leisure vs. classwork/homework reading.  This is something that many of us, as literacy teachers, struggle with:

At AM Literacy Learning, Ann Marie Corgill interviews her eight-year-old nephew, Jack, about his reading.

Sharon Taberski talks about "Reading for the Fun of It" on her blog, It's All About Comprehension.

At Catching Readers Before They Fall, Pat and Katie share a post called "Puppies or NASA?"

Cathy at Reflect and Refine tackles the issue of take home books and supporting students in choosing Just Right books in a variety of ways in her post, Real Reading.

Deb Frazier at Primary Perspective show us how a tool like VoiceThread can help create lifelong readers in her post "Reading Like Readers -- Naturally."

Katie DiCesare at Creative Literacy explores "Connected Learning Instead of Homework."

Patrick Allen at All-en-A-Day's Work reflects on those mundane tasks he has asked children to do over the years in his post, "Repent... At Reading Homework Taketh Another Look..."

At Educating Alice, Monica has a post about some recent homework that demonstrated a love of reading in "In the Classroom: Book Reviews."

Carol, at Carol's Corner, is thinking hard about Reading Homework in high school.

At Literate Lives, Karen thinks about "What Does Reading Homework Look Like?"

These teacher bloggers have all given us some important things to think about when it comes to home reading.  Enjoy!


  1. You have made such a good point here. I am seeing this benefit right now as one of my third grade classes is starting our book blog. Their reading crosses that line from mandatory and expected to compelling and fun. Readers express their opinions about self-selected texts and the reading recommendations via posts and comments are abundant! Thanks for your post.

  2. Absolutely LOVE the concept of your blog.. *officially following*I'm Marilyn from - Hope you can stop by & join me in some fun blogging sometime.. Off to indulge in more of your lovely posts.. ;))

  3. Most of these blogs are new to me so THANK YOU for the introduction. This is so fun!


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