Imagine this scenario…your child sitting peacefully, completing daily homework independently. Once finished, your child turns to you and says, “O.K. I’m ready to have you check my homework.” It can and will happen.
Simply follow these Kid-Tested Tips: Successful Habits for Completing Homework and Reading Without Stress.
1. Have a special, dedicated, private place for completing reading and other homework. Your child should not read where s/he sleeps, eats or does other activities.
In the homework place, keep a pencil box stocked with plenty of school supplies, including:
- sharpened pencils
- pencil sharpener
- paper (plain, lined, graph paper for Math)
- glue or glue stick
2. If you and your child disagree about how much you will monitor homework time, use a timer. Set the timer for 15 minute increments, and give your child the opportunity to complete homework independently. “Check in” every 15 minutes and answer questions. Remind your child this is a privilege – you will be checking in. Your expectation is that s/he is working on homework, not doing anything else. If s/he doesn’t make progress, tell your child you’ll be monitoring more closely until s/he proves s/he can complete work independently.
This strategy achieves two ends:
- it builds your child’s confidence and stamina to complete homework without your assistance
- it alleviates your stress of having to constantly monitor your child’s homework completion.
3. Be certain your child is reading a minimum of 20 minutes per day. You can break this total time up into two 10-minute segments, if it is more manageable. For example, read 10 minutes after breakfast, and 10 minutes right after school. In order for your child to have a chance to read at or above grade level, s/he must read a minimum of 30-45 minutes per day.
4. While your child reads, be sure you do not give words to him/her or reading for her/him. Allow your child to apply the reading strategies s/he is learning in school, such as “chunking” (finding or putting together and reading “chunks” of word parts s/he knows), “sounding out” (making the sound for each letter and blending the sounds together to form words), or identifying sight words (“in”, “the”, “today”, “friend”).
5. Take time to talk with your child about what s/he read to make meaning of the text.
With Fiction texts, ask questions such as:
- Who are the main characters in the story? Which is your favorite? Why?
- Where does the story take place (What is the setting)? How do you know?
- What is the Problem in the story?
- How is the Problem solved (What is the Solution)?
In Nonfiction texts, ask questions such as
- Where is the Table of Contents? The Glossary? The Index?
- Can you find Headings?
- How do you know this is a Nonfiction text?
- What is the main idea in this text?
© 2006 Amy Askin, MaEd,Certificated Reading Specialist
Oh, and here’s a link to an awesome article related to this subject, written by Debbie Pincus, MS LMHC.
Go on now…Sit back, relax, and enjoy fostering your child’s independence!
Song du Jour: Imagine by John Lennon