Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog

Homework Expectations for Teachers & Parents: Family Literacy, Part 8

Due to the popularity of our posts on the role of   parental involvement in children's literacy , which present ideas for Family Literacy Workshop activities taken from   Family Literacy Workshops   for Preschool through Grade 6: A Research Based Approach , we've decided to keep the subject a recurring topic here on our blog, with a new post every week or so offering new free activity downloads and further instruction on   how to hold successful family literacy workshops at your school and tips for taking literacy home.   Most Tuesdays you can check back here and find this kind of content. You can see the earlier posts   here .

You can download this week's free take-home activities,   Comprehension Concentration   and   Silly Story Time , at the bottom of the page. Review the take-home activities with parents. Point out what each one is about and what skills parents will be practicing with their children at home:

Comprehension Concentration
— This is a fun activity that helps parents check if their children are paying attention to key details when reading a story.
— Skills addressed: reading comprehension; literary response and analysis

Silly Story Time
— Families will review the parts of speech as they work together to complete a story with missing words.
— Skills addressed: word analysis; fluency and systematic vocabulary development; reading comprehension

Homework Expectations for Teachers & Parents

Give parents a copy of the school's homework policies and remind them that homework assignments directly support the academic success of their children. Some key points about your homework policy might include the following:

Amount and Type of Homework

The amount and type of homework assigned should be consistent in same-grade classrooms. For example, one 5th grade class should not have two hours of homework if the other 5th grade class is given short review assignments designed to take about 20 minutes.

Homework Objectives

Homework should never consist of a new learning activity. Remember that each student has different support and challenges at home. Any assignment that is sent home should be something that each child can do independently and/or with minimal support (something the parent will be able to do). This does not mean that every child in your class needs the same assignment, only that each child needs to have the skills to complete the assignment independently The objective of homework should be to provide students with extra practice in critical skill areas.

What to Do If Homework Is Not Completed

Think back to your school rules planning. What are the consequences for not completing homework? Do those consequences support academic success or are they merely punitive? The goal of homework is to provide students with extra practice. If students do not complete the work at home, they should be allowed the opportunity to complete the work at school.

Guided Practice

Research supports the approach that school-based guided practice is more effective than homework. It may be more effective to offer time after school where students can complete homework. Tutors could be made available to help students when questions arise.

Communication with Parents

Design a method of communicating to parents what homework assignments are and when they are due. There are various ways of doing this, but here are some ways that we have seen others use that have proven effective:

— Have the same homework every night over a long period of time.
— Create a homework website.
— Email communication between parents and teachers. For example, a mass email could be sent every Monday morning with that week’s homework.
— Answering machine message listing that week’s homework. Many classrooms have direct phone line access. The homework assignments for the week could be provided on the classroom message.
— A classroom parent could volunteer to be the homework liaison for the month. Other parents in the class could contact that parent if they have questions regarding the homework.

The increase of communication between your school faculty and parents regarding homework will help increase the value of the work sent home.


Below are this week's take-home activities to download . Remember to check back next Tuesday for another post on Family Literacy!

- Tara Rodriquez