More Careful Reading – Homework Idea

Reading – Homework

I love to share ideas from others that I wish I’d thought of myself.  Here’s one from Joe Bellacero who writes:

I know that, as an English teacher, I wanted my students to read things outside of class so we could spend our time in class in more fruitful discussion and analysis.

One of my most effective techniques for encouraging this was to assign a certain number of pages and tell them they should write down at least 5 “who,” “what,” or “where” questions from those pages (although they could write as many questions as they wanted over the minimum). The next day I would have my 5 questions for a quiz, if any two of theirs matched two of mine (or came close enough) they would be exempt from the quiz, receive a perfect 20 (5 quizzes equaled a test grade), and be eligible for an extra credit round.

After about a week, almost no one was taking the quizzes because they were coming in with 20 questions and learning what I (as a mature reader) found important enough to turn into a question. Grades improved, reading improved, discussions improved and even the sneaks who copied someone else’s questions, had a sense of what was in the reading.

For extra credit,I would have them sit with their thumbs in the first page of the chapter and I would ask them one of my questions. The first person to find the sentence containing the answer gained two points. Gradually, they developed excellent scanning and skimming skills, too.

This was worthwhile homework and an overwhelming number of them did it.

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Teaching English Language Arts