Guest Blogger: It’s Hard to Read When You’re Tired

Today’s guest blogger is Vera Goodman, author of Simply Too Much Homework; What Can We Do, which came out in early September. Her book is concise, straightforward, and short (88 pages), and I highly recommend it. Vera a long-time educator, teaches parents of struggling readers how to “conduct reading practice with material that is interesting for both parent and student and that models for the student how to read fluently and with comprehension.”

It’s Hard to Read When You’re Tired
by Vera Goodman

Reading well is the most important outcome of schooling. We learn to read most effectively by doing guided practice with someone who can read.

But the parents I teach often complain that excessive homework makes reading together almost impossible most nights. An example is Zack who is eight years old and is struggling with reading. He works hard to keep up all day despite his handicap. When he gets home he is often so fatigued that he puts his head in his arms and cries. However, he still faces an evening of homework, which is especially draining on him because he doesn’t read well. Zack is an incredibly gifted inventor and would just like to spend his personal time working on his latest invention. But instead, homework fills his time. When it is done, he is exhausted and reading together is out of the question. His mother, Joy, says, “Sometimes I wish I could home school Zack because at least I could practice with him when he is fresh in the morning.”

My question is,”How can an 8 year old who has failed to learn to read be expected to do homework that inevitably requires the ability to read?” As a teacher I know how easy it is to assign the same work to everyone and fail to realize that for some it is the straw that can break the camel’s back.

We learn to read well by reading. Time for reading is compromised for all students by excessive homework.

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