One of the biggest traps homeschooling moms can fall into is making everything an assignment. It’s easy to do, we feel like every moment needs to be turned into a learning opportunity. I’ve fallen into this trap too. I think every homeschool mom goes through this on some level. The truth I’ve come to realize though, is that our children do not need to put everything on paper to prove they learned something. We don’t need to make up an assignment to document something they learned. In fact, when it comes to reading, we might be doing more harm than good by forcing assignments. Assignments like a book report may seem like the right thing to do, and they can be IF you’re doing them right.
The Wrong Way to Assign a Book Report
Last year, when Grasshopper was in first grade, I tried forcing a book report on him after each read aloud. My heart was in the right place. I wanted to see what he comprehended from the book. A book report is also a great way to develop writing skills and learn sentence structure. While my intentions were good, I soon realized this was backfiring on me.
The book report outline I was using was 4 or 5 pages long. That was simply too long for Grasshopper. He didn’t have the attention span to focus on an assignment that long.
At the time, he wasn’t too interested in read aloud time either. Getting him to sit and listen to me read to him was a struggle to say the least. I quickly discovered by forcing him to sit and listen, then do an assignment he hated, was actually ruining his desire to read. He was no longer viewing reading as something that could be a fun and enjoyable time. He was viewing reading as work. This of course was the last thing I wanted. I had to find a solution that worked for us.
Develop a Love of Reading
I quickly learned that I needed to stop assigning a book report. Developing a desire to read became more important than any assignment. I wanted him to learn that reading can be an enjoyable activity. I didn’t want him to dread reading, especially as an elementary student. Assigning activities like a book report to go along with reading can wait until they are either older. That is, unless they love reading so much they don’t care they will have an assignment.
There are a few different things I did to help Grasshopper develop a love of reading. The first thing I did was stop giving assignments related to his reading. I would ask questions when we were done reading and let him answer orally as a way to access his comprehension.
Secondly, I let him start fidgeting during read aloud time. At first it drove me crazy because I felt he wasn’t listening. Truth is he actually listens better when he fidgets. It took some time, but I’ve learned to ignore it.
The last thing I did was ignore the suggested reading list and seek titles I knew he would enjoy. We started off this school year by reading the Kingdom Series by Chuck Black. Grasshopper was in love! He asked for more chapters every day. More importantly, he learned that reading can be fun! Now that he’s experienced a book series he could dive into, he is more open to other book suggestions.
The Right Way to Assign a Book Report
After developing a love of reading, we’re ready to start implementing a book report. However, I still wanted to be careful not to make the same mistakes over.
Grasshopper doesn’t like writing. Because he also has ADHD and Dyslexia, I need to make sure any assignment I give him isn’t too overwhelming. In fact, even if your child doesn’t have a learning disability, I would caution you to giving to big of an assignment too soon.
Not wanting to overwhelm him, I designed this simple one page book report. It’s short and to the point. Giving a chance to write about the main character and room for a couple sentences to explain the plot of the story. I’m not asking for a detailed description of the book, where and when it took place, ect. Those reports will come in time. For now, we’re going to take it slow.
Again, the big concern with going too fast or assigning too much is that he will start to view reading as work. I’m not going to assign the book report with every book we finish either. I don’t want him to associate every book he reads with an assignment. Sometimes, we can read just for fun, and I want him to know that.
Get your free one page book report below!
Don't Miss A Thing!
Join my weekly newsletter to make sure you don't miss anything!