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At-Home Reading
And Writing Activities

Today, more and more, teachers and parents doing all they can to encourage and motivate children to read and write recreationally. For teachers who are looking for new activities to get students more involved in reading and writing at home, here are a handful of suggestions. (You might even encourage students to bring what they produce at home into school for sharing but not for evaluation.)

News reading and writing. Have students select and read a newspaper article at home, then write a 1-page, short-short story based on the narrative or some aspect of the narrative of the newspaper article.

Share feelings in journals. Ask students to write a journal about a specific occurrence and how it affects them. They might write, for example, about the weather and its effect on their thoughts and feelings or about a meal and its effect on them.

Original writing using favorite characters. Have students take a favorite character from realistic fiction they are reading or have read -- Henry Huggins from the Beverly Cleary books, for example -- and write a fairy tale with the character as the protagonist.

Poetry writing. Suggest that students think of a favorite color. Have them write haiku or another form of brief, succinct, pointed poetry about their color.

Creating word webs. In class, give all students one word. (To give the activity more of a fun feeling, you might select all the words from a particular category, such as foods or animals.) Suggest that they use the word as the center for making their own word webs at home. Invite them to bring their word webs back to class for sharing.

Letter writing -- fictional. Have students write letters to themselves as if they were written by famous persons. Students then can bring their letters into class and take turns reading them aloud while other students try to guess which famous person "wrote" the letter.

Article by Sharon Cromwell
Education World®
Copyright © 1998, 2002 Education World

Related Sites

  • The Effects of Independent Reading on Reading Achievement According to the research available here, it is clearly shown that the independent reading of "meaningful, connected text" leads to improved reading achievement.
  • "Sustained Silent Reading" Helps Develop Independent Readers (and Writers) Sustained Silent Reading (SSR), according to this Education World article, helps develop independent readers, and writers. Here is how it works.
  • Read Write Now! The American Initiative on Reading and Writing was begun by U.S. Secretary of Education Richard Riley. Its goals are to help families nurture good literacy habits in their children and to help schools and other organizations in enhancing reading and writing abilities.

Originally published 05/01/2002
Last updated 09/05/2008