Reading Homework

Here’s an activity I assigned recently to be completed out of class.  I wanted to utilize the many stories I had created from past years that would otherwise go unused.  I chose and printed about 30 readings from my TPRS Readings Database.  I distributed them to each class.  No two students in any class had the same text.  I did my best to assign more difficult texts to stronger students and easier texts to those who struggle with reading.  I also gave them the following sheet to be completed:

Reading Homework 

The tasks are also listed below without space between for writing.  I do not typically assign writing to be completed outside of class.  In the future, I may have step #10 completed in class.  I plan to use this activity again.   Next time, I will assign authentic texts instead of my own stories.  I am excited about the potential of this type of reading activity.

Reading Homework #1

1. Read the entire story.  There may be parts you do not understand, but do not stop.  Read the entire story to try to get a basic understanding.  Fill in a percentage below.

       During the first reading, I understood _______ % of the story.

2. Write a paragraph of at least 5 sentences in English that summarizes the story based on your first reading. (5 points)   

3. Answer the following questions. (2 points)

A. What point of view does the author use? (1st person, 2nd person, 3rd person)

       B. In what tense is the story written? (present, past, future)

4. Write at least one Spanish word and its definition that you did not know before reading the story but learned from using the context. (2 points)

5. Make a list of at least 5 words from the story that you do not know.  Use resources (dictionary, internet, teacher) to find English definitions and write them beside the new words. (5 points)

6. Read the story again.  Using the new definitions, you should be able to comprehend 100% of the story.  If there are parts you still do not understand, ask your teacher.  

7. IN YOUR OWN WORDS, write a 5 sentence summary in Spanish of the story. (5 points)

8. Translate the entire story to a parent and ask him/her to sign below (5 points):

              My son/daughter _________________________________ translated the Spanish story to me.

                Signature and date: _______________________________________________

9. Write 10 comprehension questions about the story IN SPANISH.  Use the question words to help you (¿Qué? ¿Dónde? . . . etc). (5 points)

10. Writing extension:  Choose one of the following options and write at least 100 words in Spanish. (15 points – 5 completion, 5 comprehensibility, 5 accuracy).  

     A. Change point of view – Rewrite the first 100 words, changing from 3rd person to 1st person or 1st person to 3rd person.

     B. Write a new ending.  Change the story from whatever point you’d like.

     C. Continue the story.  Write what happened next.

     D. Choose a secondary character (not the protagonist) and write more about him/her and what he/she did.

     E. Rewrite the first 100 words and add something or make a change to every sentence.   

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8 Responses to Reading Homework

  1. Bryce Hedstrom says:


    Thanks for sharing this. It is a lot of work on your part that can help a lot of teachers. I can see the focus you put into your craft and the amount of understanding of teaching with C.I. it represents. Well done.

    Have you considered presenting at the national TPRS conference? I think you could help a lot of teachers with your ideas.


    Bryce Hedstrom

    TCI/TPRS materials & teacher training

  2. Elena says:

    Hola Bryan,

    I love your reading homework idea! I have two questions:
    1.How much time did you give your students to complete their reading homework.
    2. How much time did it seem to take your students to complete all 10 activities?

    Thank you very much for sharing this wonderful resource and idea.


    • bryankandel says:

      Gracias Elena. I gave the students a week to complete the reading. It’s more than they need, but I wanted to make sure they had enough time to complete the translation for a parent’s signature. Sometimes students and parents aren’t able to get together on certain nights. Also, the activity is supplementary in nature – not directly related to what we’re doing in class, so I was not in a hurry to get it back. Most students needed between 30 minutes and an hour to finish the assignment.

  3. getspanished says:

    Reblogged this on getspanished and commented:
    This is amazing! I can’t wait to try this with my students. What a beautiful way of teaching them to read without feeling pressured to understand every word.

  4. Really enjoyed this post. I have come to a similar approach over the years and it’s encouraging to read it might be a good idea; I especially like your creating a standard approach that streamlines the workload.

  5. Pingback: Story-based Speaking Assessment | Bryan Kandel TPRS

  6. srasimh says:

    great story, bryan

  7. Cristina says:

    Thank you so much for sharing! I’m always hunting for reading selections for my classes. I also like the idea of speaking/quizzing them!!

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