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Teaching Adults to Read – Homework, things to consider.


One of the first decisions a tutor and student need to answer is how much homework a student can actually handle effectively.

Learning is a cumulative process. The more we use a new skill, the better we become at it. Many adult literacy students only are meeting with a tutor once or twice a week for just an hour or two at a time. Obviously, that means it will take the student a long time to become proficient at their new skills. Homework is a way to facilitate quick learning.

Adults tend to have busy and complicated lives. There are many barriers to homework so identifying them early and determining how practical homework is for each student can save lots of frustration down the road.


Here are 8 things to consider when discussing homework with your student:


#1. Discuss the importance of homework and practice. Share a story of how something that was difficult for you became easier with practice and determination.

#2. When you do assign homework make sure your student knows exactly what is expected. Make a checklist of what needs to be done and review it at the end of each lesson.

#3. Make sure the homework can be done by the student with little or no help from others. Homework should always reinforce what has already been taught and not to introduce new skills.

#4. Consider your student’s schedules, do they have enough time to do this homework? Start slow and build up good study habits. A little time spent on homework is better than none at all.

#5. Discuss what factors affect the student’s ability to do homework. Explain it is okay to get comfortable doing homework.

#6. Discuss times that would be the best student to study. Help them plan to have time to do the assigned work. Always begin your session by reviewing homework assignments. You want to reinforce your student’s efforts and congratulate their efforts.

#7. Make sure your student understands that if for any reason they do not complete their homework assignments it is okay. Students want to please you and often fear disappointing you so make sure they know homework is bonus learning. Many students have dropped out rather than feel they have let down their tutor.

#8. The purpose of homework and practice is to build success and retention, not to induce frustration or boredom. Give your student some choices in assignments when possible.

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