Homework ideas for adult literacy


Like a silly person, I didn’t save my lovely Word document before it crashed, so writing this for the second time this week.
I started to think about giving homework in a bit more detail. I do give homework to literacy learners, but honestly, not as creatively as I could. I wrote another post about things that I avoid in teaching (in response to Burton (2007), and homework is most definately one of them.

Reading Burton (2007, p.3) suggests some homework ideas for reading as:
* Reading along with audio tapes
* Taking photographs of signs to reinforce social sight vocabulary
* A webquest
* Looking out for articles or adverts in local newspapers
* Simply asking your learners to make a note of how many pages of a book they manage to read at home each day

As I’ve gone through my teaching, I’ve added new ideas as and when they’ve come up, and sourced them where an apropriate reference could be found. Most aren’t ground breaking new ideas, but homework is not often something which I’ve seen is discussed in adult basic skills education a great deal.

Bluerose on TES has uploaded a very thought out discussion of homework which can be found here. It focusses on Primary, and I have used some ideas and thought about tasks my adult might enjoy (found below). I also watched a talk on homework on Teachers TV, again discussing children rather than adults, but some of the principles are the same.

They detailed that homework should reinforce learning outcomes in order to encourage independent study, motivation, self-discipline and thinking time, and it is journey which starts in the class, and continues in their own time as we want to encourage a lifelong skills which they discover for themselves. Some schools have now changed their homework policies, opting to have extended days where pupils have access to facilities, and one school setting a ‘homework shopping list’ where they have to complete a set of homework in 6 weeks, with the choice of how, when and where being their decision. I have to admit, it would be nice if everyone wanted further work, but not all adults do. We can’t argue against the fact that we have 2 hours per week, and that we could double, or even triple the amount covered per term.

* Reading recipes – finding a recipe for either something they love, or haven’t tried before (sda magazines, free newspapers, internet)
* Song lyrics – internet task to find out misheard lyrics, or just their favourite song for further activities in class
* Soap opera scripts
* Find and read a poem about something they’re interested in e.g. their top character trait (honesty, friendliness etc)
* Reading a photo – people’s body language (verbal explanation)
* Research something they’re interested in
* Reading graphic novels/cartoons
* Audio books
* Read food labels – how much do they have to have to have one of their 5 a day etc
* Learners like comprehension!
* Find a leaflet to bring to class for further work
* Timeline of someone’s life that they are interested in
* Follow some instructions – e.g. make something out of paper etc for class
* Reading fact sheets
* Reading a text, picking out the features (with a little help for lower learners), before making their own (saves you loads of prep time, and encourages autonomy

* Recipe – explain how to make their favourite food
* Song lyrics – writing some
* Memeory map – of school, a particular decade or time in their life
* Write a script of something that happens in thier life
* Write a poem
* Writing captions to photos – to explain what is happening
* Produce a poster of something they’ve researched
* Find some pictures that represent (xyz) to aid writing structure
* Write a leaflet/poster for something they’re involved with e.g. breakfast club in a hostel
* Make a timeline of thier life
* Label diagrams
* Write a class diary
* Write a daily diary
* Writing a fact sheet on something
* Use different media – highlighters, pens, papers, computer etc
* Take pictures of strange things they see in the street etc for a writing project (no people!)
* ‘a character objective I would have given them a task such as “Tell me about your favourite character”, then they could draw and label it, find words that the author uses to describe them, explore synonyms, write a description, make lists of things that character would like/dislike, favourite CDs, clothes, opinions, change the character somehow and explore how that would affect the story…..and so on.’
* Open-ended questions exploring thinking skills
* Open-ended tasks where they choose how they complete a task
Speaking and Litstening
Oral homework – how many times people mention things in conversation – get them to notice features
* Encouraging them to speak and communicate with other people – for different purposes, again thinking about encouraging them to think for themselves
* Getting feedback on their work from others

Project homework
* Presenting their work in class

Learners could:
Keep a homework file, stick it in their books, make an electronic portfolio of their work

Burton, M. (2007) Reading. NIACE; Leicester

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