(This is only a problem if a child loses a book, because parents don’t like to pay for books that someone else’s child lost.) I know that checking out books to parents is a LOT of extra time and work, but I do think that it is well worth it, because many of the parents take the responsibility of helping their child learn to read quite seriously.
The child gets tons of extra help at home, and then becomes a fluent reader by the end of kindergarten. There are five worksheets for each word family unit, and flash cards that go with each one.
(We usually lose about two per year out of 25-28 kids due to damage or loss.) If a child loses one, he or she then gets a zip lock bag for the rest of the year instead of a nice bag with a handle.
When the books come back, I cross out the name and put it back into the correct book, making sure that the child’s index card number matches the copy number on the book, because every now and then the kids get their books switched.
They take their books home in library bags with their names taped on them that I purchase from Demco library supplies.
They are very sturdy and usually last four or five years, provided that they do not get lost.
On Tuesdays, I usually assign a sentence or two for the children to write.
Ideally, it should be very close to what we are going to write about in class on Wednesday during guided writing, because this will make my job just that much easier the next day.
When I taught first grade, I gave math homework every night, as well as literacy homework. I have a prize box with old toys in it, such as Happy Meal toys, etc. I let the children that bring back their Read Aloud Charts choose a prize from the prize box, too. Later in the year, when we really start sounding out words, I add another chart that is similar to the Read Aloud Chart, but says “Sounding Out Words Practice Chart” at the top.
Sometimes, parents tell me, “We do read every night, but I just don’t write it down. He really wants one.” I just tell them that I cannot give credit for incomplete work, and I suggest that they hand the child a pencil and have him or her write it down! The parents are supposed to mark the date when they have practiced sounding out words with their children.