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Differentiated Reading Homework

Product Description

Celebrate September with this Close Reading FREEBIE. This is a sample of my larger monthly close reading units. The full unit has 20 passages written at FOUR levels. Fully Aligned to Common Core! Text dependent questions are written for text evidence purposes.

Click here to see my 200+ Passages 4 Differentiated Levels Monthly Close Reading Club January thru June!

Differentiating Close Reading or Weekly Reading Homework is a breeze!


This FREEBIE is a sample of "some" activities for one passage written at FOUR levels from my monthly close reading and text evidence unit for September.

SevenCommon Core aligned activities are included for this FREEBIE!

The full September unit is described below.


Fully Aligned to Common Core Standards!

Your one stop source for September reading! Inside the full unit are 20 September themed passages written at FOUR different levels. Use for Close Reading or homework!

Informative, Relevant, Engaging, and Meaningful Reading!

Inside the full 400 page September Close Reads unit:

20 Passages written at 4 Levels + 7 Activities for Each Passage
In order by theme:
Monthly Observances:
>> Remember September
>> Better Breakfast Month
>> Hispanic Heritage Month
>> Classical Music Month
Patriotic, Fun, and Themed Holidays
>> Labor Day
>> Constitution Day
>> Citizenship Day
>> Mayflower Day
>> Uncle Sam Day
>> Grandparents Day
>> Teddy Bear Day
>> Video Game Day
>> All About Fall
Significant Historical September Events
>> Calculators
>> Skyscrapers
>> Star-Spangled Banner
>> Fall Football
>> The Panama Canal
>> Jane Addams
>> The Hoover Dam

*** 3 pages of questions per passage (4-5 questions on each page)
* 1st Question Page: Key Ideas and Details (Addresses RI.1, RI.2, RI.3)
* 2nd Question Page: Craft and Structure (Addresses RI.4, RI.5, RI.6)
* 3rd Question Page: Integration of Knowledge and Ideas (Addresses RI.7, RI.8)
---- (Vocabulary is delicately selected to ensure appropriate text evidence support.)

*** Full Answer Key for ALL three question pages.
(Save Ink! One page is used for each of the three question pages.)

*** 1 Graphic Organizer per passage for Key Ideas and Details
---- (Use for paragraph focus! Ensure students get the gist.)

*** 1 "Fill-In" poster per passage. Cloze type activity for basic facts.
---- (Use to decorate bulletin boards or hallways)

*** 2 Writing pieces per passage.
---- For opinions/text evidence/personal connections!

*** Three Day Close Reading General Outline
(Some ideas for a 4th or 5th day are also provided)
*** Three Text Coding Posters. One for each Common Core Category!
*** Passages are also included without the border.
Provided for those who want students to annotate without distracting frames.

New to this September Unit:
>>>>> Text structure breakdown:
----- (I recommend using for the Second Close Read.)

>>>>> Two or more graphic organizers for all five structures:
----- Sequence, Cause & Effect, Compare & Contrast, Descriptive, Problem & Solution.

>>>>> Additional Common Core Informational Text Graphic Organizers
------ Each is labeled with the standard.

>>>>> Three Generic Comprehension Sheets Free of Common Core Standards.
----- Provided for teachers who are not using CCSS.

>>>>> Weekly Homework Assignment Sheets
----- There are five different assignment options
----- Two versions: With or Without Adult Initials
----- One blank template for each version. Twelve pages total.

As always, you will find:

*** Modern Clickable Titles: Table of Contents with lexile levels.
*** Good Old Fashion Table of Contents with page numbers.

These timeless passages and the corresponding activities can be used all year!
Not just during September!

Use for fluency practice!
Each passage page has the word count and lexile level clearly indicated.

Will work nicely for whole group, small group, social studies, American History, and more!

This set will also work perfectly for read-alouds.
"Close Reading" can happen with read-alouds. ;)

Common Core Standards are listed in the answer key and next to each question so you are sure which standards are being addressed.

2nd Grade Common Standards Addressed
RI.2.1, RI.2.2, RI.2.3, RI.2.4, RI.2.5, RI.2.6, RI.2.7, RI.2.8, RI.2.9, RI.2.10

3rd Grade Common Standards Addressed
RI.3.1, RI.3.2, RI.3.3, RI.3.4, RI.3.5, RI.3.6, RI.3.7, RI.3.8, RI.3.9, RI.3.10

4th Grade Common Standards Addressed
RI.4.1, RI.4.2, RI.4.3, RI.4.4, RI.4.5, RI.4.6, RI.4.7, RI.4.8, RI.4.9, RI.4.10

Original works of
© 24/7 Teacher, 2014

Please ask any and all questions prior to purchasing!

Click here to ask Amy a question @

For more on Text Coding, Text Structures, and Close Reading of Informational Texts.

Click here to see my Interactive Notebook for Informational Text, Text Structures, and Close Reads.

Click here to see my Monthly Close Reading Units.
"Helping your children become text-dependent!"
Each monthly unit has history, biographies, science topics, holidays, and more!
Designed for Close Reading: Other uses includehomework, social studies, or science.
Text dependent questions are designed for text evidence responses!
Each passage is written at FOUR levels. From mid-first to mid-fifth!
Each passage has five or more activities. Use for guided reading!
Each passage can be used as week-long homework!
Click here to check out my Monthly Close Reading Club!
Click below to see each individual unit in this file.

Click here to see my January Close Reading Unit. 20 passages: EACH Written at FOUR levels.
Click here to see my February Close Reading Unit. 20 passages: EACH Written at 3 levels.
Click here to see my March Close Reading Unit. 20 passages: EACH Written at FOUR levels.
Click here to see my April Close Reading Unit. 20 passages: EACH Written at FOUR levels.
Click here to see my May Close Reading Unit. 20 passages: EACH Written at FOUR levels.
Click here to see my June Close Reading Unit. 20 passages: EACH Written at FOUR levels.
Click here to see my August Close Reading Unit. 10 passages: EACH Written at FOUR levels.
Click here for the September Close Reading Unit. 20 passages: EACH Written at FOUR levels.
Click here for the October Close Reading Unit. 20 passages: EACH Written at FOUR levels.
Click here for the November Close Reading Unit. 20 passages: EACH Written at FOUR levels.
Please click through the links above to see more of each. :)

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Click here to contact Amy @

All informational texts are original. Literature or fiction pieces are either original pieces written by J. Harrod or retellings by me from public domain. Original pieces are the copyrighted works of Joe Harrod, operating under the umbrella entity of American Production 24/7LLC DBA 247 Teacher.

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Making Homework Matter- Differentiate The Homework

Sep 11, 2011 byWhitney Hoffman

In our book, Jenifer and I knew we’d have to address homework.  It’s one of the issues that constantly puts teachers, students and parents at odds.  The real issue with homework is that kids often don’t see the point and it seems like busy work, rather than something that seems to have value.  Can you blame kids? I can’t begin to tell you how many times my kids have said things like “She never checks the homework, so really, why should I do it?”  It’s not that they don’t understand the value of practice, but they do look at it as the teacher assigns homework, but seems not to care or be invested in whether the work is actually done or not.  Is it any wonder why they see no real reason to complete it and stop caring as well?

The New York Times wrote about the topic, in a great opinion piece entitled “The Trouble with Homework.”  One great quote is the following:

In a 2008 survey, one-third of parents polled rated the quality of their children’s homework assignments as fair or poor, and 4 in 10 said they believed that some or a great deal of homework was busywork. A new study, coming in the Economics of Education Review, reports that homework in science, English and history has “little to no impact” on student test scores. (The authors did note a positive effect for math homework.) Enriching children’s classroom learning requires making homework not shorter or longer, but smarter.

In the first chapter of our book, Jenifer and I came up with many ways teachers can differentiate the homework, making it more personally relevant for each child in the classroom.  In the best of circumstances, homework should be work that should be done individually, whether it’s practice, reflective work, or other work that frankly doesn’t require the audience and collaboration of the classroom itself.  By using homework to prepare for class discussions the next day, to make sure that students have critical pieces of projects dine and ready for group work and the like, makes it more likely that the homework will get done, and that it has meaning.

Making homework meaningful also means making class time more meaningful.  If you are together with thirty other students, shouldn’t this be a time to share ideas and collaborate?  To learn from and with each other?  If kids are spending class time doing things like sustained silent reading, this is in some ways wasting the purpose of spending time together in the class, unless the purpose of the exercise is learning to read in a library or public setting.

Assessments can also be part of homework,  Instead of looking at assessments as tests taken during the day, how about trying to give kids open ended questions or novel problems where they have to take what they’ve been learning and apply it to solve a bigger problem?  This gives kids more time to really display what they know, and show mastery (or lack thereof) on assignments in a way that  a multiple choice test in class never will.

We also encourage teachers to try to make homework interactive.  Sometimes this can be reading an article and commenting on it on a classroom blog or wiki.  It could be assembling artifacts about a topic on their own wiki, or with a group.  It could be participating in a discussion through Skype.  Any of these assignments give kids an opportunity to express themselves as well as serving as a jumping off point for classroom discussions the next day.

Homework shouldn’t be a punishment.  If a teacher adds extra homework when the kids are bad, kids will naturally start to associate any form of homework as a form of punishment, not just “discipline”, which in its most authentic form means To Teach.  Homework should  be an opportunity to extend learning, to make connections with the outside world, and start to see how the classroom learning connects with their larger lives.

Now I know full well that some kids need more practice than others, or may memorize things faster than others.  In which case, why do all kids need to do 35 math problems when some have mastered the concept in the first 5 or 6?  The rest of those problems, for those students, is mere repetition and sheer tedium, teaching them nothing new.  Teachers need to help figure out which students need more practice, or perhaps even a different kid of practice than blindly assuming repeating the same procedure over and over will make a kid smarter.  In fact, it seems to me Einstein said the definition of insanity was doing the same task over and over again yet expecting different results.  Maybe there’s room here to start thinking about homework, and what we want kids to get out of it.

Let’s not forget one of the options all teachers have is to ask their students not only how they feel about homework, but why.  If they say it’s stupid and boring, then you need to ask the next question- Why?  What about it is stupid and boring?  How could we make it better?  If you were in charge, how would you change the homework?  Most teachers will be surprised that the majority of kids will give you thoughtful and insightful answers to these questions, and will take them seriously.

I think both teachers and students (not to mention parents) deserve to have more thought and purpose put into homework, and for homework to become a more collaborative process for everyone.


What do you think?

Could you differentiate the homework in your classroom?  Why or Why Not?