PS/IS 686 | Brooklyn, NY

Reading response help for HW

Dear Parents,


I want to blog today about how you can support your child when they write their reading response for HW.

Here are the basic details

When is it due:  Every Wednesday

Where does my child write it?  In their Humanities NB in the “reading” section.

What should it look like?  The date should be clearly written on top.  You should have your child indicate that they completed it for a HW by writing “HW” on the top of the page.  The title of the book should be clearly written as a title for the page.

What books should my child be reading?  At this moment in time we are focussing mainly on character development.  It would be wise to have your child choose a book with a believable character.  To push your child even more, read the back of the book and check to see if there might be a typical theme.  (Friendship, fitting it, growing up etc)  Books with themes often have clear character change in them.  Here is a great link from Teacher’s College Columbia University that lists books that would be great to read with your children at home.  Keep in mind that children entering the 4th grade are reading at Guided Reading level P-R.  If you would like to know approximately what level your child is reading at, email me.

How should my child organize it?  As your child reads, ask them if they are making any inferences.  Remind them inferences are conclusions that you have figured out that are often “hidden” in the book.  It is not directly said.  *Read my last blog for some ideas on the kinds of inferences students make-feelings, character traits, predictions, drawing conclusions etc.  This week and next we will continue to look for patterns in the way our characters are acting.  Have your child stop after a few pages and write a brief list of the inferences he/she had.  Have them put a star next to the strongest one.  Have them copy the inference into a box.  Then, take that idea and use it as a topic sentence for a paragraph.  Your child should then support the inference with several details.

Let’s take a look at a response below.  The child listed her inferences.  The child wrote the inference into a box.  The child wrote a paragraph.  Personally, I felt like the idea she chose was not a true inference, but it was literally said in the book. I would push this students to choose the second inference because it could easily be supported by details from the story.


Here are some helpful prompts that you might use.  Have your child notice the actions, thoughts, words and feelings of the characters in their books.

  • How is your character feeling in this part of the book?  Has it changed?  Why? (feelings)
  • How might you describe your character using a strong adjective?  (character traits)
  • Is your character doing something that you don’t agree with?  What is your opinion about it?
  • At the end of your book, has your character learned anything about life?
  • What patterns do you notice in the book?  What do these patterns reveal or show about your character?
  • Is your character changing?  How?  What made them change? (drawing a conclusion)



  • Don’t forget our first field trip to Gerritsen Beach Salt Marsh is scheduled for November 2nd.
  • We will have an archaeologist visit our class the following day to talk about the artifacts that she unearthed at the Salt Marsh.
  • I am putting in your child’s binder today a editing check off list so that you may support them at home.