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Homework assignment keeps on giving

Teenager boy reading ancient book; isolated on white.

Teenager boy reading ancient book; isolated on white. Credit: iStock Mikhail Lavrenov -

At the end of the school year, my son came home and announced that there is no more homework.

“Just read, Mrs. Ortega said,” Harrison told us.

Mrs. Ortega, his third-grade teacher in Huntington, stressed the importance of reading throughout the school year. It was what they were required to do at the end of each school day. They kept a reading journal throughout the year, and sometimes wrote book reports.

Soon I discovered Harrison had set up a corner of my office just for the purpose of reading. I walked in on him one day, sitting at a once-lonely table with a stack of all the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” books he had already read over the years. “Pretend you didn’t see me,” he said, explaining later that he wants it to be his secret reading spot.

Harrison has always enjoyed reading or being read to, but he also has a healthy childhood knack for watching television and playing video games. The non-homework homework assignment continued to manifest itself when Harrison started to cut off his own TV-and-video-game-playing time. Then some days or nights he wouldn’t even go near the devices.

Now reading for the enjoyment of it is a summer pastime. Thanks, Mrs. Ortega.

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