Long Beach school district eliminates homework for elementary students

LIDO BEACH, N.Y. — Elementary students have more than just summer vacation to be happy about — starting next school year, they will no longer be required to do homework.

In a letter sent home to parents this week, Long Beach Public Schools Superintendent  Jennifer Gallagher announced they would be eliminating traditional homework for elementary students.

"Homework is one of those elementary school practices that has endured for hundreds of years because we assume that it must help, right?" Gallagher wrote. "But there is a ton of research suggesting that homework in elementary grades doesn't help much at all."

While homework has a positive effect on middle and high school students, it doesn't do as much for elementary students, Gallagher wrote. The U.S. Department of Education found that the more students read for fun on their own time, the higher their reading scores.

With the elimination of traditional homework, Gallagher instead encourages every child and family to "WRaP" every night — Wonder, Read, and Play.

"We talked about reading and play, but encouraging children to 'wonder' is also a powerful tool," Gallagher wrote. "Curiosity is the foundation of learning. Ask your children every night, 'What’s one thing you wondered about today?' Research answers to their wonderings. And do it together, joyfully. You will model for your child that learning is fun!"

Gallagher makes a point to say this plan is not an excuse for students to spend more time after school watching TV or playing video games, and should dedicate some time to "WRaPing."

In addition to the WRaP system, the schools will adding short “brain breaks” in every elementary classroom to give students more opportunity to move and play.