When I taught 2nd I had a collection of books that went home with a stuffed animal that matched the book. I had about 25 of them (I inherited these from another teacher, and passed them along when I left that school.) They would keep the book and there was an activity for it each night. Day 1- read the story to yourself Day 2- read the story to a silbling or parent Day 3- find 10 high frequency words in the story (or rhyming words, or something like that.) Day 4- write about what "Arthur" (or whoever) did at your house this week. (Or some other prompt) They always came back. The kids wanted a new one each week. I did run out by mid-year, but by then they understood the routine and could do it with any book. They had a form to use. I didn't do spelling tests though, so that was one less homework to do. I had each kid make a set of flash cards which they were "supposed" to practice with as well. I did time tests a few times a month to check up, but wasn't great about that. That was all the homework I gave- unless the math curriculum had something that needed to be done for the next lesson.