Professional Development

April 24, 2021

6 Tips for Managing Literacy Centers at End of the Year

Literacy centers have such a special place in the classroom. Students love stations that are meaningful, engaging, and purposeful. When a teacher is managing literacy centers well, guided reading can happen without with minimal distractions. Literacy centers can be powerful!

Students get to read and write while participating in meaningful literacy experiences.

Students get to interact with others and practice social skills.

Literacy centers keep students engaged while the teacher can meet with small groups.

But what happens when students seem to get off-task, unmotivated, and distracted, especially at the end of the year? Managing literacy centers at the end of the year (think May!) can be tricky. If you can keep motivated to find ways to manage centers, students can enjoy the many benefits of literacy stations.

Here are a few of my favorite tips for managing literacy centers towards the end of the year.

Add a new element to one of your regular centers

If students are struggling to stay engaged in a center and seem bored, try adding something new to a center. You don’t have to get fancy, just something that will pique their interest and motivate them to do what they are supposed to.

For example, use your writing center to review previously taught science subjects. You can squeeze in writing and academic science vocabulary. Try adding in some picture cards and prompts for students to use and see what happens!

Add a new center

Another thing you can try to keep students on-task and engaged at the end of the year is to add a new center. Now, I wouldn’t do this if the thought of it will drive you bananas. Keep it simple and easy for yourself.

One center that could be easy to add is a game center. You can take a game you already have and turn it into a sight word game (more on that HERE). Just add sight word cards or add sight words to game pieces.

These games and puzzles are perfect for morning work in the kindergarten and first grade classroom! Your little learners will be able to chat and practice literacy and math skills, too!

Switch up literacy center partners

If your students have a regular center group or partner, try switching them up. Sometimes having a new partner helps students stay focused and get excited again for literacy centers. A fresh face can go a long way towards student engagement!

Try themed literacy centers to go with what you’re teaching

Another way to make managing literacy centers at the end of the year easier is to try keeping your same centers, but make one (or a few) themed to go with science, social studies, or a season.

For example, in May, you could do habitats or ocean themes. You could implement this into:

  • word work
  • poetry
  • sight word practice
  • make a book station

Actively monitor students in centers

If you’re finding students off-task and distracted, try actively monitoring students during centers. Get up from the guided reading table and walk around for a sneak peek while students are working. This will keep them on their toes! You can pass out stickers to friends who are on-task or give thumbs up!

Keep things simple

Take some time to reevaluate and be sure that you haven’t accidentally overcomplicated things. Sometimes successfully managing literacy centers comes back to keeping things simple for both your students and yourself.

Manging literacy centers at the end of the year can be tough! You’re not alone if you find yourself constantly redirecting or running out of ideas to keep students engaged and participating in meaningful work. Try one of these solutions to keep students engaged in literacy centers so that you can implement guided reading.

If you want to try something that…

  • is already planned out for you
  • has everything you and your learners will need
  • is engaging, effective, and meaningful

I’d recommend the May Literacy Stations resource.

This all-inclusive resource has everything you’ll need for literacy stations in one place. It even has digital components for distance learning! There are activities for seven stations:

  • Book Making
  • Listening
  • Word Work
  • Sight Words
  • Pocket Chart
  • Writing
  • Poetry

Students will practice a variety of skills like reading, writing, poetry, and phonics. This unit has a fun theme that’s sure to help keep students excited to come to stations. You can get the May Literacy Centers in my TpT store HERE.

Happy Teaching,



Want to use the latest research to boost your readers during small groups? Thisย FREEย guide is packed with engaging ideas to help them grow!

Hi, I'm Amanda

I’m a K-1 teacher who is passionate about making lessons your studentsย loveย and that areย easy to implementย for teachers.ย ย Helping teachers like you navigate their way through their literacy block brings me great joy. I am a lifelong learner who loves staying on top of current literacy learning and practices. Here, youโ€™ll find the tools you need to move your K-2 students forward!


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