When you finally have all of your data, your guided reading groups formed, and your materials gathered, you may think you are ready for guided reading. There is just one problem. You need activities for literacy centers.
And you don’t just need any kind of literacy center activity. You need something that is meaningful, aligned to standards, provides practice in an area that your students actually need, and you need something that doesn’t wear you out preparing.
I have gathered eight activities for literacy centers that I have shared over the years FREE. They are kid-tested and teacher approved!
1. Alphabet Sequencing
A great beginning of the year activity is alphabet sequencing. It uses a very familiar tool- magnetic letters. It’s easy to prepare and is a great literacy center activity for your word work station or magnetic letter station.
If you want to get fancy, you can put magnetic tape on the back of the strips and the students can put them on the side of your file cabinet to complete. Get this Alphabet Sequencing Activity HERE free!
2. Beginning Sounds Boom Cards™
If you are new around here, then let me have the pleasure of introducing you to the glory that is Boom Cards™! Teachers (& parents), Boom Cards™ are awesome for so many reasons and you can read more about how to use them HERE in this blog post.
In a nutshell, they are interactive task cards that are SELF-CHECKING! You can assign certain decks to students, monitor their progress, and kids truly enjoy them. You can try a FREE deck that focuses on beginning sounds HERE.
3. Name Activities
When you are working to build classroom community, learning each other’s names is a great place to begin. I loved having my kids do all kinds of activities in the pocket chart station with each other’s names. I have five FREE Name Activities that your kids can do.
If you don’t have a pocket chart station, this will work great in a word work station, too.
4. Listening Center Recording Sheets
Setting up a listening station is one of the first few things I do as I introduce centers. It’s simple, the kids love it, and it’s very engaging. If you want to read more about how I do that, you can check out this blog post that is all about introducing the listening station.
If you don’t have books and CDs (Do they even sell these anymore?), you can use sites such as StorylineOnline.net to have kids listen to books. After they listen 2 or 3 times, you can have them fill out a recording page to share about what they heard!
Click HERE to grab the 4 free listening center data sheets!
5. Independent Reading in Literacy Centers
No matter what stations are your favorites to include, I know that independent reading is happening in your classroom. There just isn’t a better way for kids to authentically practice reading than grabbing a book and reading to their heart’s desire!
With all that is going on getting books in your kids’ hands may be tricky. Here are a few favorite websites you can use for digital book access!
- HooplaDigital.com (You just need your public library card!)
Grab a tablet or computer and share these favorite book sites with your kids!
6. Book Making
One of the first stations that a co-worker introduced me to that I just loved and used every year in one way or another was a “Book Making” station. The way this station works is simple. I would put a mini-book in a tub and kids would either have to complete the text or simply color the pictures. Then, their job was to read the book with 3 friends. Kids loved this station and it was a great way for them to build their own library both at school in their independent book tubs and at home!
You can grab this FREE My School mini-book right here!
7. Writing Prompts
How are you squeezing in some extra writing? I’m thinking beyond writer’s workshop. Just like in reading we al like to pick and choose what we read about, as writers, we all enjoy some freedom there, too. You can do this by providing blank writing paper or by providing some fun, thematic writing prompts. Here are a few free writing prompts your writers will love!
8. Poetry Station
It took me a few years to embrace a poetry station. In my classroom, it was probably more often called the “Pocket Chart” station. I would write the poem of the week on sentence strips and place it in our station. The kids would work to re-order the sentence strips, read the poem, and then place a copy in their Song and Poem books that were a big part of their book tubs. Kids LOVED reading the poems over and over. Plus, it is a great way to practice fluency!
Don’t delay adding this station to your rotation if you haven’t already! Grab a FREE poem HERE and get started!
Wherever you may be in your literacy center journey my best advice is to just begin. I shared some tips on beginning centers and more of my favorite centers here in this post. Find a literacy center that you can easily teach your kids, practice it with them, and then let them shine! Kids love literacy centers.