What do poetry, reading, writing, listening, community building, word work, and high-frequency words have in common? These are things that students can practice, review, and strengthen through kindergarten literacy centers! Once literacy centers (aka literacy stations) have been introduced and established, your students will love getting to work alongside their peers and strengthen their literacy skills at the same time.
But understanding what literacy stations are and are not and establishing them takes time and routines. Then, changing out literacy stations throughout the year can seem daunting, especially in kindergarten. You want your little learners to know what to do each day, but you’ll also need to switch out centers as students’ skills progress throughout the year. I’ll share a way to make stations much, much easier!
Let’s start at the beginning and dive into all about effective and engaging literacy centers!
What Are Literacy Centers?
A literacy center or station is simply a space in the classroom that is designated for a specific literacy learning purpose. Literacy centers are typically done in the reading block when the teacher is at the guided reading table meeting with small groups. While she does that, the rest of the students participate in literacy centers.
For kindergarten literacy centers, you’ll want to choose activities that are meaningful, engaging, and effective at reinforcing learning. Hands-on activities, games, and creativity-based stations are always favorites of little learners!
Stations can have recording sheets or not. Students can work together or independently. The great thing about kindergarten literacy centers is that you have the flexibility to design them for what will work best in your classroom for your students.
How Do You Begin Kindergarten Literacy Centers?
Kindergarten literacy centers typically start the first or second week of school. Seriously! We want to start introducing them as soon as possible so that you can begin reading assessments and guided reading assessments so that you can start guided reading!
First, start by thinking about what you do want and don’t want as far as stations go. Make yourself a list and create a chart for students so they’ll know how to rotate through stations each day. You’ll want to label tubs for each station that needs one so students know exactly where to go or what to grab for their station or center.
Then, you’ll start introducing centers one at a time. It looks something like this:
- Introduce the center with its name, expectations, and what to do.
- Model exactly how to do everything from getting the center (or going to it), setting it up, doing it, and cleaning up.
- Let students practice a quick version the station in small groups, one group at at time.
- Finally, slowly build up stamina and time for students to spend in each station.
You can read more about beginning literacy stations HERE.
How Do You Keep Students Engaged and Focused on Centers?
After setting up and beginning kindergarten literacy centers, the next step is to keep students engaged and focused. To help keep students on-task you can:
- try adding new things to a few stations (like new vocabulary cards for writing)
- establish a station expert to help those who may need it
- revisit the activities at each station to see if it’s enough, just right, or too little.
You can read more about keeping students on-task on my blog HERE!
Sometimes the whole class may need a quick reset to get back on track. You can try a brain break for a fast and easy break. You can also try a color-coded system for the noise level. I have a whole post on resetting kids in literacy stations you can read HERE. Just remember that even with practice and structure, your kindergarten learners may take some time to learn how to stay on-task and focused in stations.
7 Kindergarten Literacy Centers Made Easy For You!
One thing I’ve learned from experience is that keeping some of the same structure each week and month helps students know exactly what to do. The other big tip to successful centers is to make them high-quality so students are engaged and are successful.
My favorite stations for kindergarten are:
- Book Making
- Word Work
- Sight Words
- Pocket Chart
If you want to have these stations already done for you for each month or the whole entire year, I can help you! I created the Kindergarten Literacy Stations resources for each month with these seven stations already done for you. Plus, they progress each month as the school year goes on.
All you have to do is download, print, laminate (if you want!), and cut. That’s it! Plus, if you have virtual learners, every station comes in a digital version, too! Friend, don’t spend tons of time on Pinterest each month trying to plan and put together stations. Have that done for you so you can focus on your small group reading instruction!
Grab any of the monthly units today to get started, or grab the year-long bundle with 70 literacy stations to save!