Literacy Center Ideas!

I've been getting tons of questions about literacy centers lately, so I thought it would be a good idea to share with you all what we do!

First of all, our students are half day, so we only get to teach them for about 3 hours a day! Fitting it all in is tough, but we sure do get a lot done! We do literacy centers for the first 30 minutes of the day. This is when I pull my intervention group and the rest of the class chooses what they want to do. Two students go to the listening center each morning, and two get to paint at the art center. The rest of the students choose what they want to do.

Here's a look at some of our literacy centers:


Handwriting Center:
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Now-I-Know-My-ABCs-A-Z-Practice-Pages-723765

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Now-I-Know-My-ABCs-A-Z-Practice-Pages-723765

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Now-I-Know-My-ABCs-A-Z-Practice-Pages-723765
{These pages come from my A-Z Practice Pages}
 Each week we focus on a letter so I just change the alphabet practice page inside the write & wipe pocket. I found these in the Target dollar spot a few summers ago, but they also sell them at Lakeshore. My students love the novelty of practicing their letters and then erasing them. They will do it over and over and over again ;)

Word Work Center:


 We've been using Caitlin Clabby's magnetic word mats! They love using the little magnetic letters to match letters and find beginning sounds.

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Fall-Math-and-Literacy-Centers-Bundled-865759

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Fall-Math-and-Literacy-Centers-Bundled-865759

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Fall-Math-and-Literacy-Centers-Bundled-865759
  {these activities are from my Fall Math and Literacy Centers pack}

Writing Center:
We are starting to use our high-frequency words to build sentences. I introduced this center as a whole group first so that everyone understood what to do.
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Word-Cards-for-the-Year-bundle-pack-1299742

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Word-Cards-for-the-Year-bundle-pack-1299742

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Word-Cards-for-the-Year-bundle-pack-1299742

Then they completed the recording pages independently.
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Word-Cards-for-the-Year-bundle-pack-1299742
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Word-Cards-for-the-Year-bundle-pack-1299742
{this activity is from my word cards pack}

Read to Self:

We use handmade "whisper phones" and these awesome Vocabulary Builder Books from Lakeshore.

Listening Center:
We have a seasonal books on tape for our students to listen to. They love this center! {even if they have no idea what the word "rewind" means LOL}

Our reading groups run 3 days a week for an hour and our students rotate through three groups. One group always works with the teacher, one works with our assistant and one group is independent or works with a parent if we are lucky enough to have a volunteer! I put a center at the rotation with our aide and parent volunteer/independent table for the kids to work on when they finish their "must do". It is definitely busy, but it works for us!

Reading Groups:

 I always pull a small group with me and we work on reading sight words, decoding, fluency and accuracy. This is where we also work on Elkonin, word chains and guided writing.

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Sight-Word-Writing-Practice-BUNDLE-Pack-348849

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Sight-Word-Writing-Practice-BUNDLE-Pack-348849
{this writing activity comes from my Sight Word Practice pack}

Sight Word Center:
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Sight-Word-Writing-Practice-BUNDLE-Pack-348849

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Sight-Word-Writing-Practice-BUNDLE-Pack-348849
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Sight-Word-Writing-Practice-BUNDLE-Pack-348849
{these activities also come from my Sight Word Practice}

Play-doh center:
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Lets-Learn-our-Letters-play-dough-mats-934063

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Lets-Learn-our-Letters-play-dough-mats-934063

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Lets-Learn-our-Letters-play-dough-mats-934063
 {this activity comes from my Let's Learn our Letters pack} 

My class love, love, loves the play-doh center. It may or may not have to do with the fact that I had the play-doh out taunting them before I let them use it ;) They use the play-doh to form our letters and then practice writing them with the dry-erase marker. Soon we will practice spelling CVC words and our sight words with play-doh!

Along with my general centers, I have a ton of seasonal centers that I love to use in my classroom! The kids are just so much more engaged when you change it up a little! It is a lot of work to prep everything monthly, but it's TOTALLY worth it!

I have centers up in my shop for every month! You can find all of them in a money saving bundle {here}!
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Math-Literacy-Centers-for-the-Year-MEGA-bundle-1204300

I hope this was helpful and gave you some ideas!

Have more questions? Leave a comment below and I will do my best to answer them!

18 comments

  1. Love them all! I especially love the mixed sentences at guided reading!

    Tara

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  2. Thanks for sharing! I didn't know your kids were only half day. Does this mean you teach a morning and afternoon group, or you just have the 1 group?

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  3. Holy cow! Chock-full of fabulousness! Love the paper friendly centers.
    ~Christy & Tammy
    Fluttering Through First Grade

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  4. Brittani, yes! One group comes for 3 hours in the morning and another comes for 3 hours in the afternoon. I get to repeat myself a lot ;)

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  5. *First: You are awesome!
    *Second: Your centers always rock
    *Third: Do you use Read Well for GR? The pages look familiar.
    *Fourth: Thanks for letting me peek into your classroom
    *Fifth: You are freakin awesome {You deserved another awesome}

    Shuna
    Pocket Full of Kinders

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  6. Thanks for sharing all of these great ideas! Very helpful!!

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  7. I give my kids 15 minutes at each center. How long do your students stay at a center?

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  8. Shuna, thank you!! I love your ideas too!!

    Katie, I do 15 minutes too! I usually take about 5 minutes before we start to explain what they will do at each center, and then a little bit of time in between in center to clean up and rotate :)

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  9. Your stuff is so great! I recently bought the ABC packet, it's the perfect thing for our letter practice! I also love the mixed up sentences, that is such great practice.

    It's good to hear that there are other half day Kindergartens out there...sometimes I feel like we're the only ones trying to fit it all in in just 3 hours. I'd love to hear more about your daily/weekly schedule. I'm always looking for ideas on how to get everything done!

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  11. SO great! I like the playdoh center, I have been looking for something to change up my playdoh place. Thanks!

    Bright Bulldogs

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  12. Thank you so much! I will be starting my first year as a Kindergarten teacher and have been searching for some ideas to use and adapt into my classroom. Your ideas will be a big help. Thank you so much! :o)

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  13. Thanks for the center ideas. I just bought those monster hands at the 99 cent store and am going to do the same thing as you did. I also bought those sleeve protectors on groupon and haven't used them. You've inspired me to get them out and use them for penmanship practice. I can't wait to get more ideas from following your blog. I'm so thankful for the internet and sharing ideas. It definitely takes a village to raise a child thats for sure.

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  14. I tried clicking on the link for the "word cards" and when the TPT page comes up it says it can't find it. Is this still available in your store? amyrhine17@gmail.com

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  15. Thanks for your idea of whisper phones for reading to self. I love all your interactive, hands on ideas. I"m wondering if your students chose the centers? Do they have to rotate? How do you organize that part?

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    1. In the past, I let them choose a center, but this year we are trying a more structured approach. We have 8 rotations and the students move through them daily.

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  16. You teach half day and you're still enthusiastic! I have taught half day for 3 years now and still struggling to fit it all in. Plus planning time AHH! How do you run your literacy activities? I have kept my guided reading groups together through rotations and have found that the behaviors are not allowing work to be completed at their best! You say you rotate through 8 daily? How do you fit that in to a 3 hour time period?

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    1. Hi Ashtyn! So we have 8 centers and each pair does 1 center a day. So it actually takes us 2 weeks to go through all the centers! It has worked really well for us this year and the kids are awesome at using their center time wisely! I don't think my district will ever move to full day kinder, we just don't have enough room!

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