An important part of any primary classroom is its literacy centers. They allow for children to have independent opportunities for reading, writing, cooperation with others and the centers are geared toward targeted skill(s). Centers can be run in a variety of ways. Students can work independently or in groups, you can have mixed ability or like groups, you can assign their centers or give them the choice. There is no one “right” way, you have to do what works best for you and your students. Selecting and creating centers can be the hardest part. Here is a framework of ideas that you can build upon to build your centers. Be sure to change it up, rotate them from time to time so that the kids don’t get bored by them (you know what happens to disengaged students) and don’t be afraid to throw in some technology!
- computer center–sites that apply to the skill set that you have taught and kids need to practice
- ABC center–alphabetizing, sand letters, tracing the alphabet, handwriting
- writing center-write the room, write words from your word wall, letter writing, rainbow spelling
- listening center–children listen to others read to them as they follow along
- word family–rhyming, creating words with the same word family i.e. -at, matching word family cards
- classroom library–kids can read independently from a large assortment of classroom books
- buddy reading–kids read books that they have received from their guided reading time with a partner
- poetry center-read from their poetry binders, create their own poetry, read class created poetry
- journal center–write from the given topic, free write, add to previous journal entries
Remember that centers should be review of previously taught curriculum. We want students to feel comfortable and confident with what they are working on, in doing so it will help to minimize any poor behavior. Be sure to teach them your expectations for each center and model it, I made anchor charts for each of my centers for kids to go back and look how a center should be done. If you have great center suggestions, please share them with us!