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Literacy Centers



I am teaching first grade for the first time and we do guided reading. While I work with my small group, I have the other children do literacy centers. So far, I have used ABC magnets, letter tiles, letter writing practice strips, etc. Does anyone have any ideas for new and exciting centers? Thanks!


literacy centers

Hi, how about a listening center? If your school doesn't provide them to you, you can create your own fairly inexpensively. I went to Wal-Mart and bought individual cassette players for $5 each. I bought 4 of them. Using bonus points from book clubs I have built up my listening library. Parents donate batteries (we put this on our wish list/giving tree). You could also record yourself or parents reading different stories to give yourself a larger selection until you build up your listening library. I also have lots of file folder games that relate to specific skills and I pull the ones we are targeting each week. You could do word sorts, word families. Last year I got alphabet stampers and stamp pads and I have the kids stamp sight words, spelling words, rhyming words. Good luck!


Full Member

*Sentence/story starters - I cut out interesting pictures from magazines, glued themon construction paper (so they wouldn't get confused with front and back) and laminated them. The students had to either write 1-2 interesting DESCRIPTIVE sentences about it or use it to write a story.

*Silly Sentences - I had index cards with diffrent "parts" of a sentence, suck as who or what, did what, when, and where. ( I had them colored coded so that in the future it was easier for them to understand subject/ pred. etc --I teach ESE and tend to loop). They took one card from each bag (or coffee can), made a silly sentence such as Yesterday, my pencil danced under the couch. They loved it and as long as they were behaving, they could illustrate.

*Making Words - give them alphabet tiles for a long word (HALLOWEEN) and see how many words they can make. I gave them the tiles so they can manipulate them.


*Rainbow write their spelling words

*Illustrate vocabulary words

*"Remember Me?" - I put old guided reading books and other books we have read as a class into a basket that they can re-read.


Senior Member

If you don't mind spending money, you could buy a LeapPad to have in your listening center.

My kids also enjoy doing reading activities on the computers. Starfall.com and FunBrain.com have some games the kids enjoy playing.


New Member
Hey, I'm not sure if anyone will be reading this far down the board but I just wanted to add that there's a FANTASTIC book called , "what are the other kids doing while i'm teaching small groups?" It's such an easy read and every activity is like, spelled out for you with the worksheets included. I literally took all of my center ideas from this book. it's awesome!


New Member
reading and writing around the room!!

I have a center called reading and writing around the room. All they need is a pencil, clipboard and a paper. They go around the room and copy down any word that they see. It is a great activity because it is very independent.


Senior Member
Welcome to First Grade!

Some of my regular centers are:
  • magnet letters
  • letter tiles
  • stamping center (Really Good Stuff has some really good ones that are worth the investment)
  • Pocket Chart Center (which has multiple purposes - use for interactive writing and response kind of thing, and could be used for a sorting center (letter sounds/rhyming), or a poetry center
  • Read and Write the Room ( a must in my book - the kids LOVE hunting)
  • Word Wall Center (I keep the center name generic but alternate rainbow practice, stamping, tiles, magnetic letters, hunting for our 5 word wall words)
  • Word Study center (another generic center name for all my phonics games and activities)
  • Computer Center (sometimes they play games, other times they practice making words and sorting words from our mystery word which I have on Kidspiration) - this year I'm going to try to incorportate Listening Center in here as well)
  • Writing Center (usually responses to stories we have done - write a letter to the main character, create a new ending, tell about a time that happened to you, kind of thing)
Hope these help. If you need something, PM me or post and I'd be happy to share. First grade can be a little overwheming but in the 20 years I've been teaching first grade, I wouldn't have changed anything! <!--lovestruck--> I'm sure you will love it. <!--lovestruck--> Welcome to our first grade adventure!LOL