Updated: Jul 23, 2021
When it comes to literacy centers in the kindergarten classroom there are an endless amount of choices. It can be mind boggling to sift through the many advertised products and teacher recommended resources. My approach to literacy instruction centers around the Daily 5. With word work, work on writing and meet with the teacher being highest on my list. If you have never heard of The Daily 5 I would highly recommend you look into it's structure to simplify your literacy centers and reading block. You can find the book on amazon.
I have compiled a list of my favorite ideas for literacy centers below with a list of my favorite classroom materials to include in these activities. These literacy for kindergarten activities can be used independently or in small group reading instruction.
Before we begin I will put together a word work anchor chart to teach how our reading block will run and what my expectations are for our word work Daily 5 station. The Daily 5 book gives great visuals and procedures for creating these charts. ( I would post a picture but I am afraid it could be construed as copyright infringement so I will let you search for this on your own.) I will review this anchor chart each day until the class is comfortable with the procedure and it is always displayed for the students to reference.
When I use games for my word work activities I always play them in small group instruction first. This ensures that the kiddos know the rules and can be taught how to take turns and play fairly. Once they are comfortable with game play I will reduce this teaching so I have more time for direct reading instruction. For those that are not ready for multiplayer games I always have another option that works on the same concept as the game.
One of my word work strategies is to make the stations an extension of what was taught in small groups. So, if I am teaching a small group about short vowel words I will put letter beads and picture cards for the kiddos to work on. If I have groups on different levels then all I have to do is change out the cards. (The cards in this picture were not created by me, they were made by A Differentiated Kindergarten)
As you can see my word work stations for this week were letter beads and picture/word cards. This one is easy to differentiate as all you need to do is switch the cards for each group. I give each group a color and they take/return their groups cards between each rotation. This saves me from having to reset between each group.
My Favorite Literacy Center Supplies:
Word building Letter Beads: In uppercase and/or lowercase these beads are great for word work practice and spelling activities.
Magnetic Foam or Plastic Letters: For building words on a cookie sheet or whiteboard these letters are great manipulatives for reading instruction. I especially like this center that uses them from Lakeshore.
Dollar Store Cookie Sheets: These make working with letters so much easier. No more letters spilled all over the floor during small group instruction.
Lap Desks and Scoop Chairs: These define the working space for the kiddos. Instead of sitting at their desks all the time they can have the novelty of using flexible seating for their word work activities or word work printables.
Gel pens and Special Markers: I like to allow the kiddos to do some work with special colors when appropriate. I find their work to be better when I can make it fun.
Literacy Games: The novelty of games makes learning to read more fun! I really love this Sight Word Soup game from Lakeshore. The kiddos love scooping out the noodles and matching them to the correct soup bowls. I have had this for over 7 years and every year it has been a huge hit! (This little guy needed some help with matching his sight words.)
My Favorite Literacy for Kindergarten Activities:
Write the Room: This is my #1 favorite word work station. Going around the room to find and match words to pictures is great fun and once a routine is established it runs easily. I use a write the room at least 2x per week. I often add my FREE Movement Cards to my write the room activities to give the kiddos a little bit of exercise while they are working.
Letter Formation and Direction Practice: At the beginning of Kindergarten I find it beneficial to use some work on writing time practicing proper letter formation and direction. I use my Dyslexia Worksheets 1 and Dyslexia Worksheets 2 with almost all of my students to help encourage their writing. I also use my handwriting worksheets that are free to you on this website when you become a member.
Word building with manipulatives: I will use just about anything I have to stimulate word learning. At the beginning of the year we used dominoes to write our names. As the year went on we had challenges to build words with other manipulatives.
Word Work Printables: There are so many great literacy center options that you can download and print. Many you can find for free or at a low cost. Here my group was learning "sl" so I gave them a printable blend book to work on. They loved it! Find the blend reader here: "SL" Blend Reader I also love printable centers that have recording sheets so I can track their learning. I often put the recording sheets into dry erase pockets and grade them on the spot.
Labeling Sheets: Add a bit of science to your word work stations with labeling sheets. My kiddos loved to label all kinds of animals and draw items to label.
Journaling: Whether in a notebook or on writing sheets journaling is a great activity for the kiddos to learn how to write. Now this one truly fall under the work on writing section of The Daily 5 but I felt it deserved a spot on this list since I use it so often. Most times I give the kiddos a prompt or subject to write and draw about but I also find I get better work when I give them a chance to write their own thoughts sometimes. I left her smile in the picture because she was so happy and so proud of herself!
All of these suggestions can also be used as activities for first grade and even possibly second. I hope you find them useful in your classroom.
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