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Why I love Write the Room Literacy Centers in Kindergarten

Updated: Aug 12, 2022

Write the room literacy centers in kindergarten (aka. read the room) has become one of my favorite literacy for kindergarten activities! I love to see kindergarten students work through movement activities in the classroom! Write the rooms are fun, engaging and easy to differentiate reading exercises for kindergarten that all children can be successful with. I use write the room activities in every subject to encourage language development and literacy skills. I often have it planned more than once a week!

Kindergarten write the room is so much more than just hanging pictures around the classroom and having the kids write down words. I think it is a great way to level the playing field by providing different ways to record the answers, kinesthetic learning opportunities and collaborative work. Kinders often do not recognize the differences when they are busy moving around the room. This way everyone gets a chance to work on their current learning level without feeling self conscious. I will have already talked to the class about how brains learn different things at different times and that we won’t always be doing the same work as our friends. That it is important that we focus on what our work is and not worry about the other work they see their friends doing.

Write the room literacy centers in kindergarten work on many facets of learning, see it -say it -write it is obvious but what nonteachers may not see is the movement and processing component, fine motor skill practice and self regulation. All of which lead to better recognition of the new vocabulary we are introducing the kiddos to. And write the room doesn't only apply to literacy centers in kindergarten but can be used for all subjects like math centers and science centers. While beneficial for all students, write the room is especially important when we look at language development norms. Children that have missed language development milestones or may have a language development delay or language development disorder need ways to learn language that encompass all learning facets. The language development of a 5 year old is very different from the language development of a 2 year old but I have had students over the years coming from home without the proper amount of language development and communication skills to be on level with their peers. For those students language development and reading skills suffer while they catch up. Literacy activities for kindergarten such as write the room are excellent activities to help bridge that gap.

I use a very simple procedure for write the room. I teach and model this in the first few weeks of school. We begin by gathering our supplies and meeting on the carpet. I instruct the class to bring their clipboard and pencil. I also have my clipboard and pencil to explain how we use them properly. (And no Johny we do not hit friends over the head with our clipboards during write the room, haha! Believe it or not I had a kinder who was going around and trying to lean on his friends' heads who were sitting on the floor. It was actually kind of hilarious but of course I couldn't let him know that!) The standard rules apply, no running, keep your body in its own space etc. etc.

Once we talk about not stabbing others in the eye with our pencils we get into the meat of the procedure. I explain how I want them to move around the room. Slowly from one card to the next in a circle around the perimeter of the room. I don’t let them wander aimlessly through the room as this wastes time and causes issues with other groups working once we begin reading rotations. I allow 2-3 friends at each card so sometimes they have to be patient and wait before moving to the next card. They are allowed to help each other and whisper because eventually this becomes a center during reading rotations that they will have to complete independently. We talk about being comfortable while writing, different surfaces we can lean on, laying on the floor etc. Some children will choose to write at a table or desk while others will choose sitting on the floor. Some will stand the whole time and others will scoot on their bottoms from card to card. What is important is that they are comfortable completing the activity, this leads to the best learning outcomes.

Before differentiating we all work on the same papers to get used to the procedure. The first few write the rooms I do are on blank sheets of copy paper. This way those that are still learning to write can form letters bigger than when there are lines and I can get an idea of which students can write their letters properly. I can see which students can write left to right, if the words are slanted, letter formation issues and letter reversal issues. This unstructured writing can give me a sense as to whether or not any of my students may be showing early signs of dyslexia or dysgraphia. Although this writing is developmentally appropriate it never hurts to work on those tendencies and help those students with extra support and practice.

Once we are experts at write the room I will introduce the differentiation. I use a color system to differentiate and each group has their work in a colored tray. Once they get their paper I talk to each group about their instructions and let them go. Once routines and reading groups are established I usually explain their directions at the end of their reading time so that I am not wasting too many teaching minutes explaining different activities to all the groups. It looks something like this: (these sheets are from my Writing Worksheets File, click the picture to view the file or use the link at the bottom of this post)

Red High: Fill in missing words in sentences or make a list of words and write a story with some of them. (page from Writing Worksheets file below)

Green Medium: Write a list of words, match words to pictures, add a describing word such as adding orange to cat or brown to dog. (page from Writing Worksheets file below)

Purple Lows: Match and cross out words on the list, trace words or use dry erase boards to allow for writing practice that doesn’t require staying in lines.

So as if this wasn’t already enough to convince you to use write the room in your classroom here are my 5 specific reasons for loving write the room: (o.k. So there are 6 but who is counting).

Movement: Kinesthetic learning allows for the processing of given information. The kiddos are more likely to retain the given vocabulary and learning concepts when they are allowed to move. Sitting at desks or tables for long periods of time is not developmentally appropriate and it is not fun for the kiddos. Anything I can do to allow them to move and be comfortable is a win in my book. I have a kindergarten free movement card printable pdf that I made to add exercises to my Write the Room activities, the kids love them! (this is a bonus freebie, get your write the room freebie below!)

Collaboration: Students across all learning levels can work together to complete the activity. A child who is reading can help one that is not yet. A child that is filling in sentences may very well ask a non reader to help figure out the missing word. It is beneficial to both students when they are allowed to work together. It not only strengthens academic skills but build leadership skills, builds confidence and gives a sense of accomplishment to the child no matter what their working level is.

Different working angles and surfaces: Children need experience writing away from their desks or tables. Building the muscles in the hand and wrist will strengthen their handwriting and help with handwriting fatigue. The fine motor skills of writing need to be practiced in many different ways. There are also many variations of supplies you can use with the class like clipboards, dry erase boards, corrugated cardboard (to teach proper pencil pressure), sandpaper (to give a more sensory experience to the writing). Truly anything you can think of.

Easy differentiation/level playing field: All students can feel successful with a write the room since they can work within their abilities. The expectation for each child aligns with them and not with what everyone else is able to do. This type of individual allowance for every child keeps them learning in a positive way without making any of them feel as if they can’t do or are superior.

Comfort: This goes along with movement and working angles but I feel it is so important to learning. We always want our students to feel comfortable and safe in their classroom environment but sometimes forget that always working in a chair can be tedious and tiring. Sitting still and writing can be hard for kinders and we want to set them up for success and confidence in their abilities.

Novelty: Kids love to do new things but they also thrive on the structure of a procedure. I will often add a new medium to the activity such as gel pens or glitter crayons. They are not allowed to use my “special supplies” in other activities. This excites the brain and encourages them to work since they can only use those supplies for this one activity. AND KIDS LOVE IT!

I hope this gives you some ideas on how you can use Write the room and read the room activities in your classroom! GRAB your free copy of my Forest Animal Write the Room, click the picture below!

Make sure to grab more of my freebies in my TpT Store here:

Happy Teaching!


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