Literacy Centres - Hands-On Ideas For Learning

These literacy work station ideas will provide you with plenty of inspiration, save you time and help you plan meaningful learning experiences for the children in your care.

Are you looking for quality literacy resources to engage children during your literacy work stations? 


Looking for ideas for Daily 5 Word Work? 


Literacy centres or literacy centers (if you live in other parts of the world) are a perfect way to have young children practice those early literacy concepts that have already been taught in class. One of my mentor teachers used literacy centres regularly in her classroom and the children were throughly engaged. Since then I've used centres in each classroom I've been in. 


You can see our other posts herehere and here. Not just for class, some of these literacy activities can easily been done at home to help your child learn to read and write.



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Literacy Centre Ideas - hands-on literacy center activities perfect for 5-8 years | you clever monkey
Obviously the activities change depending on the age, abilities and mix of children. Each rotation always incorporating some key focus areas - syllables, rhyme, beginning letter sounds, CVC words, letter recognition, sight words and developing vocabulary. They often have other skills (fine motor, co-operative or physical) built in to them as wellEvery activity is designed to last between 15-20 minutes each for 3-6 children. 

LETTER RECOGNITION + ALPHABETICAL ORDER

This activity was quick to make.  The alphabet printable and river rocks I had at home. I just had to write on the river rocks. I have written lower case letters only using a black Sharpie/permanent texta.

Literacy centre activity ideas for your classroom.  Perfect for 5-8 year old students in Junior Primary or Elementary grades | you clever monkey

At the start, a basket with all the rocks goes in the middle of the group and I give each child a lower case alphabet to match the rocks to. The rocks are very tactile and inviting. This literacy station works to build their letter recognition and one-to-one letter matching skills.

To extend this activity, after completely matching the lower case letter set, I give them an upper case card and ask them match the letters again, this time matching lower case to upper case.

For any early finishers, I then get them to tell me which lower case and upper case letters are the same - Cc Oo Ss Uu Vv Ww Xx Zz.

Literacy centre activity ideas for your classroom.  Perfect for 5-8 year old students in Junior Primary or Elementary grades | you clever monkey

Another activity my students love is working with these letter wheels. I like them because you can swap the upper for lower or for initial sounds easily to suit individual children making differentiation easy! 

Working with pegs is a great fine motor strengthening activity too.

You can grab a FREE copy of these cards from here.


Literacy centre activity ideas for your classroom.  Perfect for 5-8 year old students in Junior Primary or Elementary grades | you clever monkey


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RHYME

I've used these 3 part rhyming cards a few times as a literacy centre. The children like them as they work like a jigsaw puzzle to help support children learning to rhyme but they also introduce alternative sounds rather than just focusing on CVC words. Instead children can see that while pear/bear/chair sound the same, they are spelled differently.


Rhyming Word Puzzles - printable 3 part rhyming puzzles with real life photos as support for young children | you clever monkey

 WORD WORK

Literacy centres also offer opportunities for children to practice work from class. Learning parts of speech or grammar concepts can easily and effectively be incorporated to literacy stations.

This past term I've created these different activites for centres. In our Parts of Speech Sort students had to work together to sort the words written onto the pop sticks

into three groups - verbs, nouns or adjectives.

Literacy centre activity ideas for your classroom.  Perfect for 5-8 year old students in Junior Primary or Elementary grades | you clever monkey


In another literacy centre, we focused on syllable sorting another day. 

You can do this with young children by sorting familiar objects. Using these FREE syllable sorting mats, just add a basket of objects to sort.


Literacy centre activity ideas for your classroom.  Perfect for 5-8 year old students in Junior Primary or Elementary grades | you clever monkey

Working with older children, spelling words can be targeted instead to help them practice counting the number of syllables in words. 

Another day we used this free printable I made to compare letters, sounds and syllables.
Literacy centre activity ideas for your classroom.  Perfect for 5-8 year old students in Junior Primary or Elementary grades.
We also use our literacy centres to focus on other words like compound or composite words. 

This station used a fun paint chip hack to create some compound words. The colours made it easier for the less confident readers to be able to put the words together. Lots of fun this one and as homework, some students wrote their own lists and challenged other members of their families to think of more. 

Compound Word Sort - perfect printable cards for introducing children to composite words | you clever monkey

Younger children prefer these picture compound word cards to work with as they have the visuals as support.

Compound Word Sort - perfect printable cards for introducing children to composite words | you clever monkey

Another activity that my children enjoyed was charades. 

I made up the picture cards which was harder that I thought as I was trying to choose words that could be acted out easily enough while also being easy enough for students to read. You can find our charade cards here.

One student chooses a card to act out while the other students had small whiteboards to write their answers on - an attempt to keep the volume level under control whilst giving them some spelling practice.

Literacy centre activity ideas for your classroom.  Perfect for 5-8 year old students in Junior Primary or Elementary grades | you clever monkey


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SIGHT WORDS

I always try to include an activity using sight words or also referred to as tricky or high frequency words. This was another easy and cheap activity to make using some coloured pop sticks and some printed sight words that we had been introducing in class.

For the work station, the children had to read the word and then sort them correctly.

Craft sticks are a useful resource for any classroom. You can find more than 50 different ways to use them here.


Literacy centre activity ideas for your classroom.  Perfect for 5-8 year old students in Junior Primary or Elementary grades | you clever monkey

I've also used a 'Write, Stamp, Decorate' sheet as a centre. 

I haven't met a child yet who doesn't like stamping! I like these lowercase alphabet stamps as children can see where their letter is meant to sit on the paper. 

Literacy centre activity ideas for your classroom.  Perfect for 5-8 year old students in Junior Primary or Elementary grades.
They also work well in playdough or kinetic sand too as another centre activity.

Literacy centre activity ideas for your classroom.  Perfect for 5-8 year old students in Junior Primary or Elementary grades | you clever monkey

Another activity that always proves popular is Sight Word Splat. 

A great one for active learners! One person calls out a word while the others have to slap it with their fly swats. Best attempted when you have another person in the room as the play can get very enthusiastic at times. 

This game can be altered to just use individual letters for children just learning to read making differentiation in groups easy.


Literacy centre activity ideas for your classroom.  Perfect for 5-8 year old students in Junior Primary or Elementary grades | you clever monkey

We use our flower shaped Jolly Phonics cards but I've also created some fly cards for our math centres too. You can grab these ordinal number cards for FREE from here.


Literacy centre activity ideas for your classroom.  Perfect for 5-8 year old students in Junior Primary or Elementary grades | you clever monkey

Building sight words is a great way for children to learn patterns in words. We've used these glass gems to build sight words but they can be used for other words too.

Literacy centre activity ideas for your classroom.  Perfect for 5-8 year old students in Junior Primary or Elementary grades.

PHONOGRAMS

I've done a lot with phonograms.  Quite often I'll use computers for independent sound work. A few great websites perfect for working on letter sounds -

ABC Match
Picture Match
Spell a Picture

I also use a number of resources I'd printed from Early Learning HQ. There are several different sets depending on what stage readers you have. I love their phonogram cards. I've printed two copies and use them often to play games of Memory.


Literacy centre activity ideas for your classroom.  Perfect for 5-8 year old students in Junior Primary or Elementary grades | you clever monkey

They've also proved useful as prompts for sorting. Could be just by phonograms (sound) or sort them into beginning, middle or end of word sounds.

I've made whole lot of picture cards particularly for digraphs and diphthong sounds. We use them to help introduce the sound along with our digraph posters.


Literacy centre activity ideas for your classroom.  Perfect for 5-8 year old students in Junior Primary or Elementary grades | you clever monkey

I've also created some photo CVC cards which fit our wall pocket charts. They are perfect for adding to our play dough for the children to make the words.

Literacy centre activity ideas for your classroom.  Perfect for 5-8 year old students in Junior Primary or Elementary grades.  Literacy centre activity ideas for your classroom.  Perfect for 5-8 year old students in Junior Primary or Elementary grades.

We had used the same cards for a whole class activity sorting them by their middle short vowel sounds but I have also used them in a centre to help reinforce this concept.

Literacy centre activity ideas for your classroom.  Perfect for 5-8 year old students in Junior Primary or Elementary grades.


We also matched those words that rhymed. Developing an understanding of rhyme is so important to pre-readers and writers. I've made many games to play that use rhyme to help support young children's growing understanding of sounds..
 
 'Mouse, mouse, are you in the (blue/red/green/pink?) house?'

Literacy centre activity ideas for your classroom.  Perfect for 5-8 year old students in Junior Primary or Elementary grades | you clever monkey

I Spy with my little eye something that rhymes with... is another fun rhyming literacy centre.

Literacy centre activity ideas for your classroom.  Perfect for 5-8 year old students in Junior Primary or Elementary grades | you clever monkey

STORY TELLING + WORK ON WRITING

Some of our activities might be based around retelling a familiar book. Sequence cards, story stones, puppets and other objects can be used by children to retell stories. 

With this centre based around the book 'Room on the Broom' by Julia Donaldson, the students had to sort the cards into order and could also re-enact the story using the puppets. I love using puppets for storytelling.


Literacy centre activity ideas for your classroom.  Perfect for 5-8 year old students in Junior Primary or Elementary grades | you clever monkey

Using the same text, this centre children were asked to draw their ideas and are encouraged to label their picture. 

Literacy centre activity ideas for your classroom.  Perfect for 5-8 year old students in Junior Primary or Elementary grades | you clever monkey

Literacy centre activity ideas for your classroom.  Perfect for 5-8 year old students in Junior Primary or Elementary grades | you clever monkey

Retelling stories creates the perfect opportunity to introduce your students to early coding too. We used The Gingerbread Man to create this STEM enhanced invitation to retell the story.

Literacy centre activity ideas for your classroom.  Perfect for 5-8 year old students in Junior Primary or Elementary grades | you clever monkey

Outside the US? Try searching The Book Depository with free worldwide delivery.

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Other activities might encourage students to tell their own stories. I love the Tell Me a Story Cards from eeBoo and Rory's Story Cubes.



Using story stones also works well as a prompt for writing work. Here the students created their own small world during play and then told or wrote a short story based on their play.


Literacy centre activity ideas for your classroom.  Perfect for 5-8 year old students in Junior Primary or Elementary grades | you clever monkey   

You can create similar writing prompts by providing students with stickers to tell and then write their stories with. 

In another centre we use a story telling basket to play with for the first five minutes before encouraging students to write their story down. Many books provide great jumping off points to encourage writing and I use them often for this purpose. 

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8 comments

  1. Going to share this link with our KG teacher as she is always on the look out for new centre based literacy activities. Thanks, loads of great ideas here!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. This post has certainly been popular on Pinterest too.
      I'm loving your blog - your Story Sacks are just my sort of thing :)

      Delete
  2. Leonie ShelleyOctober 05, 2014

    I love this page too!! Very exciting for a Sunday afternoon to find such inspiration!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Leonie :) As a beginning teacher, it's always nice to hear such feedback!

      Delete
  3. So many great ideas! I love using alphabet pebbles - what a great idea to match the lower case on an upper case letter board.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Lauren :) Yes, I've found it a useful way to differentiate the activity for different learners.

      Delete
  4. Do you have the story cards for Room on a Broom that you could share? I am not great at making those things myself! Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not sure I do Donna. Sorry. I made them using some clip art I found online a few years ago now.

      Delete

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