Many times when I announce that Literacy Center time is over, I hear this groan of disappointment. I always assumed this was coming from my keen students but my weaker students were secretly rejoicing. The other day I experienced a very pleasant surprise when one of my weakest students demanded an explanation as to why we missed Literacy Centers that day (due to graduation photos and baking bread). He was really upset about it and the other students started expressing their disappointment as well. It was the kind of response you would expect when the class misses gym or outdoor recess. Wow, was this ever a positive and uplifting surprise for me. I asked what their favorite centers were and I have outlined a few of them below.
Hottest Literacy Center Now
I just introduced this new Center and it received unanimous approval. I purchased one bubblegum machine and one gumball machine (looking at purchasing another one). One machine had the penny insert capability disabled and on the other was enabled. The students preferred the penny enabled activity. I used this activity to review alphabet letter sounds but you could use it for sight word recognition.
Used for Sight Word Recognition – Lucky Rock Sight Word Game
I used decorative rocks in place of gumballs. They work great but they are too small to print sight words on. I would suggest placing a symbol on some rocks (star) and leave the other rocks blank. If the student turns the gear wheel and a rock or rocks dispense that have a symbol on it (lucky rock), then they must say one of the sight words found on their printed gumball template (displayed on the photograph above) and place the lucky rock on it. The object of the game is to see who can cover their gumball template with lucky rocks first.
Note: The template above is found under the heading “Reading-Literacy-Centers” on the member site. Inexpensive rocks can be purchased at numerous Dollar stores.
Used As Alphabet Sound Game
Alphabet letters would be printed on the decorative rocks. This is a partner game but my students expressed that they wanted their own board, I made duplicate copies of each letter (no picture for x). The students turn the gear wheel and place the correct letter that was dispensed on the picture that begins with that sound.
Note: The alphabet board template is found under the heading “Reading-Literacy-Centers” on the member site.
Alphabet or Sight Word Board Games
The partner board games have also been very popular amongst my students. Again, these can be used to practice alphabet/sounds or sight word recognition. I allow my students to choose their partners. Generally, they have been very competent at choosing a partner that is a good fit for them (weaker and stronger).
Alphabet Board Game
Students take a turn at rolling a die and moving their player accordingly along the picture board displayed in the photograph. They must print the letter that represents that sound. The object of the game is to see who can print all their alphabet letters first.
Note: I should have prepared this game so it was circular. My students think that they have won the game once they get to the end of the board (which is natural) so I had to train them to continue on until all the letters have been printed. I hope to make a circular board game at some point.
Sight Word Board Game
This game is played in a similar fashion as the above, but the students must print a set amount of sight words that they land on.
This is another game the students said they really enjoy. However, I have had to modify this game for a couple of my weaker students. My assistant is with them at this game, helping them break down the letter sounds.
Each CVC picture card is placed in a double organized garage container. Once each student has made the word, the picture card is placed in the discarded container to indicate they have already made this word. We generally, play these games for about 8-10 minutes. I do not know where the alphabet letter plates came from as they were already in the classroom when I arrived. The picture cards are found on the member site under “Reading-Literacy Centers”.
Rice or Sensory Tub Games
My students still love pulling objects out of the rice tub. The tub is just a larger plastic container filled with rice. We have quite an assortment of objects beginning with each letter of the alphabet, I have placed these in the tub for them to sort or print the correct letter. Larger decorative rocks could be placed in the tub with the sight words printed on them (I have larger clear rocks that I found at the Dollar store that is used for this purpose).
Generally, I change the Literacy Centers each month. I only have four Centers out at a time and we rotate. My assistant, parent helper and I monitor these. It is interesting to note that one of our Literacy Center activities are always computer games and my students never mentioned these as being a favorite. I just have five clunky old computers so this might be part of the reason. I have requested a few iPads for next year (wish list), I think these would be considered more fun.
These are the ones that they mentioned and are the most recent. They have likely forgotten about all the others we played previously.
Let Me Know What Your Favorite Literacy Centers Are?? Love Hearing Your Suggestions!!
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