Hey teacher friends! Today I’m back with reading group strategies. I know this is something you’ve probably heard about countless times but just stick with me. Today we’re talking about all the FUN (see, I told you to stick around) activities you can implement during small reading groups.
Setting Up Reading Centers In The Classroom
It is so important to keep your students first, while also providing flexibility in your small reading groups! The activities you plan for small reading groups are the next step for setting up literacy stations.
Remember that most importantly, the literacy needs of your students are the stepping stones for small groups. Once you have a goal for them in mind, then you are free to set up your reading centers.
Planning Your Literacy Activities
I don’t know about you, but there’s nothing I love more than an organized plan. When setting up literacy stations, you may find that a literacy stations planner comes in very useful. This is definitely going to help you as you plan out the activities for your centers. You can grab one here.
Before setting up your centers, first, you need to decide which centers you want your students to have. Secondly, what is the goal of the center and how will it benefit your students?
When establishing my centers, I stuck with five reading stations. I had reading comprehension which was also my library, poetry, listening, spelling, and finally writing. I also dabbled a bit with fluency centers, which my kids loved! Talk about a win-win!
Once your centers are in place, it’s time for the fun part. Start thinking about the types of literacy activities you want to have. What best suits you and your students? Digital? Printable? Maybe a mix of both traditional and digital activities?
Too many choices? I know, it can be overwhelming at times. Here is a video about blending digital and traditional activities for your literacy centers so you can have an idea of which you would like to choose.
But if you are going to do more traditional activities like paper and pencil tasks, (yes worksheets are still relevant) you can consider these activities for your reading centers in the classroom.
Cut and Paste
I prefer to save any sort of cut and paste activities for my literacy stations, instead of doing them during whole group time. I’ve found that many of the cut and paste activities lend themselves to review.
Spelling for example: Since we have already covered a certain spelling skill, a cut and paste worksheet can help students practice and enhance what they already know.
During my last year of teaching, I began to dabble in interactive notebooks for my first graders. I used them frequently for our reading comprehension skills.
And if you’re not familiar with interactive notebooks, the main thing you need to know is that they’re super fun, but also engaging. Many popular options are glued in your students’ notebooks and have flaps you can lift up for students to record their responses.
At this time, I don’t have any available in my literacy stations store, but some of my favorites from TPT have been super fun! Anna Digilio from Simply Skilled Teaching has a set of my favorite interactive notebooks!
Ahh, sticky notes! Who doesn’t love them?! My kids know that for Christmas, I want sticky notes. I can’t get enough of them! But did you know that you can even print on them! Yep, that’s right. I had so much fun with these once I figured out how!
Having a large notebook for my kiddos to do any sort of activity in feels too bulky, and overwhelming. So I prefer to either stick with interactive notebooks, or use these sticky note templates for reader’s responses. These are free too (yes I said FREE), and you can grab them here.
I either kept a poster-sized piece of paper in each of my literacy centers or would sometimes take decorative borders and create a rectangular area. This was perfect because all students had to do was write their response and stick it to the poster. So easy!
And if paper/pencil resources just aren’t your thing, consider adding these fun digital resources for reading to your groups.
Online Stories for Kids
I love story-time online for my listening centers! There are so many great titles available, and the even better part is that they’re narrated by celebrities. When I’m searching for online books on YouTube, I like to find videos that also have the pages of the book so my kiddos can follow along. In these videos, you’ll see the reader’s faces, AND the pages, so it captures the children’s attention.
In the upcoming weeks, I’m going to do a video series on Boom Cards, so stay tuned for that! I LOVE using Boom Cards for digital spelling resources. The best part is that they’re self-checking (what teacher doesn’t love self-checking), so your students will know if they chose the correct answer. Plus, Boom Learning also generates reports so you can check on how your students are doing.
Nursery Rhymes for Your Poetry Centers
My kids have always loved my poetry centers! I like adding nursery rhymes to my poetry activities because I don’t have time to do nursery rhyme units as a whole group anymore. (hello real life). So it’s nice to add nursery rhyme activities for reading groups instead. I have thirty-one nursery rhymes available for you to grab here. So you can check those out next.
Hopefully, this was helpful for you! I always loved coming up with fun activities for reading centers. How do you run reading stations? I would love to hear from you.
Is it a struggle to teach your students the Seesaw tools? I’ve created a FREE game for your students that will help them learn to use the Seesaw tools responsibly!
Seesaw Scavenger Hunt
Check out my Summer Series
To get you ready for Back To School 2021, I've organized all the best literacy station ideas for you! This past year was rough so let Teaching Firsties do the work for you this summer so you'll be confident and ready to begin school in the fall.
June 28, 2021