Thursday, October 17, 2013

Virtually Tour Our Literacy Center

Hello, Everyone!  This week I'm thrilled to share a terrific center, our literary center.   With so much going on in it, I think you will understand it best by simply watching the video. 

Okay, so that was a very quick rundown of the literacy center.  It has become one of my favorites!  I feel like it has really evolved over the years.  This is the first year that I have the leveled boxes in the bench seat.  They have really helped organize the center and help us provide differentiated instruction.  They also hide the materials that we don’t need for each group while providing students with a visual of how much work has to be done at this center.  When the items in the box are all done, they may choose a book off the shelf to free read or in our case free look at.
I do want to mention that the books/activities in each box are different each week depending on what we are studying.  This was just one glimpse of what goes on in the literacy center.  The books for this week were about spiders because we are learning about the color black.  Teacher's Tip: To save on cost when making books for my students, I often put them in page protectors and then in a binder.  So I don’t spend time and money laminating each week,  I have a set of page protectors that already have the Velcro strips on them so I can use them for various books.  See this link to view another Velcro book option I posted last winter.
This week the books/activities happened to have a math related feature and be all self-made. However, this is not the case for all weeks. Sometimes we use flap books, push button books, or even just good old fashion children’s book with Velcro pull-off vocabulary like the one featured in the photo below.  

A little trick I have learned along the way is to buy three copies of the same cheap board book.  Then, I use two of the books as templates to cut and Velcro into the other book.  (You need two as board books often have pictures on both sides of the page so you have to cut into both).  

Money-Saving Thought: The Target dollar bins often have great board books! Pick up three for a dollar a piece and you have a nice durable interactive book to use with your students for years to come. 

Another way to make books more interactive and help children respond more functionally, especially if they have limited language or are nonverbal, is through aided language boards.  I will often write questions in my personal books with a pencil or marker and then make an aided language board to go along with the book. 

Coming Soon:  In next week's blog, I share more ways to use aided language boards and supports.  

To close today’s post, I want to share a few of the tools we use in the center.  I forgot to mention in the video that each day Miss Molly, our fabulous literacy center para extraordinaire, starts off by singing the alphabet song as she and/or the students point to the letters on the alphabet stick. 

Here's a better look at the name activities Miss Molly is doing right now.  They are new to the center and will change as the students’ skills & interest in letters and their names grow.  They are not something that changes weekly as I find with names and letter recognition the more reinforcement you can offer the better. 

Level One: Foam letter puzzle/name put on. 

Level Two: Name flip book 

The template of this book is available at Boardmaker Share.  If you are not connected to Boardmaker Share, I'd be happy to email you a copy

Level Three: Marker board name activity

Please excuse my filthy white board. I tried the old Pinterest trick to clean it with Febreeze, but sadly, it may be unsalvageable. With budgets being so tight, I tend to hold on to supplies. 

Lastly, here's a picture of our library book errand.  As I shared in the video, we use bags in the classroom for this heavy work sensory activity and here is what they look like outside our school library door.  

This feature was added last year because we had several students who needed more movement throughout their day. Even though the literacy center only lasts 10 or 15 minutes, sometimes taking a walk to change out books is just the purposeful sensory activity a child needs to regroup.  Some kids do this at the beginning of their literacy center so they can come back and be more focused with the literacy activities, while others do it at the end of literacy center as they need that movement to reorganize before we rotate to direct instruction. 

So there you have it, folks!!  Our literacy center wrapped up in one quick post.  As always let me know if you have questions, or if you have great books and other activities you use to promote literacy and you would like to share with our Considerate Classroom family.  


  1. I use the "story sticks" activities on the making learning fun site to get small matching pictures to velcro on many different childrens books

    1. That is a great point! Thanks for sharing!
      I love! They have so many great resources!