Literacy Centers

One of my favorite things to do is make literacy centers for my class. It's taken me a few years but I've figured out what works for me. I realized that I couldn't change them weekly, so my centers are changed monthly. Here's how it works:

They get a literacy menu each month.

The menu is divided into four categories: Reading, Word Work, Writing, and Sentence Building, and there are four centers under each category. The four categories stay the same each month. They always have reading, word work, writing, and sentence building.

Students are told which category to do each day, but they choose which center to do under that category.

Here are all the center folder holders. They are labeled with stickers showing each category.
Each folder holder has its 4 centers. So, they know that they need to go to the yellow folder holder if they are supposed to do a reading center. They find the center they want to do and do it! Then they color in the center on their personal literacy menu when it's finished. I tell them to color half way if they didn't finish.

I keep a checklist of all the centers for that month. They turn their centers in daily and I check them. I keep track so that I always know who is falling behing or who is not on task. I also pass back any work that is incomplete or too sloppy. They learn pretty quickly that it's best to do their best work the first time! :)

I file their centers in a hanging file system until the end of the month. Then I staple all their centers, their menu and their rubric together and send it home.

I start these centers in October and practice a lot with them. I have parent helpers too. By now, they are totally indpendent with their centers. They love the variety and get to practice a ton of different skills. The skills are all taught the month before. For example, this month one center is making compound words. I incorporated compound words into my morning message, shared writing and  spelling lessons the month before so they had a good understanding before they had to do it independently. 

Here are some pictures of kids doing centers this month.
Slide-a-word: Students move two sliders to make real words.

Read and Sequence: Students read each sentence strip and glue them in order.

Ending Sentences: Students read from pocket chart and put in appropriate punctuation.

Sorting Words: Students sort long and short vowels.

Describe a picture: Students use descriptive language to describe a picture. Then they read it to me and try to see if I can visualize their picture!
Making Words by connecting hearts

The entire February literacy menu can be found at Teacher's Notebook, but some of the centers I will be posting here. 

Here are all of the menus.

I am working on second grade and kindergarten too!


  1. Sounds like you are really organized. Question, in each center is there an activity for each individual child or can more than one do the same activity at the same time?

  2. More than one can do the activity at one time. I usually only have two kids per center at a time though. All of the writing centers can have several kids at one time. The other ones can only have up to two at a time. In addition to centers, I have kids do "just right reading" as a rotation. Then there are not as many kids doing centers at one time.

  3. Hi Sarah,

    I love this idea! I too have a hard time changing centers weekly. How often do you have your students do centers each week?

  4. Do you have made Literacy Centers for Kindergarten?
    If so, can you post them. EG.

  5. I love your ideas for organizing centers! I'm new to first grade this year. Could you please post the rubric you use to evaluate the centers monthly? Thank you so much! :)

  6. Do you have an editable menu so I can change and modify it? I love your format and am using almost all of your centers but I have so many kids that I think I am going to have to add an additional menu each month so I can add some new activities under each heading. Would that be possible? Or maybe just a blank menu with the colored pictures of the headings saying word work, writing, sentence building and Reading, but without the name of the month at the top?



  7. I love this idea! Is there a way to obtain all the calendars in one purchase? I am really struggling with centers and I think that my students would LOVE this! Thanks for putting it out there!

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