What are Literacy Centers?
A literacy center is an area designed for students to work independently or collaboratively on specific learning goals. They can be permanent or temporary, depending on the classroom and frequency of use.
Literacy centers are also called learning stations, reading centers, station activities, table rotations, and more. They are a great way to get your students thinking critically about nonfiction text in a way that encourages engagement.
It is important that literacy centers provide students with opportunities to practice and apply what they have already learned, not introduce them to new skills.
How do you organize a literacy center?
Design your literacy center activities to meet the needs of your students. Think about the skills you want to reinforce. Each center can focus on a different skill, or you can design activities that reinforce one or two skills. It’s up to you and what your students need.
Wait! Do this before you start!
Start your lesson by reading the text with students. Clear up any confusion about the text before beginning the center activities. A copy of the text for each student to use as they move through the stations is also a good idea.
A vocabulary station is powerful because it allows students to work with new words in context, rather than isolation. This will provide students with a strong frame of reference for understanding and integration.
Using an activity that students are already familiar with will make the station activity easier to implement. The activity can be as simple as locate four unknown words, define, and write a sentence for each. It can also be more structured.
Questions to consider when planning a vocabulary station:
- How many words are your students able to work through in the designated amount of time?
- Will students find their own unknown words in the text or will words be provided?
- Will students need access to a dictionary or reference materials?
- Make it easy on yourself, and download this free vocabulary dice game template.
This doesn’t have to be too complicated. Focus on text analysis with a reading comprehension station. To encourage and support critical thinking, scaffold the comprehension questions in a way that builds on student understanding of the text. Students will be better prepared to tackle higher level questioning if they start with a lower level of analysis.