Archive for the ‘Literacy Centers’ Category

postheadericon Using what you already have for your centres.

When I first started doing centres, I found it very daunting. First of all, I hadn’t yet discovered the secret to managing centres . Secondly, everything took so much time to make! I wanted everything to look perfect. I spent a small fortune on printer ink or sending things to a printing company so that it would be colourful and bright. I laminated everything and anything. I spent hours cutting and gluing and colouring my centres. Centres were all themed based, by month, holidays or class contents. The cuter the better.

But what I learned is that although all though this made my centres attractive, it didn’t make them meaningful. To make them more meaningful I had to take things were were already doing in class and extend them in our centres. Yes, I still have some prep work, and the laminator is my best friend, but I’m using things I already have on hand, and things that my students already know how to use so they can be independent.

Here are a few things I have turned into centres

Big Book Centre

This centre is exactly what it sounds like. Students hunker down on the mat and go through the big books. Sometimes they are just looking at the pictures, or looking for certain letters or words. We have read most of them in class all together to they are familiar with them. I also put in the class books that we have made together, which are definitely their favourites.


The documents is formatted for 8"x11" and I increase the size on our photocopier to 11"x17" (129%).

The documents is formatted for 8"x11" and I increase the size on our photocopier to 11"x17" (129%).



I do a new song with the students every week. We look for letters, sounds, and sight words. It is a great way to teach french vocabulary. I then put a copy in a folder and send them home weekly to practice. When we were done with a song, I used to put my big chart paper songs back into the cupboard until I needed them again next year.

Not anymore!

Now tape them to a metal hanger (0ne song on each side), hang them on a garment rack, add some pointers, and voila! I have a Song/Poem centre. Students do exactly what we did when we were learning the songs all together in class. They look for letters, sounds and words. And of course, most importantly, they SING!




I don’t do a whole lot paper activities in my class. Most activities are hands on. However, I do think it is important to practice printing and practice recording our numbers. Whenever I have something that I want to students to get a lot of practice doing, I just take the very activities we do in class together, I chuck it into a sheet protector, toss in a erasable marker, and I have a new centre! Get the printing practice sheet here.



postheadericon Boom!

I’ve seen many different names for this game. BANG! ZUT! BOOM! I picked BOOM! but you can really call it anything you want. This is an easy set up game. All you need is a cup, a marker and something to write on. In the pictures below I used foam sticks, but I have used popsicle sticks, tongue depressors, or even paper.

Here is how you play

In the cup are your sticks (or strips of paper). Each has a letter on one end. You put them all in facing down. There are a few extra sticks that have BOOM! written on them. Students take turns picking a stick. If they can identify the letter they keep it, if they can’t they put it back. If they get a BOOM! stick they have to return ALL the sticks they have one (except the BOOM! stick or the game will go on forever). Whoever has the most sticks in the end, wins!



This is a game that the kids love and it is great because you can use it for letter and sound identification, sight word recognition and number recognition. I bet you could use it for number facts too.  I often send this game home with students as extra practice at home. Drill and kill activities can be quite tedious for students, but if you turn it into a game they are much more willing to practice.

postheadericon Literacy centers

I’m hoping to have a post about my literacy centre set up sometime later this week (still need to take a few photos). In the mean time here are the centres we have been doing the last few weeks. 


Right now we are doing names with this centre. The kids love making their friends names. Later on we will do the same activity with sight words. First they read the name, then make it with magnetic letters, and then they write it. Get the French and English sheet here.



I’m a firm believer in not reinventing the wheel, which means use the things you are doing in class as a centers. I take the printing sheets I use in class, stick them in page protectors and then they can be used over and over again with erasable markers.


I Spy Bottles

These are large water bottles filled with rice and alphabet beads I got at the craft store. Students use magnifying glasses to find the letters and trace them on a recording sheet. Again I put it in a page protector to make it reusable and to save on paper.  Get the recording sheet here.



Name Tracing

See a post about name tracing and get the tracing font here. name trace censored

Playdoh letters

For those kinaesthetic learners. Students manipulate playdoh to make upper and lower case letters. Get the letter mats here.


Letter mazes

Students circle upper and lowercase letters to get through the maze. There is a differnt maze for each letter of the alphabet. Get them here



Play centres

I have a few play centres going on. These are great for oral development. This week we have the kitchen centre, puzzle centre and the puppet centre. Later in the year they will be a bit more structured but right now I am just letting them play and talk talk talk with their partner.




Reading centre

I’ve got a few chairs next to my class library. The students love browsing the books. Even though they can’t read them yet, what child doesn’t love looking at the pictures! I encourage them to talk about their books with their partner and tell them about the pictures.

postheadericon Roll a word

I got this centre from Learning with Mrs Parker. It is in English, but it is editable so you can change it to French. I actually start this as an Alphabet centre first and then change to a sight word centre later in the year.

Students roll a dice and practice writing their sight words in the grid depending on their roll. Since it a powerpoint you can edit you can tailor the letters/sight words to the ones your students need to work on. I pop it into a page protector so it can be used again and again. Print off two and you can make it a game: First one to fill in the whole grid wins!

For students who need more guided practice with printing you can fill in the grid with the words using either a tracing font or by writing in the words in yellow marker. Students can then trace over the letters.

roulez un mot

Click here to go check out this great resource!

postheadericon Build a word

The first time  I would do this centre I do it as a name centre. Once they become familiar with it I would switch it to a sight word centre.

This centre is laminated (or in a sheet protector) and used on a cookie sheet.

First students place a word card on top. In the middle they use magnetic letters to make the word. On the bottom they write the word with a dry erase marker.

magnetic build a word

 Click here for this centre in French

Click here for this centre in English.


postheadericon Écrivez, Tamponnez et Décorez

I got the this centre idea at the teacher blog Mrs I’s Class. First students write the sight word (from a sight word list or set of cards). Then students use stamps to stamp out the sight words.  Last of all the decorate the word (write in rainbow colours, circle the letters, how ever they choose).


write stamp decorate

Note: I know the “E” in “Écrivez” is missing an accent, but the font I used didn’t have accents. I just add it in by hand.

Click the image below to download this file

build a word


postheadericon Dans mon nom….Pas dans mon nom

The first time students would do this as an activity where they would cut, sort, and glue paper letters of the alphabet as in their name or not in their name.  After I would move it to a center with letter tiles or on a cookie sheet with magnetic letters. You would need to supply them with the entire alphabet.

Students would pick a name (name cards or name sheet), and using the all the letters sort them to either “dans mon nom” or “pas dans mon nom”. Once they have sorted all the letters they pick a new name. Often I put this sheet in a centre with other letter sorting activities.

Click the image below to download this file.

dans mon noms


postheadericon Name Tracing Center

At this centre I have each child picture and name in dotted print. I have 2 names per page and I put them in a plastic sleeve. Students trace the names with a erasable marker

name trace censored

Click Here to download the tracing font.

postheadericon Name Sheet

I have this sheet at any station where students are writing or making words. This includes rainbow names, the magnetic letter center, the play-doh center and the overhead center. I always make sure to also include myself on the sheet. The students love writing their friends names.

Have students pictures and names at all name centers for easy access.

Have students pictures and names at all name centers for easy access.