Reading is Thinking!


Literacy Centers Management:

Literacy Centers:  Literacy cards for centers.  My students go to three a day (Computer is a full day rotation).  I switch them out as needed.  Most things are consistent in the room and differentiates with their abilities and reading levels.

Word Work (including phonics/phonemic awareness): 

  • Follow rules of regular dominoes but match beginning or sounds rather than numbers: beginning sound dominoes, ending sound dominoes
  • Sort beachy words by counting phonemes and/or syllables, finish by completing a worksheet in which you use the words:    Beach time 
  • Each player is given a play piece (I use pom-poms).  Drop the pom-pom on the playing mat, pick up a mailbox card and add the inflection, write it in the correct column on your paper: Neighboring Inflections
  • Cut out diphthongs, laminate and insert in a water bottle with rice, sand, or confetti.  Students will rotate bottle, find words and sort them by writing them in the right column on their paper: Water Bottle Diphthongs&Diphthongs
  • Laminate boat and sails.  Students will make a sail boat by using the words that make a contraction.  Students will make their own on the worksheet: Contraction Sailboats & Contraction Sailboats Worksheet 
  • Spin-a-word is a small group activity in which the students are practicing the long vowel sounds.  Directions are included in the pdf: Spin a Word, Long Vowels
  • After teaching about Capitalization, have students search newspapers to find examples: Capitalization Scavenger Hunt
  • This is the same premise as the Capitalization Scavenger Hunt but with verbs: Verbtacular
  • Use sight words that you are working with for this easy game that can be played again and again.  Students write one sight word per square.  The students drop a pom-pom onto the board, if they can read the word they get a point:  High Frequency Word Toss 
  • Cut out fish and place a paper clip on each one.  Put fish in a bowl, students will select a fish with a magnetic fishing pole.  The student will look at the card and place it on top of the paper letter fish bowl.  Afterwards, the students will draw and label the corresponding pictures in the correct bowl: Fishy Letters
  • Cut out fish and place a paper clip on each one.  Put fish in a bowl, students will select a fish with a magnetic fishing pole.  The student will look at the card and place it on top of the paper vowel fish bowl.  Afterwards, the students will draw and label the corresponding pictures in the correct vowel bowl:  Fishy Syllables, wordstudy 
  • Students write beginning consonants on the face of the flower (circle).  On the petals the students will write word family chunks (et, at, it, am, ug, etc.).   Attach the face and flower with a brad and rotate to build words:  Flower Families
  • Hand out one card to each person.  The person with START reads their card allowed first (I have fish, who has star?)  then the person with the ending word reads next (I have star, who has can?).  This particular game is based off beginning sight words: I have who has
  •  Laminate and cut into strips.  Students will use dry erase markers to write the words.  Make it fun by having them write it first small, then big and finally with bubble letters: Dog HF Words
  • If you have access to a poster maker then use it to make this big.  If not, use chart paper and on one sheet write beginning consonants and the other write word endings.  Students will toss a bean bag onto each and blend the words to read: Bean bag toss, beginning & Bean bag toss, ending
  • Work on letter recognition with this stamping activity: Alphabet stamping
  • Create a four fold and label each quadrant with one of the letters:b, m, n, s
  • There are three CVC games.  One focuses on beginning sound, one medial and one ending: CVC Initial SoundCVC Medial SoundCVC Final Sound


  • New readers need to know that you change your speed while reading if you are having difficulty or it’s really easy.  A chart will spark a class discussion, together think of how you do this.  Hand out the three speeds to all students.  Read passages and have them hold up which speed you are using.  Break off  into groups and have students coach each other with the signs:  WATCH YOUR READING SPEED
  • Make it easy on your little ones by equating animals with the things that make you fluent.  I print one for each table.  Occasionally, I have partners use it to tell strengths that they see in one another:  Fluency Rubric Tent
  • I love being silly, students love being silly.  These voices are fun but they are also good for showing students that different characters in a story have different voices.  We aren’t monotone: Fluency Voices
  • Word Family Fluency is a homework assignment in which parents time their child for 1 minute nightly reading word family chunks:word family fluency


  • This is a Kagan activity that can be used as such or can just be used period.  Use these questions to get your students thinking a little deeper: Extended Thinking Reading Fan-N-Pick Cards
  • Another Kagan structure, this time with cause and effect: Fan-N-Pick Cause and Effect
  • After reading a more complicated book with at least three main characters, use this chart to compare them: Character Chart 
  • After Easter my students still wanted to use the eggs.  Cut out questions, roll them up, place in an egg, write the question number on the egg.  Students will pull an egg from the basket after reading a story.  They will write the number on their worksheet and answer the question: Egg-cellent Comprehension&Egg comprehension questions
  • To teach important events in a story, I first started to tell the students about a day I had over the weekend.  I recapped the whole day and then we went step by step to determine whether it was an important piece or not.  We then read a story (The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig) and stopped at each page and figured out the important event.  I wrote it on a sticky and we left it on the page.  At the end we put the stickies on chart paper in the order that we wrote them and we discussed one more time if they were really important.  Finally I showed them that by doing this we got to the heart of the story and were able to retell the important events.  The PDFs attached include a sorting activity and a page that explains and is a holding spot for their sticky notes from their personal reading:  Important events in a story
  • Background Knowledge, New Learnings and Questions
  • Connections
  • PostIt, Reminds me
Monitor For Meaning:
    • Again students lay the playing mat (this time incorrect sentences) and spin their top.  They must read the sentence it lands on and decide what is wrong with it (Does it make sense? Does it sound right? Does it look right).  Then they must write the sentence in that column.  They must select a few to correct.  Spin and Monitor

    The ideas for this one are endless: sight words, facts, vocabulary words, character and setting for writing, punctuation, etc.

    3. Roll a Sentence, the students will roll the three dice and record the words on the corresponding lines within a sentence.  Then they will read and figure out if it makes sense, sounds right and looks right: Roll a sentence


  • Get students thinking about feeling words with this fun activity.  Place faces and labels on a table or a pocket chart.  Students will choose a card, read it and place it with the feeling they think the card represents.  Afterwards, they will make a foldable (attached) and write a time when they felt that way: Feelings

Mini Lessons for Reader’s Workshop: 

Supported Reading:

Partnership Reading: 

  • Getting students to talk during their book partnership is hard.  We want meaningful talk, in which the students are diving below the surface.  This is a helpful bookmark to get the students started: Partner Talk
  • How can I be a great partner:  Poster on the procedures of partnerships for students.

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