Literacy stations are a fun way to keep your kids engaged, have easy work for a sub to do on a last-minute day out of the classroom, and provide you with activities for your students to do while you are working in small groups. However, what about how to organize literacy stations? If your stations aren’t organized you are going to have a hard time getting motivated to continue doing literacy stations.
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For some reason, literacy stations (aka Daily 5 in my classroom) are easier for me to manage and less intimidating for me to teach my kids than math stations. Maybe it is because they are more consistent stations with less materials to change out. Or maybe it’s because I have been doing them since day one so I am just comfortable with them.
Also, before we get started, I want to make sure you know how important Classroom Management is when it comes to doing any kind of stations in your classroom! The free Classroom Management Tips downloadable is yours to have as you work through creating stations in your classroom.
I have seven literacy stations. They don’t ever change, the only things that change are the activities the kids do at each one. The stations I have in my classroom are:
Read to Self
Students sit at their desk and read independently. Once a week I have students check out new books from the classroom library. I also give them books from our guided reading time to leave in their book bags for a few weeks.
Read to Someone
Each week I put books that relate to what we are learning about in the Read to Someone bin. This way the kids have more exposure to text in which we are learning about.
Work on Writing
On the bulletin board, I have seven activities that they choose from. I used to have a ton and change them out every few weeks but this became overwhelming and exhausting. Now I have seven general writing station activities that they can do. They are all things that we have done in a whole group lesson at some point. This way I was able to teach them my expectations of what the writing activity looks like and it also gives me student examples to display on the board! Win-Win!
Students work on activities related to the phonics pattern we are studying that week. I will also throw in some activities in there that review word wall words and other things we have learned like contractions, synonyms/antonyms, etc.
Listen to Reading
Students listen to books read aloud on CD.
Poetry station is housed on the side of my desk. There is a pocket chart and a poem that the kids work on assembling together. Then they are able to read the poem to each other. I use these poems for my poetry station.
I use this time for students to get on any Tier 2 interventions for reading (lexia, iStation, etc.) Other students are able to get on Epic! and read books as well as have books read to them.
How to Organize Literacy Stations
I house all of my station materials in plastic bins in the library. They are all located together on top of the library bookshelves so the kids can easily get the materials they need. I can also easily look and see if the stations are put away correctly. (Read to Self, Poetry, and Technology don’t have bins.)
I also do this same thing with math stations (housing them with all the other math materials underneath the math word wall.)
Inside the bins are all of the materials they need for each of the stations.
I use a student management board (which was just a pocket chart) so that my students know which station they are going to and when. One of my classroom jobs is to change the Daily 5 stations after each day that we do Daily 5.
(I have two classes so there are two groups represented on my management board.)
If you struggle to hold kids accountable during literacy stations, I recommend pulling students to the carpet after Daily 5 to debrief how the stations went. You can pull random sticks out of a jar to call on students. The students whose names are called will tell which two stations they went to and what they did at each station.
In my experience, the writing station was usually the station with the least amount of effective work happening, so I also recommend asking kids at the writing station to share a part of what they wrote that day.
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Until next time,