Saturday, July 21, 2012

Literacy Centers~ Working with Words, Buddy Reading, Listening Center

I talked about Literacy Centers in my previous post, Literacy Centers~ Newpaper, Poetry and Spelling. I introduce those three first as a whole group and we complete the activity together. After that, I will introduce Working with Words, Buddy Reading and Listening Center.


Working with Words

Working with words is another center the students look forward to. I used to do this center as a whole group activity when I was teaching in a bilingual 4th grade class because it really helped build vocabulary in English. For this center, I use the book Making Big Words, Grades 3 - 6 by Patricia Cunnigham. For those of you who use Daily 5, I would highly recommend this book.

Here's a page from the book, each "big" word has other words that can be spelled using the letters. I call the big word the secret word, and the students have to find the secret word that uses up all the letters. The students love figuring out the mystery! The book has a list of spelling patterns, so if you are practicing "ie" words you can use those words in your center.

For the center I simply put letter cards that spell out the word in a bag. I write the number of the word on the bag and the letters that should be in the bag. So in the example from the page above, I would write #129 aeeiubbllnv.

I have a recording sheet that my amazing partner teacher made up, that I wish I could share, but it's her work so I won't. The sheet has a spot for recording the words they come up with, the secret word, and then a place for them to write a definition, synonym, antonym, and picture of the secret word.

Buddy Reading

The first year I taught with centers, I had the students chose a book from the buddy reading basket and read together. I found this was way too unstructured to be useful to the students and this center was always the rowdiest. I discovered last year that if I had them complete a certain section from a book and then answer some questions they would stay on task. So this coming year I will be using worksheets that I created from our leveled science reader. The questions on the worksheets are geared towards non-fiction text elements, so I think it will be perfect for our new implementation of Common Core.

The set up  of this center is pretty easy. Simply provide the same two books, and instructions for completing the worksheets. The students will complete a packet with me initially as a whole group so they will know the expectations for capitals, complete sentence, grammar and restating the question.

Listening Center

For this center I use the leveled readers that come with our basal, Treasures. The leveled readers come with CD's as well so I have everything ready to go! I chose books from our leveled readers by the theme we are learning as well as certain text features. As I talked about {here} there is a great website to look up themes and text features.

To prepare this center, I create a response sheet for the book. They might have to make a web or outline of the main details or summarize the story. They listen to the story together and answer the questions.

Anyone else use literacy centers? What have you found that works well for you?


  1. Word work is definitely something I need to get working on this summer. I teach second grade but I am intrigued by the idea of making words out of a set of letters. I take it they follow a phonics spelling pattern? I'm definitely going to be doing boggle for an activity during word work next year. I'm hoping to incorporate the spelling pattern there... oooh getting ideas! Your blog is adorable. Welcome to blogging!! :)

    Reaching for the TOP!

    1. For primary grades, Making Words by Patricia Cunningham is a good resource. It does follow phonetic spelling patterns. By calling it "secret word" the student are really engaged! Thank you for the welcome and kind words!



I would love to hear from you!