Literacy Rotations are a great time of your day to allow your students’ practical application of things you’ve been working on in class. Great literacy centers review writing, sight words, vocabulary, grammar, and reading. While your students are busy at literacy centers, you can meet with small groups of students to check up on how they are progressing in their reading.
Prepare: (Key Step) Organizing Your Literacy Rotations
I am an organizer, especially when it comes to literacy rotations that I have to change out regularly. I have larger storage tubs for each month. You may even want to store these tubs by quarters or my 9-weeks. Just do what works for you. Each center gets its own zip lock bag. I store everything needed for the center in this bag. Each center has a container. I have seen these good deals on these containers from Amazon, Sam’s Club, or Costco.
The next step is to label these containers. Here are some center ideas:
- Writing Center
- Word Work Center
- Sight Word Center
- Vocabulary Center
- Grammar Center
- Reading Center
Place things that will be needed into each container. For example, I always have a roll and read activity. The students have to read the sentence then record it on a recording sheet. (You can find them here). I have dice, pencils, and erasers in the container to make sure everything that might be needed is always at the center. I switch out each center weekly. I make sure that the pencils are sharpened, and erasers, dice, etc. are still all in the container.
Print, Laminate, Cut Your Literacy Rotations
I always try to start preparing my centers 5 weeks ahead.
Week 1: Gather supplies and ideas. Visit Teachers Pay Teachers to see what resources you may want to include in your centers. Check out these literacy centers!
Week 2: Print out the center. Gather what needs to be laminated and file the recording sheets for students.
Week 3: Laminate. This will vary depending on your school district and its laminating policies. Some teachers have to drop them off outside teacher stores. Sometimes this takes up to 2 weeks for them to finish, so plan accordingly. At our school, our media specialist does all of our laminating. This could also take up to 2 weeks, depending on how busy she is.
Week 4: Cut out the center. This is a great task for a parent volunteer or a task to do while watching TV in the evenings.
Week 5: Double-check you have everything you need for your literacy rotations. You may also want to visit the library to check out some books that go along with the skill(s) that you are covering.
There are several ways that you can group students. Here is an example of the two ways that I have used in my classroom.
Leveled groups. This is an easier way to keep up with your students. You may have your lower-level students working on a skill that needs to be refreshed. The level groups would move together.
Pair high with low students. Some teachers refer to this method as “Peer Helpers”. This is great for a student that is proficient in a skill to help a peer that is struggling with a skill. It is also a good idea to pair organized students with other students that struggle with organization.
Managing Students While You Are In Small Group
It is important to give students activities that are just practice of the skill already explicitly taught. This cuts down on them coming to you and asking how to do the rotation.
I always have had the rule: Ask 3, then me unless it is an emergency. This takes time because students tend to want to ask the teacher and not their peers. Once this is established, this cuts down on the disruptions while you are meeting with your small groups.
Bathrooms… it always amazed me how many times a 1st grader goes to the bathroom. I made it a rule that they could use the bathroom during computer rotation. Since the students loved this rotation, they were less likely to “hang out” at the bathroom during literacy rotations.
Literacy rotations are a necessary part of elementary classrooms. As a teacher, you need to make sure your students are progressing with their reading by meeting with small groups of students. While you are meeting with just a few of your students, the rest of your students need to be busy. Use these great literacy center ideas in your classroom today and watch your students develop a love of reading!