Making and Managing Literacy Stations

July 18, 2009 - Senior NC Teaching Fellows Conference
Workshop Notes and Resources

Seasonal Activities

ABC Station/Word Work:

  • T-chart or Venn diagram: Letters in my first name/letters in my last name, Letters/Numbers, Capital/Lowercase Letters
  • Cut out big letters from newspapers and have kids sort the ones in their name and glue the letters under their name (written out by an adult); add letters to a-z matrix; could use letters to build words; name envelopes-have an envelope with kids' names written and cut; kids unscramble and write name
  • Magnetic letter "soup"--have a big pot of magnetic letters, a ladle, and bowls; kids dip the ladle in, scoop up letters, dump them in their bowl and then copy the letters or sort letters in one bowl and numbers in another; with adult-kids can pull out letter and identify sound
  • Play dough letters-laminate large letters and have kids cover letters with playdough; roll snakes out of play dough and then form letters
  • Use wikki sticks or pipe cleaners to form letters
  • Pocket Chart-sort words by # of letters, sort pictures by beginning sound; manipulate pictures or class names in poems and songs
  • Play Go Fish with letters (upper/lowercase) or Memory
  • Write letters in shaving cream, salt, etc.
  • String letter beads to build sight words
  • Velcro ABC board-students match letters (upper/lowercase) and pictures
  • Chalkboard for writing and painting with water
  • Stamp a word
  • Word Hunt
  • Build words: magnetic letters, wikki sticks, shaving cream, etc.
  • Newspapers-use old newspapers and magazines to have kids hunt for words or spelling patterns
  • Fill in the Blank with Clothespins
  • Look, Say, Cover, Write, Check folders
  • Word Sorts
  • Word Wall activities
  • Sign language
  • Examine syllables
  • Create word searches or crossword puzzles
  • Songs
  • Spelling Mnemonics: because:
    Use first letter of each word: Big Elephants Can Always Understand Small Elephants; "Mary had a Little Lamb" song
  • Environmental Print Puzzles

Carl's Corner
Alphabet and word family materials galore! Letter Lotto Partner puzzles, fonts, alphabet stickers, flip books, trace and write sheets, and more.  Crossword puzzles, word searches, word building mats, worksheets and word slides for each word family. Also center signs

Kelly's Kindergarten
Sort letters, match beginning sounds, and much more! Fabulous monthly centers that integrate different subjects & center cards

Monthly Themed Stations
ABC bottles, uppercase/lowercase magnetic letter sort, Apple Tree Rhyming, Venn diagrams for sorting letters with lines/curves (these are all under September Centers). Includes math, science, art, and writing activities. September features a Chicka Chicka Boom theme. Parents Page-monthly donation lists might give you ideas

Literacy Centers
Photographs and ideas for literacy centers, especially ABC centers.
Guess the name game, word rings to go with letter sorts
Great pictures for teaching alphabet recognition, sounds, alphabetical order, and more.
Environmental print cards
Rhyming game and letter tumble. Other literacy station ideas for young students: sequencing and writing. Use Themes link to integrate different subjects.
ABC riddles, poems and songs, tongue twisters, collage materials for each letter, alphabet countdown (last 26 days of school), science ideas, hand and foot print ABCs, movement ideas for each letter (maybe not for literacy stations but so cool I had to include J), and more.

Short Vowels
Short vowel puzzles and cutting and pasting activities.

Sight Words
Activities to teach sight words.
Customize worksheets for specific sight words phrases. Create cube template, word searches, Paper, Rock, Scissors game, and dice game.

Spelling City
Create spelling lists for kids to practice with games.

Mandy Gregory
Lots of language arts, grammar, spelling games. Antonyms, Synonyms, Homophones, Nouns, Plurals, Compound Words, Prefixes and Suffixes, etc. Falling into Good Sentences, Plural Path, Fact/Opinion

Word Study Centers
Photographs of third grade games and activities students are using to practice the weekly spelling pattern.

High Frequency Words
High frequency words to coordinate with different seasons or themes.
Huge matrix of interactive activities and games.
Literature Response Sheets and Sound Station Sheets
Letter Sorting Sheets

California Reading Recovery site at


  • Top Ten Lists
  • Squiggles
  • Post Office
  • Card Station: Get Well, Birthday, Thank You cards
  • Picture Prompts
  • Student pages for Class Book
  • Write Around the Room
  • Paragraph a Week
  • Comic Strips
  • Literature Responses (write a letter to the character, change the ending, change the setting, etc.)
  • Daily News or Weekend News
  • Check out Carl's Corner for stationary
  • Sticker Stories


Daily Writing Prompts

Monthly Writing Journals
Includes monthly writing journals and graphic organizers

Writing Dialogue on the Computer
Postcards photographs. Speech bubbles and "What do you think she's thinking?" questions.
Activities for other areas as well. Writing ideas include The ABCs of Me, Stir Up a Spooky Story, At the Circus.
Class book photographs, ideas for young writing centers, bulletin boards, and thematic cooking ideas.
Lesson Plans and planning pages-trait based. More for whole group instruction during writing block but could continue during writing center


  • Vocabulary dominoes
  • Word Webs
  • Flip books
  • Alpha boxes
  • Word Sorts
  • Word Hunts
  • Vocabulary charts
  • FCRR games and activities
  • Memory
  • Synonym posters or mini-thesaurus


Don't know at all Have seen or heard - don't know meaning I think I know the meaning I know a meaning







Integrating technology with vocabulary ideas. Check out the Hang Mouse game under the first link!

Reading Street
Vocabulary dominoes, flipbooks, and PowerPoints. Many great resources!

Read and Respond:

  • Graphic organizers
  • Foldables
  • Book reviews
  • Recommendation charts
  • Author Study chart
  • Task Cards
  • Art project
  • Literature Circles


Shows examples of shutter folds, accordion books, layered books, and others. Can also be used for writing or vocabulary activities.

Step-by-step directions for making books and using them to teach.

Henry and Mudge Mini Books
Follow-ups for several Henry and Mudge books.
Tri-folds to respond to books from various popular series.


Buddy Reading:

  • Read with a partner
  • Retell the story
  • Fiction Walk/Nonfiction Walk
  • Book logs
  • Read Around the Room
  • Buddy read poems and songs on charts or the overhead
  • Question cubes or dice
  • Response-list of questions, sequence, graphic organizer, etc.
  • Fluency chart and activities


Reading Partnerships
For older students, reading partnerships include long-term buddy reading through novels with discussion and book talks.


  • Listen to books on tape/CD/mp3 player and respond
  • Listen to basal stories and songs
  • Bookmark stories online that are read aloud
  • Task cards or response sheets


Listening to Reading
Links to ebooks.
Perfect for a Robert Munsch author study.
Stories read aloud and interactive word activities.
Task cards for listening station , vocabulary, buddy reading, newspaper, and more.


  • Reader's Theater
  • Buddy Reading
  • Listening to Reading
  • FCRR activities
  • Fluency Folders (Poetry folders, fluency charts, short passages)
Reader's Theater rubric and links for scripts.
Reader's Theater scripts for popular children's books
Includes scripts for folktales
More Scripts



  • Unscramble poem in pocket chart
  • Poetry folders: illustrate poem, buddy read poems, practice performing or memorizing poems, record poem on tape, complete task-circle all the ______ (nouns, blends, compound words, etc.), find spelling words, number of syllables, rhyming words, etc.
  • Highlight interesting words
  • Compare poems
  • Poem Cloze
  • Art project
  • Poetry writing prompt
Poetry Task Cards and template for using Poetry Notebooks. Links of poetry websites and activities for your poetry station.
Great source for poems.
Another great source for poems and songs

Magnetic Poetry Online
Kids manipulate different words to create poems.
Ten different poems that students can listen to and/or find sounds and words.


Multiple Station Ideas:

Florida Center Reading Research
Based around the components of balanced literacy: phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension. Great center or small group activities.

Busy Teachers Cafe
Ideas, printables, and information about different literacy stations.
Word Work: Word Shapes, B and D, Alphabetizing
Writing: Top Ten, Squiggle, Sticker Story, Letter Writing
Read and Respond: Fantastic Facts
Ideas for different literacy stations including management. Photographs of different stations.
Word Work: Spelling contract, Buddy Test, Lace a Word, Clap a Word,
Build a Word with letter/word tiles, Build a Sentence, Word Wall cheer cards, etc.
Writing: Weekly Reader Report, Treasure Chest
Many ideas for a variety of different stations. Includes printables and helpful links.
Printables for many different literacy stations including Tape A Story, Digging Through The Dictionary, Newspaper, ABC or Word Work: B's and D's
Great Listening to Reading sites, vocabulary and word work sites bookmarked for student use.
Pictures of awesome work station boards

Organizing and Managing the Chaos
Free center signs
Photographs of pocket chart organizers, center signs, and other valuable links.
Center contracts, photographs of how to organize, ideas for various literacy stations, and links to other teacher sites.


Literacy Work Stations (Debbie Diller Style):
Lists of "I can..." ideas for various literacy stations
Literacy stations for older students. Literature extensions, task cards, student checklist, grading sheet, and more.

Daily 5:
Provides detailed information of the choices and lots of photographs of anchor charts, stations, and pocket charts to manage your literacy stations.
Cool Word Work Tic Tac Toe printables
Photographs of children at stations and description of Daily 5.

Mrs. Vensko
Teacher's schedule for Daily 5, link to pocket chart organization, and description of choices.
Signs and labels, colored pictures to create your own "I can..." charts, useful information about organizing and managing stations, and ideas for different choices.
Under Work Boards-daily, weekly, monthly recording sheets


Tiering Station Activities:

  • Station activities are based off whole group experiences
  • Pre-assess
  • Differentiate according to readiness, interest, learning profile
  • Tier: level of difficulty, amount of structure, time/pace, # of steps, level of dependence, form of expression (content, process, product)
  • Use Bloom's Taxonomy to assist


Tiered Lesson Plans

Remembering (Knowledge)
can the student recall or remember the information? define, duplicate, list, memorize, recall, repeat, reproduce state

Understanding (Comprehension)
can the student explain ideas or concepts? classify, describe, discuss, explain, identify, locate, recognize, report, select, translate, paraphrase

 Applying (Application)
can the student use the information in a new way? choose, demonstrate, dramatize, employ, illustrate, interpret, operate, schedule, sketch, solve, use, write.

Analysing (Analyzing)
can the student distinguish between the different parts? appraise, compare, contrast, criticize, differentiate, discriminate, distinguish, examine, experiment, question, test.

can the student justify a stand or decision? appraise, argue, defend, judge, select, support, value, evaluate

can the student create new product or point of view? assemble, construct, create, design, develop, formulate, write.


Example of tiered story element activity:

Tier 1- list story elements (knowledge and comprehension)

Tier 2- act out the story elements (application)

Tier 3- create a new ending and write a different version of the story (creating)