LISTEN UP...I'll make Listening Center one of your Favorite Centers

Hi All.  This is Cathy from Cathy Collier's The W.I.S.E. Owl.  We are just finishing our first week of school and our teachers are jumping into planning centers or literacy stations.

I don't know about you, but LISTENING CENTER used to be the bane of my existence.  Every week finding a new book…making sure it wasn’t too long…making sure the tape worked…making sure I had multiple copies…ugh.  Then, I finally figured it out:

I was making too many changes.

Teach Process, Change Product

LISTENING CENTER is another center that once the process is taught…you’re golden. 

For classroom set up purposes...we hang a sign where the students will work.  Every classroom is a little bit different, so I've had the listening center set up different ways.  Sometimes I have the tape player on the table where they will work.  The table also has a bucket with their listening center booklets.  Sometimes, there isn't a plug I have the students lay on the floor and listen to the book, then go to the table with the booklets.  One year, I had my students keep their booklets with them in a file box they took to every center, every day.  Regardless, as long as you establish the place and keep it constant, it will be fine.

Setting a Purpose for Listening

The secret to loving the LISTENING CENTER?  I choose one book PER MONTH!  That’s right…just 1.  The students have 4 opportunities to hear the book, while the product for each week is different. Now, my LISTENING CENTER supports comprehension.  Each week we set a purpose for listening.

Week 1 – Students listen to the story.  Then, write the title and the author on the cover of their LISTENING CENTER booklet (2 pages of manila paper, folded, and stapled).  At the beginning of the year, I write the title and author on sentence strips for the students to reference at the table.  Once I got a SmartBoard, I wrote the title and author on the SmartBoard for student reference.  Towards the middle of the year, I teach them to write the title using the books.

Week 2 – Students listen to the story.  Students will write the main character names and either illustrate the characters or glue provided pictures from the story.  At the beginning of the year, we decide who the main characters are as a group and I write the names on sentence strips for reference at the center.  Later in the year, we discuss the characters orally, but they have to locate the names in the book.

Week 3 – Students listen to the story.  Students will write about the setting in the story and write a phrase.  At the beginning of the year, we decide what the main setting is as a group and I write it on a sentence strip.  Once again, as the year goes on they have to locate the information in the book.

Week 4 – Students listen to the story a final time and write a response to the story.  At the beginning of the year, I provide the sentence starter, “I like it when…”  As the year progresses they can choose, "I like it when..." or "I do not like it when..."  

Changing my LISTENING CENTER from a weekly book to a monthly book helped my students with reading comprehension.  My students could have book talks about the characters, setting, and events easily.

Cute illustrations

(Oops...Forgot a pic of the last week.)

CLICK HERE for a Listening Center FREEBIE.


  1. I love it!!! Woooooohoooooo! Thanks for sharing such a simple and fun way to use the listening center.

    1. used to drive me crazy, but now I love it.

  2. Great idea! I was trying to "PIN" it to reference later. Can you help me?

    1. You can always PIN one of the pictures...and it'll bring you back here. EnjoY!

  3. Oh you have made my day! Simplifying the process but sticking to a purpose makes this so doable! I am going to get this started right away. Thank you for sharing.
    Pauline @ First Grade by the Sea

    1. I truly believe in purposeful centers that are process oriented. You can change the product AFTER they understand the process. Enjoy!

  4. This whole post, I just love it! I am currently doing a DonorsChoose to get ipads for my listening center and this post makes me even more eager to get it up and going. Thank you for the great ideas!
    The Chalkboard Garden

  5. This idea is simply brilliant! I love the idea of listening to the book multiple times - how come I never thought of that? Thanks for sharing!

    1. It was one of those "duh" moments when I figured it out. I just had to share it! Enjoy!


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