Literacy Center Organization

Hi everyone!  It's Jennie from JD's Rockin' Readers!  Are you as overwhelmed with school right now as I am?  This time of the year is just crazy!  We are finishing assessments this week and then grade cards go home next week.  Then, it's Parent Teacher Conferences right before Turkey Day!  I am always ready for Thanksgiving Break more than any other break we get throughout the year (except summer of course). 

Today, I am going to share with you how I run my Literacy Centers so that I can work with my Guided Reading groups.  

First off, my teaching partner, Mrs. Kruse, and I do Center Time together.  This picture is from my classroom looking into her classroom. We have sliding doors that we open each day during this time.  Our center block usually lasts between 45 minutes to an hour.  I try to get in 2 or 3 Guided Reading Lessons during this time.



We do three center rotations a day.  We each have four different groups.  All of my groups are a mix of ability levels.  We regulate the time that the students spend at each center activity.  It is usually between 15 and 20 minutes.  Our Listening Center is our guide for how long they are at each center.  We usually put two books at the Listening Center that last about 12-15  minutes total and when that group is finished, then we switch by ringing a bell.  Students know to switch to their next center unless they have not finished their first center.  If they haven't finished, they must finish and then go on to the next center.


This is our Listening Center.  We have the same cards out there as we do on our rotation board.  We use arrows to tell who is in charge of running the center that day.  We have our Listening Center set up  in the hallway right outside of our classroom.  It's nice because we can have them listen to the stories without headphones and Mrs. Kruse can still see their every move from her Guided Reading table.

We do a mix of Daily 5 and regular Literacy Centers.  For our Work On Writing center, we just have the students get their Writing Workshop folder out and they get extra time that day to work on whatever writing they are doing during Writing Workshop.  


These centers are kept in Mrs. Kruse's room.  All of the materials needed for these centers are in this storage container.  We usually have two different options for Spelling Words and Sight Words.  They have a list of their spelling words in their Center Folder to use (this is also where we put any paper/pencil work for the week).  At the end of the week, I take a quick glance to make sure they are completing their work.  I staple it together and send it home.  Our weekly sight words are on a pocket chart in the classroom for them to use as a reference when they go to the Sight Word center.  Our Word Work center is usually an activity that helps the students practice the phonics skill that we are working on that week.  For example, this week we are doing a WH write the room activity.  This also goes along with the skill on our spelling test this week.


The Poetry Center is kept in my room.  The poem that we use each week is one that we have read everyday the week prior to putting it into the center.  The students are very familiar with the poem and can read it on their own.  They put the poems into their Poetry Notebook and have some sort of activity to go with it.  (Sometimes we have parent helpers help with this center).  Most of the poems I use come from Jane Loretz.  She has MANY different Interactive Poetry Centers for sale in her store.


We also have an iPad center.  At this center, the students are allowed to go to different reading apps that we have on the iPads.  Our ultimate goal is to have them using and reading books from their Raz-Kids account- but it isn't set up yet:(  It should be very soon though!  I can't wait for them to be able to be reading books at their level during this time.

During our Read to Self time, students are allowed to choose whose room they want to go and read in.  We built up our stamina at the beginning of the year and they do a nice job with getting their browsing box and reading to themselves.

During our Read to Someone time, students meet in the middle of the two rooms (where the doors open) and raise their hand.  This means they are looking for a partner to read with.  We allow students to read with another student from either room.

Here are some fun Sound/Letter Boxes that you can use during your Guided Reading Lessons!

I LOVE having this time to work with my kiddos at their reading level.  We can get so much accomplished during this time by using The Ultimate Guided Reading Toolkit that I made.  It makes planning a breeze and the activities are fun and effective:)  

If you are interested in purchasing The Ultimate Guided Reading Toolkit, try to get your school to purchase it by using this FREE download explaining the product to your principal.  It also includes directions on how to purchase with a School Purchase Order.  Multiple licenses are at a reduced cost.  What do you have to lose??  

I'm sure I haven't covered everything, but I know I am always interested in how others set up their room and their Literacy Centers.  I am happy to answer any other questions that you might have:)


  1. Wow! Loads of great ideas in this post, Jennie. You sure are one organized gal. Thanks so much for sharing!
    Literacy Loving Gals