Adventures in Literacy Land: Listening Center

Showing posts with label Listening Center. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Listening Center. Show all posts

5 Tips that will help you LOVE your Listening Center

Do you have these problems with setting up and running a Listening Center?

You don't have enough books.
It's too noisy.
You don't have the "fancy smancy" listening center that costs hundreds of dollars.
The kids fight over who is running the Listening Center.

Here are a few ideas that may help you have a more organized Listening Center.

Have teachers put their resources together.  Share your listening center books.  Our first grade team has done this.  We have a common area where we keep our books.  Luckily, we had a great parent helper organize our books for us.

She was WAY organized and would seriously come all afternoon almost every day last school year.  Honestly, it was like having a personal assistant at school.  We miss her!

Anyway, here is what she came up with.

They are put in order first by "theme" that goes through the entire school year.  Then, the rest are in alphabetical order.  When we check out a set of books, we put the clothespin with our name on the books that we are using.  This way, others can see where the books are at and I know quickly where I need to return them.  

For years, I had students listen to books without any headphones.   My listening center is in the hallway right outside the door so they could listen directly from the CD player.  Here's the problem:  They were always talking and goofing around.

I got a headphone jack this year.  I thought it was going to be expensive, but it really wasn't- I got one that has 10 headphone jacks.  I had ordered it out of a school supply magazine for about $25.

Here is one from Amazon that only has four.  

Have you ever looked at the prices of a "fancy smancy" listening center?  Ridiculous!  I use a Boom Box (yes, I just said Boom Box).  It does the job.  It has both a CD player and a tape player in it.  I think I got mine at Wal-mart about 10 years ago and it still works!

I have "leaders" at the listening center.  I put a list of the center groups at the listening center (laminated) and then I just put a black dot next to the name of the person who is the leader that day.  I just go down the list each time I put a new book into the listening center.  We practice "A LOT" how to be a leader.  They are in charge of getting the books and handing them out, putting in the disc, and they are the ONLY ones who are touching the CD player.  

I mentioned above that I didn't use headphones for years.  I do now.  It is SOOO much better.  Each student has their own set of headphones.  We keep them at their "bookshelf" that is next to their table groups where we keep a lot of the supplies.  When they go to the listening center, they grab their headphones.  It is now QUIET at the listening center.  


A Website Primary Teachers Will Love

Hello Literacy Land Readers! I'm popping in today to share a website that I just stumbled upon and L.O.V.E.  

The Unite for Literacy website hosts a collection of original, nonfiction picture books for beginning readers of all ages.

If you are a primary teacher, teacher of language learners or the deaf, reading specialist, or parent of a beginning reader, this website is for you!

The books feature familiar topics, colorful pictures, and audio support in many languages including sign language.

It's Easy to Use!

Students select a book by clicking on the picture of it. They turn the pages by clicking on the arrows. The left-hand page features a crisp, clear photograph or illustration. The right-hand page features text in an easy-to-read font. Audio support is provided by clicking on the speaker icon beneath the page. You can pre-select the language options.


  • nonfiction (hard to find at the emergent level)
  • relevant topics
  • attractive photographs and illustrations
  • cultural diversity
  • predictable, rhythmic language
  • text that ranges from one word up to a few sentences 
  • audio support (narrated in a real human voice)
  • narrated in English, many foreign languages, and sign language
  • new titles added every Tuesday
  • always free
  • no registration or logins required

Implications for the Classroom

Unite for Literacy is a valuable resource in the classroom and at home. I envision teachers using this to website to support their emergent readers and language learners during independent reading time or literacy centers. I plan to use it with my intervention students and share it with their parents and classroom teachers.

How would you use this website?  


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

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

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.