Our kindergarten literacy block is structured with time for whole group instruction, small group & one on one instruction, book box time, sharing and choice stations. Literacy Explore is similar to reading and writing stations. In fact, I call it that so the children know that it’s not quite as open-ended as our Explore time. During this time I expect the kids to be engaged and playing in a literacy activity of their choosing. The children choose from the choices on our work board. They can move freely from station to station, as long as there is room. Reading from book boxes or our classroom library and writing are always a choice with no restrictions on how many kids can be doing this. I also have a time when everyone is reading from book boxes or the classroom library – in addition to our literacy Explore time. I want to make sure that everyone is engaged in texts of their choosing at some point in our day, in case they are not choosing this during Explore.
An example of some of the choices available as reading and writing stations are:
-reading around the room (children have pointers and can walk around the room looking for letters or words they know)
-writing around the room (children have clipboards and can walk around the room writing down letters or words they see)
-big books (all the big books we have read, as well as class big books we have made are in a bin for children to reread – I also have a big picture dictionary they love to read)
-puppets (I have a variety of puppets and stuffed animals from books we have read. Kids can create their own puppet stories or retell books we have read.)
-magnetic letters (a variety of magnetic letters and words on an oil drip pan and cookie sheets for kids to make words, match and sort letters, etc.)
-letter sand boxes (see this previous post for a photo and description)
-name bottles (we interviewed each child and then created a name bottle for them – it’s a bottle with all the letters of their name plus some glitter – kids can match a name bottle with a name card at this station)
-rhyming and letter games (various games where kids can match objects that rhyme, objects to a letter chart, objects with similar beginning or ending sounds, etc. – a good source for ordering lots of little objects is from Time for Tots on Etsy)
-poems and songs on charts (Children can reread familiar poems and songs with pointers at this station. I laminate all of our charts, tape a plastic hanger to them, and hang them on a chart stand. I have several hooks around the room for kids to hang the charts on while they are reading them.)
-iPad and iPhone (A variety of literacy apps are available at these stations – I especially like the digital story apps Fotobabble, StoryKit, and Storyrobe) as well as the SMARTboard (literacy games and websites).)
-letter stamps (Kids can make books, stamp names or words, sort letters, etc. with the ABC stamps.)
-flannel board (I love my “old school” flannel board! It is great for retelling stories and creating new ones from having multiple felt pieces available. Story Time Felts has a wide variety of stories available on felt and for a few dollars extra, they come pre-cut. Check with your librarian, many times old flannel boards are just in a closet, not being used.)
This is just a sampling of some ideas. I leave the choices up for a few weeks, adding new ones in and rotating ones out if I see that kids aren’t going to that station. I can then reintroduce a station later with renewed interest.
For our youngest literacy learners (and really, all literacy learners), I feel that it’s particularly important to make literacy accessible, playful, meaningful and engaging. When children have the opportunity to choose from a wide variety of stations they are certain to feel empowered, successful and in control of their learning. This helps set the foundation for strong literacy learning, and allows our stronger children the chance to go beyond the curriculum.
I’m sure there are many more literacy based exploration ideas out there. How do you do literacy stations? Please share!