How to Effectively Use Literacy Centers in the Classroom

Literacy centers are a great way to allow students to read, write, and explore texts on their own in an engaging and organized environment. However, with the right materials, activities, and tools, literacy centers can make reading and writing fun for students of all ages.

In Episode 195 of the “Ignite Your Teaching” show, we discuss how to run literacy centers in your classroom that are responsive to student needs and easy to implement for teachers.

How to Effectively Use Literacy Centers in the Classroom


Do you use literacy centers in junior classrooms?

In this episode, I am talking about what literacy centers look like in my junior classroom because they look a little different from centers in my primary classrooms.

As junior students go through the year, they often develop more independent skills, so how you use centers can change depending on their skill and comfort levels. 

Because centers can be so different in junior classrooms, I think it’s helpful to talk about the differences and how to adapt to make them work for you. 

Something that you’ll hear me repeat in the episode is that there is no one right way to do centers. I just want to give you an idea of how I make centers work in my classroom so that you can get some inspiration and guidance for yours!

Creating Student Focused Centers

In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

Creating Student-Focused Centers

As you plan and set up your literacy centers, it’s important to keep your students in mind. Ensure the activities are appropriate for their reading level and interests. But, consider their different learning styles and include visual materials like colour-coded posters and maps that can help them understand more complex concepts.

Set Clear Expectations and Routines.

No two classrooms will run centers precisely the same.  So if you think that there is only one way to run centers in your classroom is not true.

But  there are many ways, from open and flexible schedules to structured and rigid rotations.  When you see that there are lots of different ways to do it, you feel more successful.

It takes time to get centers running like clockwork, so you need to train your students how it is all supposed to look. (which means you need an idea of what that should look like too)

Finding Time to Schedule and Run Literacy Centers

One of the big problems teachers face is how to fit it all in.

With a limited amount of time in the day to get this work done and it comes down to structure and routine in your classroom.  Literacy centers are important but so are the other things you do so that these centers can happen.

What is the teacher doing?

Well, this right here is the reason we do centers at all!

Centers help us facilitate small group instruction.  So if you have ever wondered how you will cut down on all that marking, you take home daily that the answer is small group instruction.  During these small group sessions, you get to know your students and learn how they are doing.  So you definitely don’t want to skip this.

With centers that keep students engaged you can free up your time for small-group learning.

Watch the episode on Youtube


Learn More

So, I hope this gives you an idea of what centers can look like in your classroom and how I run them in mine. 

Remember, there’s no one right way to do centers. You get to choose what works for you and your students!

Do you want help creating an engaging literacy program that your students will love all year without the stress, disorganization, or overwhelmed feelings of starting from scratch?  

If so I want to invite you to join Ignited Literacy. It will give you a full year’s worth of literacy lessons and activities for your grade 3-6 classroom. Find out more at www.ignitedliteracy.com/IL2021SP.  

If you have ever thought should I do literacy circles or literacy centers then checkout episode 159  to learn which one I think is best.


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Other Episodes You’ll Enjoy:

194: High Yield Strategies for Your Language Arts Program

193: Is Ignited Literacy Right For You?

192: 5 Mistakes You are Making In Your Language Program


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Youtube video:

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