I love using literacy stations in my classroom. This was something I learned about in the U.K. and they have become more popular in recent years in Ireland. I usually have 4 literacy stations at any time. I have experimented with different activities and groupings over the years and my favourite stations are;
- Reading with teacher
- Vocabulary/dictionary work
- Grammar work
- Independent reading
- Free writing
- Oral language
Organisation and set up
- From September, I will aim to do Literacy stations at least twice per week (I haven’t decided on the exact days yet as this will depend on support timetables etc.)
- I will split my class into four groups
- Children will complete two activities on Day 1 and the remaining two activities on Day 2.
- The format of the activities will remain the same throughout the term as this ensures that the children can complete the activities independently and will not be interrupting the group who are working with the teacher.
- I usually allocate 50 minutes to 1 hour for literacy stations (so 25-30 minutes per station)
I try to keep the 4 stations in the same place each week so the children know exactly where to go. After 25 minutes at 1 station – the children rotate clockwise to the next station.
What do the children need
From the start children should know exactly what they need for literacy stations. This ensures that the stations flow and the children don’t have to go rooting for things and disrupting others.
In my class, the children will need;
- Pencil case
- Reading book
Additional material for the grammar/vocabulary/oral language/free writing stations will be left on the table.
Reading with Teacher
Reading material; class novel, textbook, guided readers (if available), poetry etc.
Focus; comprehension strategies (Predicting, connecting, questioning, visualising, inferring, determining importance, summarising etc.)
Pre – reading; children discuss the title/pictures/ what has happened so far in the story. Children make predictions about what might happen next/ retell what has happened so far/ offer their opinions/views on the story.
Reading – children take turns to read. The teacher may also take a turn to model expression/rate etc.
After reading – answer questions based on what has happened. Predict what might happen next.
I have just finished these vocabulary lists for 3rd- 6th class. There are 12 words per list (25 lists per pack – 300 words in total).
I will display these on the interactive whiteboard and the children will write down the word, look up the meaning in the dictionary, write down any words with a similar meaning and put the word in a sentence.
You can find out more about the vocabulary lists here.
Boggle could also work really well as a station.
Children will complete activities based on the grammar work which we have covered in class. I created a Grammar Pack for 3rd/4th class which you can download below.
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Children can choose their own book/ reading material. (They may choose reading materials from the class/school library or bring in their own book from home).
This gives children the chance to write for a set period of time on a topic of their choice. Alternatively, a number of topics can be provided. I bought this book ‘642 things to write about – the young writers edition’ a few years ago which has lots of brilliant topics! (Available here from The Book Depository)
Some ideas for this group might include; debate topics – whereby the children are given a statement and give their ideas/opinions. I got a fantastic list of debate topics from Seomra Ranga a few years ago.
Guess Who – is fantastic for developing oral language – especially describing people and asking questions.
Articulate is also a brilliant game where the children have to describe an object from a variety of categories and the other players have to guess the object.
I created a Language Box a few years ago that has lots of other resources for Oral Language too. You can read more about that here.
Overall the most important thing for Literacy stations is organisation – the children need to know exactly what to do at each station which is why I tend to have the same stations for 6-8 weeks before changing – I usually just change the material used at each station every week but keep the same format!