Are you looking for ways to invigorate your literacy block in upper elementary? Then literacy stations and literacy groups are a must for you to try! They offer a ton of benefits, from boosting engagement to fostering skill development.
If you're new to running station rotations, I recommend checking out these helpful blog posts that explain “the why” and “the how” of this approach: Why You Should Try Station Rotations in Upper Elementary and Your Questions Answered About Running a Station Rotation in Upper Elementary.
In previous posts, I've discussed how I plan four literacy stations for my class, with each of my literacy groups completing two stations per day. This means that I cycle through the four stations over the course of two days.
To ensure a balanced approach, I typically include one literacy station from each of the following categories: reading, writing, word work, and comprehension. Ready to explore some exciting literacy station ideas? Read on!
Reading is a fundamental component of any successful literacy stations. There are many options for incorporating reading into your rotation, and it's important to offer students variety to keep them engaged. In my classroom, I’m a strong advocate for having my students read an *actual* book so that’s what we do most of the time. But, I’ll throw in a few other choices, once in a while.
For independent reading, I start the year by teaching students how to read to themselves and how to build up their reading stamina. Students can choose books from our classroom library, the school library, or bring them from home.
In all of my literacy stations, I include a guided reading station where my literacy groups come for a lesson with me. This allows me to read with all groups, regularly.
Read to Someone
My students love to read to a classmate on Fridays so I always include this as an option during Friday literacy stations.
If you aren’t using Epic in your classroom, I highly suggest it. They have really engaging, popular books for kids and it’s free during school hours!
Upper elementary students love listening to podcasts! A few that have been a huge hit with my students are Six Minutes and Mars Patel. Go check out Haylee Harwick’s blog as she gives tons of podcast recommendations and also has podcast comprehension resources available.
Audiobooks are also a hit with students and are often not something that is used often in the classroom. They can be a powerful tool to improve literacy skills and promote a love of reading. Audiobooks provide students with the opportunity to hear fluent reading, and build listening comprehension. Epic offers a wide range of audiobooks for students to choose from, and it's free during school hours. By providing access to audiobooks, you can engage reluctant readers, help struggling readers, and offer a unique learning experience for all students.
Book clubs are a fantastic way to promote a love of reading, build comprehension skills, and encourage critical thinking. Finding time to fit book clubs into a busy schedule can be challenging. One solution is to incorporate book clubs into your literacy stations. During a 20-minute rotation, students can meet with their book club to read and discuss their chosen book together. This not only promotes reading engagement, but also social and collaborative skills. To get started, choose a few books that align with your curriculum or student interests, and assign them to small groups. Set up discussion prompts or questions to guide student conversations, and I bet you’ll find your students looking forward to meeting with their book clubs!
Whether it's with technology or traditional pen and paper, there are plenty of writing activities you can offer to your literacy groups. With technology, the possibilities are endless with options like Google Docs, Google Slides, Jamboard, blog writing, website creation, and more.
Class Writing Assignment
Assigning a specific writing task for students to work on during literacy stations is a great way to reinforce your writing lessons. For example, if you've recently taught students how to write an exciting beginning for a narrative piece, their assignment could be to edit and improve the beginning of their own narrative writing.
One of the simplest writing activities for literacy stations is just to let students use their creativity to craft their own writing pieces. The rules are straightforward: write whatever they like. They can choose the format and content of their writing, whether it's a story, poem, letter, song or anything else they can think of.
This writing activity is similar to “read to someone,” but with writing. Students collaborate with a classmate or a few classmates to write a story, a newspaper article, a podcast script, or any other type of writing that they are interested in. It's a great opportunity for students to practice their writing skills while also working on teamwork and communication.
In the Word Work category, there are many ways to support your students' learning in grammar, phonics, spelling, and vocabulary. This is a great time to “plug in” any of these programs that your school uses. The last few years, I’ve been using Words Their Way so my students work on their weekly sorts during the word work rotation.
To help your students develop their comprehension skills, it's important to switch up your activities regularly to keep them engaging and challenging. One fun activity is to listen to a podcast series as a class and assign comprehension tasks based on the podcast. This is a great way to build listening skills and engage students in the content. Additionally, you can have your students work on comprehension assignments related to a class novel, book club book, or a guided reading assignment. These assignments can include summarizing, analyzing character development, making predictions, and other important skills.
Examples of Literacy Stations
Now, let’s put it all together. Below you'll find station examples from my fourth grade students to work through with their literacy groups.
Want the class slide templates that include these rotation slides? Check out my class slides on TpT.
Keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list of all the literacy station ideas. It’s simply a starting point for your literacy stations. Regularly refreshing rotations can make a big difference in keeping things fresh and fun for both you and your students.
The last post in this station rotations series is all about ideas for rotations in Math. Click to read, 15 Ideas To Refresh Your Rotations in Math That You Can Use Right Away.