Each day it is important to implement reading centers in your classroom. Literacy centers can vary based on grade level, classroom needs, etc., but the one thing that is important is that students are working diligently to gain reading skills while staying engaged the entire time.
But sometimes it can get overwhelming to think about all of the centers that you need to plan each week. So, today I am going to share with you how to EASILY organize and plan your centers every week in under 20 minutes!
My Simple Literacy Centers
Before we get into the organization, I wanted to show you my centers, so you can get an idea of how they run.
In my third grade classroom, I do 5 centers. My students visit every center each week, so we are doing one center a day. I typically do about 20-30 minutes of centers daily.
- Meet the Teacher– This is where we do guided reading! Head to this blog post to read about how I teach guided reading.
- Word Work– Students are working on vocabulary or spelling words. Head to this blog post to read about word work.
- Listen to Reading/Read with a Partner– Each week we switch back and forth between these two centers. For listen to reading, students read books on EPIC. For read with a partner, they read with a partner. 😉
- Google Classroom Station– This is a station where students are working on the reading skill that we are learning that week. They go through a Google Classroom assignment that reteaches them the skill electronically, gives them highly engaging practice assignments, and then has a quick assessment. Head here to check those out!
- Close Reading– Head here to read more!
Organizing Each Center
Meet the Teacher
I have a bin that is called “guided reading”. In that bin, I have several folders. Each folder either has a level on it or a title of a chapter book.
When I am doing a new level or a new chapter book I will sit down and plan all of the guided reading lessons (using this SIMPLE lesson planner) for that specific set of books or level.
Then, I can reuse them over and over again.
So, if I am planning for my group I will grab out the folder of the level they are on or the new chapter book we are going to read. I make any copies that are in that folder and then I grab out the books.
The best part is these lessons will typically last me a whole month. So, all I have to do is pull it out once and I am set for the month. If I don’t have a folder for that level or chapter book yet then I have to take the time to make the lesson plans, but then I never have to do that again.
I store everything for that group (the books, the papers, etc.) in this tub! (affiliate link here)
Each week I pick two vocabulary centers and two spelling centers for students to choose from. I allow students to choose which skill they need more work on, vocabulary or spelling. I may give certain students a nudge to one. 😉
I store all of my spelling and vocabulary centers in one tub. At the beginning of the year, I take time to print out and make copies for all of my 20 spelling centers and all of my vocabulary centers (found here and here).
Then, I put all the copies in the tub. When it comes time to get out my word work for the week I grab the options on the top of the tub and throw them in my choice bins. I then take out the previous week’s choices and move them to the bottom of the tub. If I run out of copies that week I go and copy them immediately, so that next time I pull out that option I am ready to go.
I store my choices in this simple bin above. Students know that when it is word work time they can choose any of the options in the tubs.
Head here to grab a FREE sample of my word work centers!
Sometimes I will also do digital centers! This is a simple way to keep students engaged with even less prep for me! (Check out my digital centers here and here).
Listen to Reading/Read with a Partner
This is simple, I use iPads or old phones for listen to reading. I have a binder that I grabbed free QR codes from this TpT freebie and then I put them in a binder. Students can use the old cellphones to scan the QR codes and listen to the stories.
Or students can use any of the pieces of technology to get on EPIC and listen or read stories.
I store all of my technology in a dish drying rack with the chargers right next to them. This makes it super simple and organized.
This center is all choice when it comes to choosing what to read, so I don’t have to do any prep.
Google Classroom Station
For this station, my students are using Chromebooks. These are also stored in a dish rack (affiliate link here).
Each week, I just jump on Google Classroom and assign a new slide deck for the kiddos! It takes me a total of 3 minutes! I am always doing the skill we are working on that week, so I don’t have to really think about what to assign.
Close Reading Station
For this station, I go to my Paragraph of the Day pack and pick the standard that we are working on that week. I make a copy for every student. Then, I pick a few other topics that I think my students would be interested in and make a few copies of that.
I will do this at the beginning of every month for the entire month, this way I am only making copies once for the whole month.
Yearly Organization Steps
At the beginning of every year I do the following things:
- Copy all my word work centers for both spelling and vocabulary. I will do a class set of every single center and put it in the bin.
- I plan several guided reading levels and chapter books so that I don’t have to plan them ever again.
- I spend the first two weeks teaching students how to utilize all of the tools and how to properly go through each station.
Monthly Organization Steps
When each month begins I do the following things to make my stations successful:
- I assess my students to make sure they are in the right group for meet the teacher. I then choose which level they will work on that month or which chapter book. If I already have it planned I just make the copies, pull out the books, and throw it in their bin. If I do not have it planned, I take the time to plan for that level or book.
- I go to my Paragraph of the Day for that month for our close reading. I choose the paragraphs that match the skill that we are working on for the month. Then, I choose several other options that we will not use at other times of the day and I make copies!
Weekly Organization Steps
On Monday morning I always do these things:
- Change out my word work centers by grabbing the options on the top of my bin, putting last week’s options on the bottom, and then if I ran out of any copies the previous week I throw that in my copy folder to set me up for success later.
- Make sure all technology is charged up.
- Assign my weekly Google Classroom assignment on Google Classroom.
- Set out my already copied close reading assignments in the choice bins.
I hope these simple steps can make organizing and planning for stations much simpler. I spend about 10 minutes each week getting out items and then one planning session each month organizing for the month. The steps I take to keep everything simple make guided reading not overwhelming for me!
Do you have any questions about guided reading organization? Either comment below or sent me an email! I would love to answer all of your questions.