Looking for a new strategy to get your students reading? Try setting up classroom literacy stations! The method is easy, adaptable, and reusable, and it can help you incorporate all aspects of reading and the English language arts into your curriculum. Follow these seven steps to get a successful literacy stations program up and running in your classroom!
1. Give each station a focus
A successful literacy program comprises all five aspects of reading and the English language arts: independent reading, partner reading, listening, writing, and word study. Assign each station a specific aspect to emphasize before determining what activities and tools to use at each one.
2. Keep it simple
There’s no need to make lots of extra work for yourself by creating extra-fancy stations. Instead, focus on the basics. Make sure that each station has the right amount of space, whether that means a cozy chair for independent reading or ample desk space for a writing station. Keep the scope of each of the stations’ activities manageable so that there is no need for lots of supplies cluttering the space. To create unique experiences, dedicate supplies exclusively to each station.
3. Engage with technology
Online programs (like EducationCity and Reading Eggs) offer a huge variety of e-books, audiobooks, and other interactive literacy activities (puzzles, games, etc.). Make use of these programs to provide fresh, engaging activities tailored to your students’ individual reading levels.
4. Encourage collaboration
Literacy stations can provide a great opportunity for your students to practice working together. Partner reading activities can help students learn to recognize when and how to help their peers, all while reinforcing and building confidence in their own skills. Students can also practice valuable listening skills by taking turns reading and then retelling a story to one another.
5. Set realistic expectations
It will take time for young learners to grasp the rules of each literacy station—don’t expect the strategy to work perfectly the first time! Help students get started on the right foot by first brainstorming ideas as a class for what expectations should be at each station. Create a list or visual of those expectations that can be posted in the classroom. Then, pay attention to how it’s going. Make note of what is working well, reinforce positive behaviors, and don’t hesitate to change up stations that seem to be problematic.
6. Foster independence
Literacy stations offer a great opportunity to give your students the independence they desire and to teach them to be self-directed learners. Let them choose which books they want to read and which topics they want to write about. Working with materials that students picked out themselves will help them build excitement for reading and gain confidence in their skills.
7. Document and share student work
Let your students show off a little! Offer students various opportunities to document and share the work that they do at the literacy stations. Keep student notebooks and journals at writing stations, incorporate a “word wall” into a word-study stations, and provide art supplies like colored paper and markers so that students can illustrate their stories. Encourage students to share their work with the class, and create student portfolios that can be displayed during parent-teacher conferences or open houses.
Want to learn more about how online programs like EducationCity and Reading Eggs can be used to create literacy stations to improve reading skills? Check out our solutions page!