Thursday, July 11, 2013

Throwback Thursday ~Literacy Stations

Hi, Friends! How are ya?  I’m linking up with the awesome Cara Caroll for this week’s installment of Throwback Thursday!

This post was originally shared on April 23, 2013 and quickly became my most popular post!  Enjoy!

Just recently, I shared how we conduct math stations in our classroom….NOW its time for the biggie! Literacy stations! Our absolute favorite time of the day! Math is fun. Science and Social Studies, very informative….BUT literacy, reading, word work {ahhhh}…OUR FAVORITEs!

Now, before we proceed, I should probably tell you that I sneak as much literacy into EVERYTHING that we do throughout the day as possible! This post however, outlines how we conduct our specific literacy block of time. It begins around mid-day, just after lunch and runs until we leave for the end of the day.

We begin this time with a quick transition to the carpet that focuses on some phonemic awareness skill done orally.  After settling in at the carpet, we move through a mini-lesson that is focused on phonics, comprehension, fluency, vocabulary, or word usage. We use the concepts outlined in The Daily 5 in our classroom. For us, its more like the Daily 6 because we use our computers as part of the rotation, but still call it The Daily 5.


On a normal day, we visit 3 rounds of stations. We check in by sitting at the carpet quietly and waiting for the stylus to be passed from one friend to the next. Students conduct this activity independently as I’m already off and running with my small group at the teacher table. This chart has student numbers on it from the beginning of the year. We have since changed it to names. You can also see the names of each of the areas students have a choice of visiting. They check in and off they go…

Do I tell students which area to visit?  Nope! That’s the great part of it all. They get to have a say so in their learning by making the choice themselves. They get to be in control and decide how they will work on becoming a better reader, a more literate little being!

Do YOU like to be told what and how to do things all day lonnnng? Probably not.

Well, guess what…neither do your students! Ha! Choice is very important and besides, I control what they’re learning through the materials and activities that are prepared for them, so its ok to give them a little control. =)


While they are working independently throughout the room, I am at the teacher table (most days) working with a small group of students on comprehension and word attack skills. If you look closely, you’ll also notice that not all of the books are exactly the same. Initially, we begin the year with just guided reading groups…BUT as the year progresses and as students progress as readers, we move from just guided reading groups (where we’re learning how to read) to guided reading AND strategy groups (where we’re learning how to comprehend what we read).

Soooo, there are some weeks where our books are different, BUT the skill we’re focused on is the same. That way we get a bit of a mix to our groups and students aren’t so easily identified by their level of expertise.

What are my OTHER kids doing while I’m at the table? Wellll, I’m glad you asked!


As they go to stations, they have a choice of activities on each shelf. On each shelf is a choice of bins. In each bin is a supply bucket and  ‘I Can’ statement for them to read that provides a simple explanation of the activity underneath. (This also helps to keep our shelves looking neat and tidy. I HATE DESPISE LOATH CLUTTER!) Everything needed to complete the activity is in the bin to minimize movement in the room. Only 2 students are allowed to share any 1 activity.


Students work to review and practice previously taught skills that will help build literate little peeps! Stations help to extend skills over a length of time (that I determine) to gain a greater level of mastery. I do not change station materials each week. I change them as I notice students losing interest or having gained a great understanding of the concept they’re practicing. This allows for extended practice and a little less work for me. =)


There is generally a manipulative of some sort to organize, sort, or put together and a reflection sheet to record thinking, reflect on reading, or demonstrate understanding.  These little guys were used to practice understanding multiple meaning words.  Here’s a close-up!


Students are encouraged to do their best work by possibly having it used as a model for others.



We incorporate a little art that is connected to shared reading or writing.


….and do lots of word work!


Interactive writing is always connected to literature. We tackled this BIG guy in small group AND as part of our mini-lessons on comparing and contrasting in order to get it completed! It’s HUGE!

Each round of stations is timed for about 30 minutes. As I complete a small group, I leave the table or area where we’ve been working and rotate around the room to monitor students and join in for a little “chit chat” in order to provide some individualized attention.  In order to get students attention to change stations, a rain stick is turned quietly.

When they hear it, they know they have 2 minutes to clean up and move to the carpet for the next mini-lesson. Sometimes, we need gentle reminders…but most days, move pretty quickly because we want to get back to stations as soon as we can! Reading is fun!

Friends that have added a new poem to their poetry journal get to bring it to the carpet to read aloud to help build their fluency at this time as well, so you’d best believe they’re the first to get to the carpet as fast as they can!


Most importantly, we read to each other and work together to become better readers! After recess, we move from reading to writing. Writing is often a reflection on our unit of study in reading or a connection to a science or social studies topic.

AND that my friends is how we conduct our literacy block! …our absolute favorite time of the day! Whew! That was a mouthful! Thanks for sticking around!

You definitely deserve a treat! Click the pic below to grab the fab freebie we used to practice multiple meaning words {pictured above}! It’ll give you an idea of what our station activities are like. Hope your firsties like them as much as we did! Enjoy!

multiple meaning butterflies freebie 042313


  1. Tanya, this was a fantastic post to read. I felt very reassured that I am on the same page with Daily 5 and transitions! I love your smartboard checkout for D5. Great idea. I don't have a smartboard...yet, so I have our celebrity of the week write up a simple checkout system on the board before each round. Gives them that independence we so want them to acquire! Guided reading sessions this quarter have been dicey for me...feeling that time is not on my side...found myself doing more one-on-one conferring instead..
    Love your organization and thoroughness!

    1. Thanks, Julie...notice I mentioned 'on a normal day'....we'll talk about a not so normal day's schedule in another post, lol! Thanks for stopping by! =)

  2. What a fabulous post! Thank you so much for sharing how you handle your literacy block. How many mini-lessons do you do a day?

    Extra Special Teaching

    1. I usually plan for 3 minilessons each day, some are just to review expectations, genre, discuss our purpose for reading...if our reading block runs over into writing, then we repurpose writing as part of morning work, science or social studies...=)

  3. Thanks for sharing! I really want to change my reading set up for next year and I am trying to put it all together. I wish I could visit a classroom. I think I need to see it. Your post is very helpful:)

    1. You're welcome! Keep blog hoppin''ll find many amazing ideas! It's so wonderfully addictive. I get lost in them for hours on end! =)

  4. Girl, this is an amazing post! Thank you for sharing!!! We are starting to transition out of guided reading in it's traditional format of all kids in the group in the same book next year (starting around level G/12) so I will become a close stalker. :)
    And - you're soooo close to 500!!!
    Hugs - Lisa
    Growing Firsties

    1. Thanks, Lisa! Yay! Doing the happy dance for follower #501 right now! Whoo hoo! I absolutely love literacy! I can't wait to get out for the summer so that I can dig into blogs and books to improve my groups for next year! Thanks for stopping by! =)

  5. Great post honey! And love the freebie! I too loathe clutter and need things to be just so. ESPECIALLY in station rotations! (I do believe I've passed this little quirk onto many of my first graders too!) Ish and the Dot are two of my very favorite books. We talk in "ish-es" all the time!

    Rowdy in First Grade

    1. Why, THANK YOU!!! I absolutely adore that set of books! AND squealed like a teenage girl when I found out there was a THIRD ONE! It's a trilogy! Ever read Sky Color? Go get'll fall in love all over again. I'm using the set as the inspiration for my room decor next year! Gonna looooovve it! Thinking -ishly allows my ideas to flow freely! =)

  6. That was an awesome post to read...full of brilliant ideas! I know that took a LOT Of work, so thanks for sharing! I L-O-V-E your idea of displaying their work for others to encourage them to do well. So using that!!

    For the Love of First Grade

    1. Aww, thanks Lindsay! should see how the kids light up when I frame one of their pieces of work to hang on the end of a shelf! They love it and are so proud of themselves! If another friend is a little unsure of what to do...I can hear them telling friends to look at the example. I've got a room full of future teachers, lol! =)

  7. Thank you for the great multiple meaning center. Your literacy block looks wonderful

    1. You're welcome! Thanks for stopping by! =)

  8. Oh my word, WHERE/HOW can I get your AMAZING SMARTBoard file with the Daily 5 choices/check-in? LOOOOOOOVE it!!!

    1. Thanks, Mamie! Here's the link for the check-in. I also went back and added it within the was created by Angela at Just Love Teaching...but you'll have to add your own clipart! Thanks for stopping by! =)

  9. Hi! I am a first grade teacher looking forward to beginning my second year in first grade! I want to use the daily 5 in my classroom, but have struggled with how to incorporate it while using curriculum that our school uses. We are purchasing a new writing curriculum and will probably base our reading units on the type of writing that we are focusing on. How does your writing block work with the daily 5? Does each child write everyday?

  10. Thank you for sharing this. I'm in my first year of teaching in first grade, and I am struggling with my Literacy Stations right now, and this is extremely helpful. Thank you so much.

  11. Great post! I am transitioning back to the regular classroom after 9 years as an art teacher. I will be an ELA 2nd grade teacher next year. I really love your smart board chart. Can you share any more information? Thanks.


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