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Literacy centers are a crucial component of any reading block. This is when students get a chance to practice the skills they learned during whole-group instruction. More importantly, literacy stations give you the opportunity to meet with your small groups for targeted instruction. However, as a dual-language teacher, I often struggled to find ideas and resources for center time. I wanted my literacy centers in Spanish to be…
💗 easy to set up
💗 straight forward
💗 highly engaging
After a lot of trial and error, I was finally able to come up with some awesome literacy centers in Spanish that check all those boxes.
What are literacy centers?
I know most of you are probably very familiar with literacy centers, but I want to review for just a second what literacy centers should and should not be.
Literacy centers are activities our students engage in independently or with a partner to practice some of the literacy skills we have been learning during our whole-group instruction. This is not a time to just keep students busy. We want kids to be engaged in meaningful activities that are exciting and deepen their understanding of the concepts they have been learning in class.
Benefits of literacy centers
Independent and partner practice
Literacy centers give students the opportunity to put their knowledge into practice. We are spending all this time teaching a variety of literacy skills to our students. Our center time is when students will get to apply those skills either independently or with a partner.
Time for small-group instruction
It is no surprise that in a classroom with 20+ kids, there are a variety of needs that must be met. I always find that my students make the most significant growth during small-group instruction. This is the time when I get to work with them at their level and address those specific things that are keeping them from growing as readers. But as amazing as small-group instruction is, it can only happen if the rest of the class is also involved in a meaningful task that is helping them develop as readers as well.
As a teacher, I must find meaningful ways to keep all my learners engaged, so that my small-group instruction can be successful. And this is why quality literacy centers in Spanish are a crucial part of my literacy block.
I truly believe that one of our jobs as upper elementary teachers is to teach our students to be more independent. Centers are a great way to do that. I love to give my students choices during stations. They literally choose which station they want to visit every day. All it takes is some practice at the beginning of the year to teach them how to choose their stations responsibly.
My students leave my classroom at the end of the year so much more independent than when they first come in. I truly believe that the time they spend in our literacy stations is a big reason why.
Literacy centers upper elementary
As upper elementary teachers, we can have a lot of freedom with the activities we select for our stations. Our students are a little bit older and able to handle a lot more responsibility.
As a general rule, I choose stations that don’t require a lot of work on my part. I teach my students to choose “just right” books and passages that they use in each station to complete their work. I never tell my students what to read when they go to a station.
So even though the stations don’t change very often, the text changes every time. Even if they are practicing the same skills, they are always applying that to a new text, which is exactly what we want students to do.
Managing literacy centers can be a lot of work. But by putting more responsibility on my students, I am now free to focus on my small groups.
Best literacy centers in Spanish
Over the years, as a dual-language teacher, I have had to come up with ideas for literacy centers in Spanish. I spent a lot of time researching different options, but I was always coming up short. It took a lot of trial and error, but I feel like I have finally been able to create literacy centers in Spanish that meet the needs of my students and are easy to manage. Here are my five favorite ideas.
Reading response menus
I am starting with this station because it is probably my favorite. This literacy center in Spanish gives my students an opportunity to practice responding to text in Spanish while still providing choice.
How to use reading response menus
Begin by modeling to students how to craft a reading response in Spanish. This is going to require some practice before you allow students to work independently. But once they know what the expectations are, they will be all set.
I like to create anchor charts with examples of good reading responses. I also include sentence stems that my students can use as references when they are writing.
The best part about reading response menus is that students can choose which question they want to answer. If you are creating your own reading response menus from scratch, make sure to offer a variety of options that span multiple skills. That way, no matter where your students are in their reading, they can find something to write about.
I love to use games in the classroom because nothing is more engaging for students. Over the years, I have tried different types of games, from task cards to online tools. However, nothing has been as successful in my classroom as these reading board games.
My students love these board games because they are so much fun! I love them because I can leave them out all year long. I’m not kidding! Because these games have genre-specific open-ended questions, every time my students bring a different text to this station, they are essentially playing a whole new game. And since I don’t tell my student what to read, I never have to worry about it.
These literacy centers in Spanish are easy to set up and highly engaging. I have two different types of games – traditional board games and tic-tac-toe games. Both are available for fiction, informational, poetry, and biography in English and Spanish.
In my classroom, my students often use classroom magazines to play these reading board games. I wrote an entire blog post with my favorite classroom magazines in English and Spanish. You can check that out by clicking here.
Grammar scavenger hunt
The last literacy center in Spanish that I want to mention is a grammar scavenger hunt. In my classroom, we did this activity digitally using Seesaw, but it could also be done on paper.
Every few weeks, I would digitally assign a scavenger hunt board to my students through Seesaw. Each box on the scavenger hunt required students to find examples of something we had learned during our grammar classes. This was a great way to give my students an opportunity to see the grammar skills in action.
To complete the scavenger hunt boards, students would look for examples of each skill in a book they were reading during independent reading time. As they found examples of each skill, they would use their iPads to take a picture of it and size it to fit inside each box on the scavenger hunt board. Some questions also asked them to label the pictures, which they could easily do using the drawing and text tools on Seesaw. Whenever they finished the board, they would submit it digitally.
Because I know you are going to love this activity, I have decided to include it here for you as a FREEBIE. This freebie includes three scavenger hunt boards in English and Spanish – printable and digital, including Google slides and Seesaw activities. I have also included directions to help you along the way. This is an amazing FREE resource that your students will absolutely love.
There you have it…
…my three favorite literacy centers in Spanish for upper elementary students. I hope this blog post gave you some ideas of literacy centers in Spanish that you can implement in your own classroom.