Literacy Teaching Ideas

This semester students in READ 6310 were asked to contribute a post to this blog.

By Missy

When I think of literacy, as a first grade teacher the first things that pop into my mind are: decoding, story telling, writing, synonyms, verbs, nouns, adjectives, sight words, vocabulary,  poetry, reading (independently, paired reading, echo reading),  story mapping, reading strategies, sequencing, and of course, books, books, and more books.  These are just a few of the things that are covered in first grade.  Luckily, we live in the 21st century where ideas for literacy activities are just a click of your computer mouse away.  I wanted to give insight on some of the activities that I found extremely useful in my classroom to help promote literacy and to make it fun at the same time:

  • Diagraph Bingo:  Diagraph Bingo is where you use bingo cards with pictures that contain the sh, th, wh, st, ts, mp, etc.  The teacher calls out words with any of the pictures and students need to match the sounds they hear with the word.  This bingo game can also work with initial and final sound as well.
  • Verbs Relay: Verbs Relay is a list of verbs written on index cards.  The student will go down the list of verbs to name as many verbs as possible in a minute.  Another way to play is to allow student to use a jump rope.  They jump and say verbs and do so continuously without stop.  While jumping, another student makes a tally of all the different verbs they say and makes sure the verbs are not repeated.  This can also be used for nouns and adjectives.
  • Reading to Draw: My students enjoy this activity because they get to use markers and crayons and plus they love to draw.  You will need index cards and drawing material. The first thing you do in this activity is to write explicit directions about what you want the student to draw using colors, numbers, and shapes. Students must follow directions to make their drawing.
  • Partner Reading: Have students follow these simple rules when partner reading.
    1. Choose a partner.
    2. Choose a quiet place for you and your partner to sit and read.
    3. Take turns reading. When your partner is reading pay close attention, listen to how fluent your partner is reading.
    4. After you have finished reading answer the questions together.
  • Comic Strip Story: After reading a story (this can be individually or in partners), visualize what is happening and pay close attention to what is happening.  Choose 3-6 important parts of the story. Draw and color your pictures.  Make speech bubbles and add text to your drawings to make a short version of the story you read. Be sure to add a beginning, middle, and end.
  • Listen to a Reading: Have students listen to a recording of a story and follow along with the book. They should listen for intonation, fluency, and prosody.  You can record your own voice or use an audio cassette. 
  • Write a LetterWrite a letter for a friend using capitalization, organization, punctuation and spelling. Your letter should include a date, greeting, body and closing.

These activities have come in handy when teaching literacy and literacy centers in my classroom.  There are many different ideas to use, but for me and my classroom these have worked extremely well. Many of the ideas I have come across have been from friends, co-workers and from the internet.   I hope these ideas can be of help to you too and maybe you can add your own little twist and make it your own.  Below I added a few websites that I found the most effective.…literacy-center-ideas-first-grade.html…/internet_activities/g1/1_lit.htm

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