This semester students in READ 6310 were asked to contribute a post to this blog.
Teaching in the classroom for five years has made me realize and appreciate the value of Literacy Centers. Literacy Centers are composed of flexible small groups, giving them all the opportunity to learn at their own pace. These centers play an enormous learning resource in my classroom because it gives me the opportunity to reach out to all my students with different learning techniques. It is important to keep all Literacy Centers in your classroom as friendly and flexible as possible being that students IEP’s change from time to time.
As a Kindergarten Teacher, most of my Reading instruction is taught through Literacy Centers. Literacy Centers may not seem the easiest thing to do at first, but after giving it some thought and well preparing for it, you will realize that they are great for reinforcement and mastery of any skill learned. Students in my classroom not only enjoy learning with their peers during centers but also benefit through this wonderful approach. These centers provide a wide range of learning opportunities and gives the students some ownership to their work and their independence at the centers. It is important to set clear expectations for every center and hold the students accountable to their behavior and work.
As I mentioned earlier, implementing Literacy Centers has been one of the best things I have been able to incorporate in my classroom. However, it is crucial to plan ahead and study your students before grouping them with their learning partners. My students are grouped heterogeneously using data and teacher observation. By grouping them accordingly allows each leaning group to have students with various abilities which ensures that one student can seek for help within his group if he finds a skill too difficult for him.
During the ninety minute literacy centers, I am able to call upon my own small group instruction which are called upon homogeneously. This allows me to individualize my instruction to a small group of students who are struggling with the same or similar skill in order to reinforce and help them master it. Literacy Centers allow me to introduce or reinforce a specific skill independently and allows me to individualize instruction to my small group. This gives everyone the opportunity to learn at their own pace such as learning the alphabet, reinforcing sight words, learning how to read or working on comprehension skill.
Literacy Centers not only benefit the teachers but most importantly our students. It is they who benefit from working at their own rate, work independently, are encouraged to try new things and allow them to take ownership to their expectations and responsibilities.