FAQ: How do I begin literacy stations in my K-5 reading classroom?
ANSWER: Although the notion of literacy stations is for students to practice independently, you’ll want to first introduce them to a station they can all practice at the same time. For this, use the Classroom Library station (a.k.a. independent reading).
In the first days of school, give each student a book box with 6-12 texts that appeal to the interests of children this age. This container should have a mixture of fiction, informational text, picture books, magazines, graphic novels, or short chapter books, depending on the grade level.
Then, build an anchor chart with the students that explains that they can read the book in three ways: read pictures, read words, or retell the text.
Discuss the procedures of Classroom Library, including:
- Sit quietly looking at a book.
- Sit an arm’s length apart from another reader.
- Explicitly outline the expectations of what students will be doing during Classroom Library time.
- Identify appropriate places to sit. (You may sit on the floor in front of my desk. You may sit in your chair. You may NOT sit under the computer table because it is too dangerous with all of the wires. You may lean against the closet doors.)
After every student has been placed, then go over the anchor chart again. Have students practice the procedures for no more than 3 minutes. While watching the time, scan the room looking for students who are breaking procedure.
As soon as a student is off task, then reconvene the whole group. Praise the students for the amount of time they worked. You kept your eyes on the book and stayed in one spot for 1 minute and 15 seconds! Be excited for any length of time that the students worked. Then go over the expectations on the chart again, plunk students in different spots around the room, and try it again. Do several 3-minute trial runs the first days of school to gradually grow the stamina of the readers.
Roll out additional procedures within whole-class mini-lessons each day on additional topics. These may include:
- The role of the reader.
- The physical organization of the Classroom Library.
- The process for logging books read in a reader’s notebook (intermediate students).
Then follow each new procedure with student practice time, upping the minutes and building their stamina. Once Classroom Library is in place, repeat this entire process to introduce a second station (Fluency), a third station (Word Work), a fourth station (Listening Station), etc.