Science of Reading Centers in Kindergarten

Setting up Science of Reading centers in Kindergarten is made simple with these teacher tips and ideas! Keep reading to learn more about how to create easy-to-manage and meaningful centers in your classroom.

If you’re looking for ideas to create literacy centers that support the research on how students best learn to read, then you’ve come to the right place!

Check out all more Science of Reading articles here!

This article works well with these Simply Kinder Resources:

SoR-Aligned Instruction

The research clearly shows that students learn to read with explicit and systematic instruction in phonics, decoding, blending, and reading principles. Focus whole group and small group instruction on teaching foundational reading skills to all students!

Lessons should follow a gradual release with the “We do, You do, I do” model to slowly guide students towards independence.

The goal of centers is to reinforce skills that were already explicitly taught and students can confidently engage in meaningful activities to practice them.

Research shows that teacher-guided instruction is best and limiting independent seatwork is the goal.

“Studies report that kids are less likely to be engaged in learning when working on their own (Cohen, 1994; Cowen, 2016; Gump, 1967; Kouno, 1970); and amount of seatwork has been found to be negatively related to learning (Seifert & Beck, 1984).

One study even reported that the best readers did reasonably well with seatwork and other independent activities, but lower readers learned substantially less from such activities (Connor, Morrison, & Petrella, 2004). They needed the teacher time.” – Excerpt from Shannon on Literacy blog here

But creating independent centers is important, so what should students be doing?

Literacy Centers Aligned to the Science of Reading

Students should be engaging in meaningful and hands-on activities that reinforce the skills taught in whole group or small groups.

Write the Rooms

Alphabet Write the Rooms are such a fun way to get students moving and engaged with literacy skills during centers. Whether you are having your students identify first sounds, our Alphabet Write the Room are made with the SoR in mind. All of the words included on these lists are words that students will most likely learn to decode in Kindergarten focusing first on CVC words with a sprinkling of CVCe words and digraphs when needed. Explicitly teaching these words with the help of these decodable alphabet posters available exclusively in Simply Kinder + here will help your students do this center independently during centers. Set-up the write the rooms so students can decode alone or with a partner. The vowels are medial sounds which are much easier to align with the true short sound.

Check out all of the Write the Rooms inside Simply Kinder + here (these are an exclusive resource available as an instant download for all members!)

Word Mapping Center

Word Mapping: Students can independently or with a partner practice orthographically mapping out words that have already been explicitly taught to them.

What is orthographic mapping? According to David Kilpatrick, “the mental process we use to permanently store words for immediate, effortless retrieval. It is the process we use to take an unfamiliar printed word and turn it into an immediately recognizable word.”

During the lesson on CVC words, the teachers model how to segment, map, and say the sound of phonemes for the sample words. Then, during centers students can practice similar CVC words by saying them, tapping the sounds, moving counters to represent the sounds, graphing it, and writing it! A hands-on way to move words into long-term memory!

Use the seasonal word mapping bundle here to easily create this center! Learn more about word mapping and get a free sample here.

Decoding Words Center

Students can also practice decoding words that have already been practiced and taught whole group or in small groups.

Teachers can easily prep several activities from the Decodable Readers and Word Work Bundle beforehand so students can work with a partner or independently following a lesson.

For example, in a small group students decode, segment, and blend short a words by reading Nat the Bat with a teacher. Students receive explicit instruction on short a sounds, words, and have an opportunity to practice reading short a words correctly.

Then, as a center students play Four in a Row with a partner to practice decoding short a words in a meaningful and engaging activity!

Or students can re-read the decodable book, complete the interactive activities in Seesaw, and even record themselves reading it aloud! Yes, each reader comes with preloaded Seesaw activities for easy prep centers!

More Science of Reading Centers in Kindergarten

Bubble Pop Centers

Another great way to practice phonemes and blending are with bubble pop centers! Students can actively practice key reading skills with hands-on tools! The bundle includes centers for the alphabet, syllables, phonemes, and more!

Multisensory Sight Words

Students can also practice sight words with multisensory activities focused on sounding out the words and not memorization. So put away those flash cards and use these ideas instead:

  • Write them in craft sand
  • Sensory sand stamps
  • Write it on Mesh Embroidery Sheets
  • Felt Tracing Sight Words
  • Play dough writing
  • Sensory Bag Sight Words
  • Leather Sight Words
  • Craft Bead Sight Words

Read more ideas here! Most importantly students are breaking down the word into decodable parts and moving them into their long-term memory!

Other center ideas:

Science of Reading Centers in Kindergarten Tips:

  • Centers should reinforce skills already explicitly taught and understood to students. These should be independent activities your students can be successful at.
  • Research shows that student independent work time should be limited and controlled with meaningful activities.
  • Teachers should frequently check in with students at centers.
  • Rotate centers and activities based on skills taught and independent skills of students (do not add cutting activities if students are struggling with scissors skills).
  • Science of Reading research strongly agrees that reading the pictures, using flashcards to memorize words, or guessing words in books does not create strong readers. Keep this in mind when creating your centers!

What are your Science of Reading centers ideas? Share inside the Simply Kinder Teachers Group Here!

At Simply Kinder we work together to bring you ready-to-use resources to partner with great teaching for any curriculum, a Facebook community where teachers talk all things Kindergarten, and low-prep learning ideas that your students will love. Be sure to stay up to date with all things kindergarten on InstagramFacebookPinterest, and through email. Simply Kinder: where teaching Kinder is definitely better together!

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