Centers are seriously my best friend. If you follow my blog, you know I love them in math and use them on a regular basis. Well, you may not know that I also really love using them in reading, too. I will be back soon to share with you my favorite reading centers for upper elementary. For now, let’s talk about some reasons for doing reading centers in upper elementary.
Allows students to practice and apply any new skills consistently
I don’t know about you but sometimes that “awesome” reading strategy I taught just doesn’t mesh well their Dairy of a Wimpy Book kids. Sometimes, you really just need to give the students a common text or texts to allow them to practice that strategy in a way that make sense. No forcing a strategy to work with every book or forcing all the students to read a certain type of book for their choice book. One of my go-to reading centers is definitely one that incorporates a reading passage that I have intentionally selected for the skill we are working on. Need some standards based passages? Click here to see some of my standards based passages available in my store.
Exposes the students to new content and genres they may not read themselves
One of my favorite reading centers is an informational center that ties in with our social studies and science content. I love having informational reading center because most of my students choose fiction books as their book of choice. Having an informational center (or other genre center) exposes the students to types of books they may not otherwise read themselves.
Allows students to collaborate in a structured format
Students love talking about the books they are reading. Stick a partner reading center in your daily reading centers and let those students share what they are reading with one another. You can have the students read their chosen book, a common text, or even just have them discuss their daily reading. I have a great partner game for getting the students to talk about their books that you can download for FREE right here.
Increases student engagement
This is huge for upper elementary students. Unfortunately, some students just can’t maintain engagement in their books without some type of collaboration or other activity that appeals to them. And let’s be real, when you have 30+ students in your classroom who have come to you with years of poor reading behaviors, you need to engage them in reading and you need to engage them quickly. Reading centers, particularly those that involve collaboration and choice, will instantly increase their engagement and even increase their enjoyment with reading.
Maximizes time on task and minimizes behavior problems
When students are asked to spend their entire independent reading time on one task (independent reading), some will waste that time by getting distracted or by talking to their peers (and not about what they are reading). If the students are participating in reading centers that allow them to still read but in a more engaging format, they will be on task for a much longer percentage of time. And everyone knows that the more a student spends on task, the less behavior problems occur.
Reading centers in upper elementary classrooms definitely don’t have to be complex or too much prep on the teacher. In fact, I have created some reading centers that my students love. They are minimal prep, student approved, and full of content. In fact, I have one for you today as your first planning present! This reading center is one of my new favorites. It has two paired passages with a game board full of text dependent questions. I recommend the students visit this center 2-3 times a week. The first few times they will need to focus on reading and discussing the passages. Then, they can dive into the game itself. I have also included an answer key so they can monitor their learning and understanding.
Click on the image below to grab this freebie to try out with your students today! Click here if you want to check out the entire set of paired passage centers!