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Teaching Reading: K-2 Workshop

Creating a Literate Community Put It Into Practice | Creating a Literate Community

Choose Activities

In this section, you will apply what you have learned to your own teaching. The three activities are designed to assist you in developing resources for your word study instruction. Choose one or more from the list below to practice in your classroom.

Activity #1

Add Literacy Routines

Develop additional literacy routines to use with your classroom environment.

Activity #2

Create a Literacy Center

Design a new literacy center and a supporting classroom routine.

Activity #3

Create a Handbook

Collect literary resources for each workshop session in a Handbook for Effective Literacy Practices.

Add Literacy Routines

In this activity, you will add literacy routines to use with your current materials, print displays, and literacy centers.

Principles for Creating a Literate Community

  • Accessible reading material
  • Accessible writing material
  • Purposeful room and wall displays
  • Classroom routines

  1. Review the sketch you drew of your classroom and the Classroom Community Chart. Identify a part of your classroom environment you wish to use with another routine.
  2. Plan the additional routine for children to use during group or independent literacy time. Recall the four principles for creating an effective literate community to plan your changes.
  3. Repeat the steps with another part of your classroom environment. Add these new routines to the Classroom Community Chart.

When planning a new routine, consider:

  • How is the environment accessible to all children?
  • How do the new routines promote reading and writing?
  • How do the literacy routines address the needs of all of your students?
  • How will you teach your students to use the new routines?

Use these directions to help develop your new routines:

  • Develop reading and writing activities for group or independent work. How are these activities multi-level? How will children work together? What is your role in these activities? What is the child’s role?
  • Plan lessons to introduce the students to the new routine.
  • Incorporate the new routines into your daily schedule.

Assignment: Submit your ideas for additional routines that use your classroom environment.

Create a Literacy Center

In this activity, you will design a new literacy center for your classroom. You will then develop a routine for the center based on a theme (e.g. friendship), topic (e.g. winter), or genre (e.g. poetry) you plan to teach.

Principles for Planning Successful Learning Centers

  • Make decisions based on knowledge of children as readers and writers
  • Consider types of activities in which children will be independently engaged
  • Consider your state or district curricular expectations for literacy learning
  • Consider research about engagement and motivation
  • Consider guidelines for establishing children’s independent use of the center

Ford, M. P. and M. F. Opitz. Using Centers to Engage Children During Guided Reading Time: Intensifying Learning Experiences Away From the Teacher.

  1. Review the principles for creating successful literacy centers from the Using Centers to Engage Children article by Ford and Opitz.
  2. Identify where to create your center.
  3. Choose a theme, topic, or genre to teach at the center. Consider your current classroom environment and literacy routines that will further support children’s independent use of the center.

Use these directions to help design your new center:

  • Select books for read-aloud to introduce and explore your center topic.
  • Select stories, poems, magazines, and other print materials at various reading levels for children to read independently or with a partner.
  • Develop a list of words related to the theme.
  • Decide how to organize and display these literacy resources.
  • Collect writing materials for the children to use at the center.

Use these directions to help develop new routines to use with the center:

  • Develop reading and writing activities to develop the theme for small group or independent work. Are these activities multi-level? How will children work together? What is your role in these activities? What is the child’s role?
  • Make a list of directions explaining how students should use the center.
  • Plan one or more lessons to teach students how to use the center.
  • Create a procedure for students to indicate their participation in the center.
  • List other daily routines to use with the center.

Assignment: Submit the final design for your literacy center, and plans for the routines it will support.

Create a Handbook

In this ongoing activity, you will collect literacy resources in a Handbook for Effective Literacy Practices to use in your classroom.

Today, you will create a section for your classroom environment and literacy routines. Include resources you already use, and plan to use in the future. Place them in the section for Creating a Literate Community. You may want to include:


Do this activity with your colleagues to create the most comprehensive collection of resources and instructional plans.

  • themes throughout the year
  • lists of books categorized by topics, genres, or themes you teach
  • lists of books categorized by reading level
  • lists of related print materials to display in the room (word walls, charts, poems, student work, etc.)
  • classroom arrangements for reading, writing, listening, and speaking: whole-class, small-group, and independent areas (include a sketch of your classroom)
  • daily routines for Morning Work or Morning Jobs
  • activities for independent/small-group work (work boards, activity charts, etc.)
  • other materials, curriculum topics, or classroom routines that support literacy learning

Review the contents of the handbook for how well they correlate to the principles of Dr. Paratore’s lecture and the readings.

Assignment: Submit a copy of your completed handbook at the end of the workshop series.

Wrap Up: Reflect on Your Learning

In this section, you will review and revise your notes on creating a literate community.

Review your notes from this session. Return to the classroom sketch you made at the beginning of the session. In another color ink, add changes you would like to make to your literate classroom environment and routines.

  • Are the changes related to your classroom environment or literacy routines?
  • Why are you making these changes?
  • How will they support every child’s progress in learning to read and write?

Use the revised classroom sketch and questions above to reflect on the ideas presented in this session. In a paragraph, explain how they will enhance your classroom environment and literacy routines.

Assignment: Submit your written reflection.

Series Directory

Teaching Reading: K-2 Workshop


Produced by WGBH Educational Foundation. 2003.
  • ISBN: ISBN: 1-57680-681-2