September 4, 2022


For a long time, I didn’t do literacy centers or rotational groups because I found it challenging to find engaging small group rotation ideas. I was a firm
believer of whole class teaching and just the thought of having three, four or more literacy activities going at the same time made me feel a tad uneasy!
How about behavior management, would students use the allotted time wisely and learning effectively, how about the planning and organizational side of things? These days though, it’s a different story altogether…I’m a convert and a strong advocate of rotational small group learning!
My currently class seating plan is six groups. You many think that six groups is too many for rotational activities but when you spread them across two days, it’s the most effective way to plan. My kids love the variety of tasks and are so used to the established routines that they get to work immediately and remain engaged.
So how do I run my groups? First and foremost, we practice each activity as a whole class. This is an important step because the purpose of successful literacy rotations is that students are able work independently as the teacher is working with the guided reading group. Another important step is that there is a variety of activities on offer. This ensures that your students remain on task and stay with their group until the timer goes off or when the teacher says it’s ‘time to rotate in a clockwise direction’ (yep, keep it simple and throw in some math when you can!)

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Write the Room: This is a great way to start! A movement-based literacy activity that you can use at the beginning of the year or all year round…simply switch the focus. So what is exactly is write the room and how does it help to teach writing to kindergarten and the early years? Students literally ‘walk and write the room’ searching for words to write on either a mini-whiteboard or response sheet. Words are located on classroom environmental print – for example: the word wall, bulletin boards, posters, signage, labels etc. Provide your students with a specific targeted teaching focus – eg: Today’s ‘write the room’ focus is searching for words that have the /oa/ sound.’
Engaging vocabulary activities
Sight Words: In order for children to become fluent and expressive readers, they will need to visually recognize sight words as they cannot be phonetically sounded out. Sight words make up over 50% of the text, so it makes sense that daily and visual exposure is provided to our young writers.
Our students needs more than a sight word bulletin board, they require a ‘hands on’ Lev Vygotsky constructivist approach to building their knowledge of identifying and recognizing sight words. Kaboom sight word games provide exactly that and what’s more, this game is engaging, effective and never ending- which makes it ideal for sight word centers!
editable sight word games
Editable sight word games for literacy centers
Sentence Building: Now we come to sentence building activities..super fun for literacy rotation activities! This is where our students apply their literacy learning in an interactive way. Provide early childhood students from kindergarten, first grade and second grade with ample opportunities of building well structured sentences that are grammatically correct with capitalization and punctuation in all the right places. Start from simple sentences, then progress to compound, complex and then paragraph writing.
sentence building activities
Ideal sentence building activities for literacy centers


Why is grammar important? Why are students leaving school without a strong grammatical knowledge?
Grammar is an abstract concept and quite complex. Our elementary students need lots of grammar practice in identifying parts of speech and sentences. What is a noun? What is a verb, adjective, adverb etc.
Grammar is a progression of learning that requires a scope and sequence, so our students can continually build upon this knowledge in the aim of becoming proficient writers.
Grammar needs to be taught explicitly as a whole class, in small groups led by the teacher with a targeted learning objective, independent worksheets and card games, such as matching contractions, prefixes and suffixes, base words, singular and plural, nouns, verbs and adjectives.


Writing is challenging at the best of times, particularly for our young elementary students who are often faced with a blank sheet of lined paper and asked to write!
If not taught effectively, writing pretty quickly becomes a cognitive overload! The young writer’s brain has to think of an idea, focus on capitalization, punctuation, spelling accuracy, forming well structured sentences, neatness, legibility and so on.
As educators, we can in fact ease this cognitive overload by providing effective writing scaffolds which include engaging writing prompts and a visual check-list embedded on the actual writing worksheet and preferably some topic-specific vocabulary. It’s also important to clarify to our young writers, that when they are in the process of writing, they do not need to worry about spelling, grammar or punctuation accuracy. That all happens in the editing stage. I believe it is essential though, that students are reminded at every 10 or 15 minutes intervals (depending on their age), to put pencils down and re-read what they have written. This is a crucial part of avoiding writer’s block, as often students re-read their written work and then add to to their writing.
How to avoid writer’s block? Ask your students to simply ask themselves the 5W questions of who, what, when, where, why (and how) to move their recount or narrative along. It is an excellent strategy particularly for young writers to develop fluency when writing.

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creative writing prompts for 1st graders
Suffice to say, I am now sold on literacy rotation activities! I hope this post has provided you with a wide range of engaging small group rotation ideas that you can incorporate into easy literacy centers for 2nd grade.
To read about how to make create easy literacy centers for 2nd grade through narrative writing activities, click here.
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Welcome to teacherinspo123...a place of inspiration, teaching tips and strategies! I am an elementary teacher who enjoys teaching and creating fun core-aligned resources that engage young learners. I love spending time with family, baking choc chip muffins and taking long walks on the beach. Read More

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