Why I Don’t Switch Out My Literacy Centers Every Week (And What I Do Instead!)

We all know that changing out materials for literacy centers is essential.

Introducing new materials helps keep the kids engaged. AND it gives them practice with different skills as we move through the school year.

However, we have to think carefully about:

  • How often to switch out materials
  • How and when to teach students to use the new materials
  • How many centers to replace each week

For a while, I switched out my centers every week. Every Friday afternoon or Monday morning, I’d replace (some of) my centers materials. Before the kids went to centers on Monday, I explained all of the activities so they’d know what to do.

This routine worked fine for me in terms of my own organization and planning.

However, it didn’t work great for my kids. I always felt like I was losing them when I explained the centers activities on Monday. Even if they were familiar with some of or all of the activities, it was just a LOT to throw at them all at once.

Do you ever feel the same way? If so, keep reading! In this post, I’ll share a simple alternative to switching out your literacy centers at the beginning of each week!

Instead of changing out my centers weekly, I use a different approach. It’s made ALL the difference with my students! Read the post to learn about it and get a freebie.

Photo Credits:  Katerina Graghine, Shutterstock

I thought it’d be best if I explained my system in a video. Click “play” below to watch!

The Recap

Instead of introducing multiple new centers at the beginning of each week, I designate one day of the week for each center.

For example…

  • Monday = partner reading center
  • Tuesday = word work center
  • Wednesday = independent reading center
  • Thursday = writing center
  • Friday = listening center

If you have more than 5 centers, you can assign more than one center to each day.

Then, on that center’s designated day, you can do one of two things:

  • Introduce a new activity (or a variation of a pre-existing activity)
  • Re-teach a procedure or teach a troubleshooting lesson to help students overcome a challenge you’ve noticed them having in that center

This strategy has helped my students and me by:

  • Preventing “information overload,” since only one activity is introduced or reviewed at a time
  • Giving students something new to look forward to EVERY day
  • Ensuring that we have time for re-teaching procedures and expectations when the need arises (and we all know the need WILL arise! ;-))

Of course, you can still prep all of your centers for the next week on Thursday, Friday, or the weekend before. You just wait to introduce certain materials rather than putting everything out on Monday.

Pretty simple, right?

If you’d like to use the planning calendar I showed in the video, click on the image below to sign up for it via email. I’ll also let you know about future literacy centers posts, freebies, and workshops!

Instead of changing out my centers weekly, I use a different approach. It’s made ALL the difference with my students! Read the post to learn about it and get a freebie.

AND one last thing — In last week’s post, I described another important change I made to improve student engagement and learning in centers. If you haven’t read it yet, click HERE.

Happy teaching!

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4 Responses to Why I Don’t Switch Out My Literacy Centers Every Week (And What I Do Instead!)

  1. I love this idea, but in my class my students only go to one center/station a day. Do your students go to every center everyday?

    • Hi Pam! They go to 3 different centers a day, usually. I typically have about 6 centers, so they get through the centers every 2-3 days. 🙂

      Alison

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