Friday, August 14, 2009

Setting Up Your Centers

All of you are working hard getting ready for school(or a few of you may have already started). Think outside the box with a few ideas for incorporating literacy in every one of them.

1) Think incorporation/integration - not "lessons". Blackmasters and worksheets will come soon enough in elementary school. In the blocks center, for instance, enlarge copies of floor plans from real estate magazines, have copies of Architectural Digest or other construction/building magazines and model for your children how to search those for building and construction ideas. Include a hard hat and clip board so they can draw their own designs.

2) Don't forget writing. Instead of having a designated writing center, why not make a portable one that can move with the children. A shower caddy, metal paint bucket or peach basket (for those of us in the South) all work well. Stock it with writing utensils, letter stamps and patterns, plenty of paper (ask your families to contribute note cards they get as samples in the mail or those address labels from charities). Keep it in a prominent place and remind your children that it's available. Deliver it to centers at first to increase usage.

Be sure to join children from time to time in their writing attempts. Allow them to dictate captions for their art work, notes to Mom and Dad or a "I need to talk aloud to solve this problem" notes. All of these solidify in young children's minds the various authentic purposes for writing.

3) Think of the center where the least literacy is present. Ask yourself how you can infuse reading, writing, listening, communicating and viewing into that center. Feel free to share your ideas!

TLA, Inc. has a newly revised workshop on Literacy In Every Center. You can visit us at or email for details.

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