How to Make a Year-Long Big Book Literacy Center

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Literacy centers can greatly improve reading skills for kindergartners. This is how I organize, offer choice and set up a big book literacy center in my kindergarten classroom.

Part of my teaching philosophy {yeah, remember that boring class in college?} is working smart. Why didn’t they cover that in school?

How to make a big book literacy center - this is a grea tidea for kindergarten

I believe that you can set up a literacy center for an entire year and you won’t have to cut and print out stuff each week to make it fun, feel different and still make it differentiated.

Better yet, set it up smartly so that students can differentiate it for themselves.

Why have a big book center?

I’m not one of those teachers who keeps her big books hidden away from kindergarten hands, stashed away so they never get bent.

Nope, I put them right into the excited fingers of my students.

This way they can experience print in BIG proportions and get up close and personal with illustrations.

How to make a big book literacy center - this is a great idea for kindergarten and so easy

One of the most simple year-long centers that I have ever implemented into my classroom is the big book center.

Let me share why by rolling out how I make it successful, make it last all year long and the standards it covers.

How to make it successful

1. Offer choice

I offer students choice – which plays a big role in motivation over an entire year.

Students have the choice to read familiar big books that we’ve read as a class or books that are new to them. Often, students will gravitate towards familiar books until they grow stronger in their reading skills.

I also offer students choice in reading tools.

How to make a big book literacy center - Dollar store pointers and a utensil caddy - that makes pulling this center together easy!

These are simple little additions that encourage close-up exploration of print and text. These are tools similar to what we’d use in a guided reading group, just larger to fit the big text.

A variety of fun pointers – both large and small make reading and exploring print the cool thing to do.

Some of our favorite pointers include:

  • magnifying glasses
  • word windows (free paint chips from home improvement stores with holes cut out)
  • water blasters
  • dowel rods or paint stirrers with fun printable toppers like these below

Read more: 5 Ways to Make Fun Big Book Pointers

2. Make it organized

In order to make it worthy of taking up space all year long, it’s gotta be organized. Plus, having a place for everything makes it a snap for kinders to clean up.

We keep really tall pointers and reading tools nearby using a plastic bag caddy attached to the wall.

In our classroom, big books are organized onto two shelves. The blue book shelf container was made by my dad. It has a display ledge on the front and a toaster-like slot for books to go into for storage. We keep our familiar books in here for quick access.

If you make any class big books or have poems – add them to this center!

How to make a big book literacy center - I like the organization for this center. Seems easy enough!

The shelf underneath has the big books that we haven’t read yet or are just random big books I have.  It is amazing how many you can accumulate with garage sales, old curriculum adoptions and donations. {And by you – I mean me!}

So now you can partially see why I don’t mind students handling them. There are plenty to last me years. The favorites have to be repaired over time, but its worth it!

This shelf has a wooden base with 4 bookend-like dividers inside (spaced about 6 inches apart) in order to have so many big books housed standing upright.

How to make a big book literacy center - I could do this with my big books and have a center for the entire year

Prior to having these shelf spaces, I used a large laundry basket or storage container to house big books. It worked great too!

3. Have expectations

Having expectations will make your center run more smoothly. You can teach specific things and then hold your students accountable. It’s a simple but magic system of teaching responsibility {wink}

Post your expectations

I add a poster that explains the choices {if there are any} and expectations. I use a picture format to make it kinder-friendly.

How to make a big book literacy center - I could offer choices like this and make this an easy center!

This photo is a modified sample from my Literacy Center Poster Set. That way you can easily post expectations for your students too – simply print and you’re set to go!

You can see how students have 3 “choices” but funny how they are all reading and practicing reading skills. {Must have a pretty smart teacher to plan that, eh?}

Expect students to keep working

Students are expected to stay on task and read no matter what books they choose or tools. This ensure that they keep on working until the center time is up. It gives me a lot of flexibility while I’m working with groups and I’m less bound by the clock.

Teach them to pick a spot

They can also spread out onto the floor since reading a big books is much more comfortable this way. I purchased some “nap mats” during back to school sales at Walmart and these are for this center.

This allows my kinders to read anywhere in the room and gives this reading center its completely unique feeling.

How to make a big book literacy center - I love that kids can read anywhere. They love to read big books on the floor

What standards does this center meet?

I don’t shy away from being proud that my centers are standards-based. I think that you can make things age-appropriate, standards-based and still feel like fun for kindergartners.

No worksheets here!

This center helps us meet these Common Core Standards:

  • K.RF.1.a. Follow words from left to right, top to bottom, and page by page.
  • K.RF.1.b. Recognize that spoken words are represented in written language by specific sequences of letters.
  • K.RF.4 Read emergent-reader texts with purpose and understanding.
  • K.RI.5 Identify the front cover, back cover, and title page of a book.
  • K.RL.5 Recognize common types of texts (e.g., storybooks, poems).
  • K.RL.10a Use pictures and context to aid comprehension and to draw conclusions or make predictions about story content.

It is rewarding for me {as it is for them} to watch the progression go from looking at pictures to finding sight words, to really reading many parts of these books.

In my book, that’s BIG! {ha, get it?}

Would you believe that there are over 15 centers we have that last us all year long? I’m not kidding.

How to Create Smart Literacy Centers that Last All Year

You can do it too. It’s all about working smart!

More on Literacy Centers

This is one of the best ideas ever - How to make a big book literacy center in kindergarten - it's so easy!

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23 Comments

  1. I am looking for ideas how to make a big book of literacy for children….and I come to your blog. I really love your ideas. Thanks a lot….!

  2. Just found your blog and I love your ideas!!! I’m looking to combine Daily 5 with some more literacy centers and I really like the big book idea! Just wondering- how long do you run your centers? Do you allow your students to get multiple books during one center? I am currently in the process of teaching the Daily 5 “foundation lessons” and plan to teach them how to do your centers as well! Thanks for any help you can offer!

    1. Hi Jen,
      Yes, they can can get as many books out as they want during a center. It’s a free reading style of center. They pick a book, then return it when done and get another one. A center would last 15-25 minutes depending upon what I needed to accomplish with the small group I was pulling.
      Thanks and welcome!
      – Leslie

  3. Thanks Donna, Fran and the Peterson Family! I think the book study is going to be neat!

  4. Leslie,
    Congratulations on receiving an award. Your blog is absolutly excellent and i only wish you lived near me. I would need to be your BFF! You have such amazing organizational skills and thinking. Join me in our book study on Work Stations. I really value your ideas.
    [email protected]
    Love the pointers too!

  5. Ooh, I love the pointers. And creating some fun ones was on my “to do” list for the summer. Now I can cross that one off the list:)
    Thanks!

  6. Thanks for sharing! You have some fabulous resources, if you ever decide to share your centers things I would be your first costumer! I love that you are including the common core!!!! You are truly an inspiration!

  7. I loved reading this blog post! And I LOVE your big book shelf – do you think your Dad could put together some plans or instructions for my dad? I would buy this from you πŸ™‚ I have been serching for something similar for a long time πŸ™‚

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