How to Make a Library Literacy Center in Kindergarten


Literacy centers make up the huge portion of my 90 minute reading block. If you’ve read any of my thoughts on kindergarten literacy or kindergarten reading centers then you know that I only use centers with very little maintenance or upkeep.

One of the first centers I implemented is the classic library center. I say “classic” since you’ll find one in almost every kindergarten classroom. This center takes a little setup, organization and expectations.

What is a Library Center

A library center is a center in which students read and are exposed to a wide variety of trade books. There is a great variety of reading levels included in the materials at hand and usually includes both fiction and non-fiction.

library literacy center - KindergartenWorks

I love that this center increases their exposure to lots of books in addition to our other reading centers – the nonfiction, big book, poetry and retell center.

Library Center Setup

Create a Cozy Space

A key to creating a reading center that encourages the love of reading and developing sustained reading behaviors is to make the space in which students read inviting.

Create a “cozy” space for students to enjoy books.

Whatever the classroom space you have, choose a corner or use a bookshelf to create an “L” shaped nook in which students can be “surrounded” by books to read from.

library literacy center - KindergartenWorks

I like to use bean bags as my seating options to allow each student to sink in and read. I also have pillows and a carpet to make the space more comfortable and flexible. Students can lay on their stomachs to read with a pillow propping up their chests or simply lay on the carpet with a pillow if they choose not to use the bean bags.

I’ve also found that students will use little corners to read in, so I always try to leave one or two open for those purposes.

For some, they crave that quiet, independent space in an otherwise active classroom.

Have an Organization System

When you give kindergarten students access to tons of books, having an organization system in place is important to a teacher’s sanity. {Seriously}

Labeling books with pictures, icons or colors helps students be successful in returning books back to their bins or baskets helping keep your library center looking great.

I like to use a label on my book baskets and then matching mini-labels on each book to keep things organized. Here are my 53 labels free for the downloading.

library literacy center - KindergartenWorks

53 Book and Basket Labels by Theme

Keep it Fresh

One piece of help that I’d offer to any kindergarten teacher is to keep the selection of books fresh.

No matter the number of categories you have in your classroom, only place a defined number out at any one time. For example, I store my extra categories in my closet when they are not in use.

Whenever it suits me {or I remember to} I will rotate out 2-3 baskets of books and therefore the categories keeps the readers from ever feeling bored.

It only takes a little change to keep kinders engaged.

Read more: How to Easily Change Out Library Center Books

Library Center Expectations

I’ve never had too much difficulty keeping kindergartners interested in books. They are inherently engaged by a variety of books, topics and I love that about teaching kinders!

When they can grow from just looking at pictures, to spying sight words, to intentionally looking at print while reading – the benefits are all there.

Having said that, I still am that kind of teacher that creates a “hook” for those that need it.

library literacy center - KindergartenWorks

I have a poster that is posted in the library center. It is a picture visual for students to see that they have a choice in how they want to use the library center. They have two options.

They can either read to a “buddy” or read to a partner. We keep a basket of cool, stuffed animals that make great reading buddies.

We also can read with another student and partner up. I find this usually happens with a really high reader and a much more inexperienced reader and makes their time spent reading incredibly valuable.

The combination of choice of activity (in addition to just reading by yourself) and hook of having animals to read to makes this a successful center.

library literacy center - KindergartenWorks

Library Center Standards

This center helps me provide many opportunities for my students to practice and meet these Common Core Standards:

  • K.RF.3 – Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis in decoding words.
  • K.RF.4 – Read emergent-reader texts with purpose and understanding.
  • K.RI.10 – Actively engage in group reading activities with purpose and understanding.
  • K.RL.10 – Actively engage in group reading activities with purpose and understanding.
  • K.SL.1.g – Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about kindergarten topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.

Do you want the standards based poster that I use in my classroom? I’ve got it available to download in this center poster pack.

If you like what I do here on KindergartenWorks, then be sure to subscribe today. I look forward to sharing ideas with you weekly.

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One Comment

  1. Hi! I love your ideas about your Library Center! The teacher in my son’s Kindergarten class had her husband build an area that looked like the side of a boat for her reading center! It was fun! I’ve just become a subscriber but I haven’t recieved an email yet…I hope it went through. I am hosting a Jan Brett Book giveaway on my blog…check it out…

    Little Nippers

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