Get your students exploring non-fiction books in a literacy center. Here is an ocean-themed literacy center activity set so you can try this center in your classroom.
This ocean life non-fiction set of activities is just one of the topics I made available to my students at my non-fiction literacy center.
Let's look at what the non-fiction literacy center is, what materials you'll need, and how to put these materials together to make your own ocean-themed literacy center activity set.
What is the non-fiction literacy center?
The non-fiction literacy center is all about exploring non-fiction with meaning. Students become familiar with features of non-fiction through lots of exposure and explore a variety of topics - and in this case here - with learning about the ocean, ocean creatures, and aquatic plants.
Connecting with non-fiction books is done with a few simple activities and lots of books.
Normally I have a few topics available at a time and can rotate them out throughout the year.
Continue reading: All about the non-fiction literacy center >>
Let me break down what materials you'll need to make this activity set for you.
The materials needed to make this literacy center activity set are:
- Non-fiction books about the ocean, ocean creatures, aquatic plants, etc.
- Ocean-related manipulatives
- Shoe bin or plastic tote/bucket/basket
- Scrap paper or notebook
- A piece of black construction paper
- *Optional: binder
Your bin, basket or tote will hold everything - so pick a size that can accommodate your books and materials.
Students can carry the entire bucket to where they will be working. That way they can put it all right back in the bucket when it's clean up time!
The binder, while optional, can be a place to keep all of the activity set pieces together for easy cleanup.
Print a label to go on your binder and your basket to help students clean up successfully. You know I've got labels for you in the free download, right?!?
Get ocean-themed informational books for kindergarten
Pick a good number of non-fiction books from your classroom stash, garage sale finds, or thrift stores.
Go for a number that isn't overwhelming to clean up but still offers variety on the topic.
- with concepts age-appropriate for kindergarten
- with good vocabulary
- some books with photographs and some with illustrations
- some that feature different non-fiction characteristics like labels, diagrams, etc.
Don't worry about the reading level. Having only kindergarten-level reading material is definitely not the goal here.
The goal is to connect students with non-fiction books - they already have an innate love for non-fiction. If you can offer a variety of reading levels, that's a bonus.
Looking for some book ideas? Here are some affiliate books on Amazon to help get you thinking about what you might already have on hand in your classroom or titles to keep your eyes out for at your local thrift store and garage sales.
Then organize them.
Print a set of tiny book labels I've made for you. Cover the label with a small piece of tape in the top corner and you're set to go.
Let students simply read at this center. Often times students will get so engaged in reading information books that they don't need the activity sets.
They really are a hook to help engage and a bridge for those who need it. Not every topic will engage every student in the same way.
By offering a variety of books and related activities, you're still getting kids to explore non-fiction books.
Make activity sets
There are four activities students can do with this themed set - in addition to simply reading the collection of books you have.
First, print and laminate the sorting mat. Students can sort objects into two categories: sea animals and sea plants.
I highly recommend digging around your classroom for some real manipulatives, but you can always make some too.
I had a random collection of ocean animal cards, shells a finger puppet squid and some plastic ocean animals. You could print free ocean creature cards too.
Students can look for these matching objects in the books.
You might need a container of some kind to hold all of the sorting pieces (Something like a pencil zipper pocket, a zippered cosmetics bag or something like that.) Then put a label on the container.
If you use a binder, then a zipper pencil pouch with three-ring holes facing the sorting mat will keep everything together.
Laptop vocabulary typing
Fold a 12x18" piece of black construction paper in half. Print and glue a laptop screen and keyboard onto the paper. Laminate and crease it so that it folds up like a laptop.
Students prop up the back of the laptop and work. Encourage students to type the words onto their pretend keyboard and look for them in books.
Add a label onto the back of the laptop like a computer logo.
If you're using a binder, you can three-hole punch it and it can work without being taken out.
Print a little I-Spy word window. Cut out the rectangle box and laminate.
This little finder helps students stay on task as they look for vocabulary words in the books they read.
They can even check off what they find with a dry-erase marker.
Or you can print these on scrap paper and students can write their name in the rectangle and circle or color the words they find. Encourage them to share what the words are - if they figured it out using the books.
Add a notebook and let students copy words they find, write questions, or bring the information they've learned to share with the class. If you use a notebook, simply add a label to the front.
I've also included a half-sheet writing template you can print on scrap paper for the same purpose.
Get the download
Grab your free download to print the labels and activity set pieces to go with your ocean-themed non-fiction books.
Let's wrap it up
There you have it - an ocean life-themed literacy center activity set to get you started on your own non-fiction literacy center.
You can start your own non-fiction literacy center with this activity set PLUS there are 13 more activity sets you can download!
This center is just one of 15 literacy center ideas for kindergarten that lasts for the entire year.
If you like what I do here on KindergartenWorks, then be sure to subscribe today. I look forward to sharing ideas with you weekly.
More Literacy Centers
- Detective Literacy Center – read and write the room
- 5 Things You Won't Hate About Year-Long Literacy Centers
- Playdough Word Work Center