Puppet Center – Reading Leveled Books in Kindergarten


Has it been short of forever since I shared about our literacy centers? Working smart is what I like to think I’m doing, when I share with you that my philosophy on bringing learning and playing together happens during literacy centers. I like to create centers that offer choice and keep repeating the same standards with different materials so each center feels unique.

In addition to my other reading centers: big book center, library center, poetry center, and listening center… we have the puppet center. No, my students aren’t performing plays. They are using the puppets to practice reading leveled texts/books that are on their independent reading levels. This center doesn’t get introduced until a bit into the year and we are actually modeling reading behaviors.
puppets - reading appropriate leveled texts in kindergarten KindergartenWorks

Offering Choice

Wouldn’t you know, that having a puppet on one hand does wonders for helping the body to focus on the task at hand! Eventually I notice that students take the puppets more as a buddy or begin to ignore they are there all together and just read. The puppets act as a reading buddy and offer the feeling of choice. Since they don’t get to choose the activity, they get to essentially choose their “materials.”

puppets - reading appropriate leveled texts in kindergarten KindergartenWorks


Many of the books are ones they have read with me in guided reading groups but I also place books that they haven’t read. I do not use individual book baskets. Honestly, this goes back to my teaching half-day experiences and how I couldn’t figure out storage for 50 kinders!

puppets - reading appropriate leveled texts in kindergarten KindergartenWorks

By simply having book baskets with a variety of books all grouped by their level and with some baskets showing a bit of range in levels, my kinders can challenge themselves without going into a frustration level.

Expectations and Standards

Each literacy center has a poster explaining the choices available to students and Common Core standards listed. This puppet center helps meet Common Core Standards:

  • K.RF.1 – Demonstrate understanding of the organization and basic features of print.
  • K.RF.3 – Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words.
  • K.RF.4 – Read emergent-reader texts with purpose and understanding.
  • K.RL.5 – Recognize common types of texts (e.g., storybooks, poems).
  • K.RL.7.b – Explain that illustrations support and extend the story

I’ve learned that by grouping books by level and not by only what they’ve read offers more choice in content and therefore we have higher levels of interest. They can read anywhere in the room. Take a puppet, your basket and go! It all goes back where it came from as soon as the clean up song comes on!

puppets - reading appropriate leveled texts in kindergarten KindergartenWorks

The kinders know where it all comes from since they can use the picture labels and labeled baskets to figure it out! This center’s poster, workboard icon and puppet labels are available in our Literacy Center Poster set.

puppets - reading appropriate leveled texts in kindergarten KindergartenWorks

Just one more way of tying learning and playing together in the name of increasing the time my kinders spend reading and giving them focus while doing it!

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  1. Hi Leslie! I’m not sure I quite understand your book organization. You have labels for your book baskets, but yet you said you group them as a variety by their level. I’m quite sure I’m missing something!! Can you help??

    1. Hi Kelley,
      Thanks for asking for clarification. There are 2 different book collections in my room. These easy readers are just for the puppet center and organized by reading levels. The others (the ones with the book labels) are for morning reading time (like before the bell rings) and for use in the library center. Those are grouped by type/category and mostly all are above k reading levels – but of high interest. Just awesome trade books!
      Thanks, Leslie

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