Tuesday, April 22, 2014

NEW Reading Center Set-Up

**UPDATE 08/03/16: These reading centers are now posted on TPT as a year long product!  There are reading lists, worksheets, additional activities, and multiple assessments for you to utilize to teach your students how to read functional words!

My reading center is set-up and differentiated for several levels of learners.  In the beginning of the year, I had a group of students who were working on learning letters.  I am proud to say, they have mastered all 26 letters now and are ready for the next challenge…READING!  

With my students, I often start with teaching functional words instead of traditional sight words since these are more meaningful to them and (hopefully) make reading more motivating!  The first list we started with was Color Words.

I was trying to think of the best way to set up this reading center for an aid run station (the assistant has 2 kids with her at a time), and of course ended up putting everything in a binder.  The spelling list is velcroed onto the front cover and can be removed easily for all the different daily activities.  On the other side of the binder, is the "mastered list" of words.  We will use this to track all the words they can read/spell.

I made my own dividers out of construction paper, and put one activity in each of the 5 sections (1 for each day of the week).  This first day, the students write their words 3 times.  Notice how the same list from the inside cover has been removed and velcroed on the divider?!  I love how convenient this is and how it keeps my students organized!

 Day 2, the students use blocks to spell out their words.  I made my own letter blocks out of some manipulatives I had laying around my classroom.

Day 3, the kids play Bingo by writing their words 1-2 times in the squares.  Then, the students cross out words as my aid says them.  This works on writing the words as well as reading them!

 This page is not laminated....I actually made photo copies!  The kids use markers to write their words in rainbow colors.  This was a bit confusing this week since we were using color words, but should get easier as my kids get used to the routine. 

 The last activity is a spelling and reading test (also photo copies so I can keep a permanent record).  On the left side is the "Spelling Test."  My aid reads out the words, and the kids write them (or use blocks to spell them if they are a non-writer).  On the right side of the test is the "Reading Test."  For this test, my aid writes the words out and in a new order and sees if the student can read the words.  For a child who is nonverbal, the assistant could say the different words and see if the student can point to the correct word.  Then, scores are recorded on the bottom of the sheet.  Words that are correct, are added to the "mastered list," and words incorrect are added to the next week's list.

I have to say, we have been doing this station for 2 weeks and it is AMAZING!  ALL of my students are able to spell this first group of words and have moved onto the next list!  Remember, these are kids who didn't even know their letters at the beginning of the year!  Also, they have made this progress from working on this only 15 minutes a day with one of my assistants!  Tune in tomorrow to see what my higher functioning guys are working on for spelling!


  1. I have a few students who are still working on letter recognition. What type of activities did you use to get your students to master the 26 letters?

    1. I have some of those too! We have been using all the resources listed in this post (http://autismtank.blogspot.com/2013/10/letternumber-identification.html)! Hope that helps!

  2. AWESOME!! I might just have to borrow this idea for next year! Thanks!

  3. Hi! I am so glad I took the time to see if you've posted anything. I recently sent you an e-mail regarding the same thing. I have a student who has mastered letter id (receptively). He is minimally verbal and does not always name the letters on command. I was wondering what my next step should be? Should I focus on letter-sound correspondence if he does not speak on command or should I move to something else? During my whole group instruction, this student was exposed to the letter sounds however my focus was on letter id for him. Have you experienced working with children like this. If so, how did you proceed?

    1. Hi, sorry I didn't get a chance to respond to your email yet. I think you could do a couple different things. You could could definitely work on receptive letter-sound correspondence where you say the sound, and he identifies the letter, or you could move into functional spelling words like I did above in this post, or you could do both. One of my students who is doing the above station is non-verbal, but she knows her letters receptively. She doesn't yet know letter sounds receptively, but we are going to start targeting that at my direct instruction station while she does the spelling shown above at the reading station. Does that make sense?