Saturday, July 14, 2012

Literacy Centers: Big Book Center (and Magic Windows)

I really like the Big Book Center!  In this picture the children are pointing to the letters and words as they sing the alphabet in a big book.  After they point and sing they are supposed to take letters written on small post-its and match them to the letters in the book.  As you can see the boy is looking at the chair that is close by this is where they put the board that had all of the post-its.  When they are done they will take all of the post-its off and put them back on the board for the next group to use.  I have many different kinds of pointers that the kids can choose from (changing them periodically helps to liven up the center).

All of the big books that I use in this center are books that we have read in whole group the week before.  We also practice the activity that they will do so that they know exactly how to do it on their own.  Here are some of the activities that we do in the Big Book Center:

  • Read the book together (at the same time) while one person points and then do it again and the other person points
  •  Share reading, one child points to and reads one page and another child points to and reads the next page
  • Find the word - I put post-its at the end of the book with words from the text and they have to go back and find them, put the post-it on top of the word and read the sentence
  • Use highlighter tape to highlight sight words we are working on
  • I model this activity from Shari Sloane for a while before I have the students do it independently
  • With a highly predictable book the students can add a sentence to go with the book
  • Sentence builder - I have 2 or 3 sentences from the book cut up and the students have to put it back together and find the matching page in the book
I have many different kinds of pointers but the ones that I use most are so easy to make on your own and you can change them for each theme or season.  First, I buy wooden dowels from Michaels (don't forget to use your 15% teacher discount).  They have them in different sizes and it was so long ago when I bought mine (they hold up forever) that I cannot quite remember.  Then you buy erasers (the kind that fit on the end of a pencil) in whatever shape or design that you want.  You may want to buy the erasers first so that you can take them with you to see which dowel they fit on the best.  I don't glue the erasers on because I like to change them with each theme.  I wish I had a picture to show you but I cannot get into my classroom right now.  

Magic Windows:

Another thing that the students use in the Big Book Center are "Magic Windows".  I just take a junk mail envelope that has the clear little plastic window over your address and cut it into a little wand with a handle.

When a child holds this up to their eye and tries to look through it everything is all blurry but when you put it right up against a word you can see it clearly so that is why we call it the "Magic Window".  I didn't think these would last very long since they are only made out of thin paper but I have had mine for several years.  A very cheap tool to help the students find words and read them!


  1. Thanks for the great ideas for big books, especially the windows! I'm a new follower!


  2. Great ideas! I want to utilize my big books more. The stand I use makes it hard for them to use.
    I'm a new follower!

    Strive to Sparkle


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