Play Based Literacy

If you were to be a fly on the wall in my classroom you would notice our literacy centers are unique in my school to the other classes. It is not that my program is better. It is just different.  Our class is a play based classroom and as such, I like to incorporate play in our literacy block by tying in our shared reading poem into the various provocations that are available for the children to choose. These are some of the various ways I incorporate play and literacy!

Roll a Word

Roll a word is a fun interactive way which targets multiple curriculum expectations. For each poem I have a roll a word center. Six simple words from the poem are included and are associated with a specific number. When they roll a number, students then write the corresponding word. I try to differentiate this activity by providing multiple options for the game. 

Game Options
Play until you have rolled each number. Count how many rolls it took!
Which word will have five first? Or a lesser number as an adaptation for young learners.
Which word will be filled to the top first?
Fill the chart! *This, strangely enough, is the class favorite!*

I love this game for many reasons but love the academic skills it reinforces. Students are practicing subitizing skills (automatically recognizing a number without thinking about it), number sense (using the numbers 1-6 in a dot formation) as well as printing skills when they write the corresponding word.

Word Towers

Making a word tower out of the sight words we use is another fun way to incorporate writing! It is differentiated in that I provide multiple cups with the sight words from the poem which allows the children to build different heights and complexities of towers.

Each cup has a word and the associated image on it which is really important for the non-readers in my classroom in order to support their learning by providing meaning to what they write. Even when they cannot "read" their friends think they can and they feel very proud! Some children even will draw the images of the clip art beside the word, just like is on the cup!

Bean Bag Toss

It is amazing to see the pure pleasure that a simple game of bean bag toss will bring to a class! Allowing a "safe" location for kids to throw things in a classroom is an all time "win" with children and allows for kinesthetic learning. You should try it out sometime. It is a great hook for literacy, especially for the boys in your class!

There are many skills needed to play:
* developing organizational skills as I let them set up the game as you can see in the image above
* gross motor skills by aiming and trying to land the bean bag onto a word
* fine motor skills as they write the associated word down to track which words they have landed on
* interpersonal and social skills as they negotiate turn taking and sharing the bean bags

Tip: These sheets could easily be laminated for reuse purposes but I just put them in sheet protectors and switch them out each week as our poem changes.

Write the Room

I always like to incorporate a write the room activity as a writing provocation. Sometimes I hide the words. Sometimes I let the kids hide the words. As with all the other activities, I always ensure that every word has an image beside it for our non-readers. Kids love to find things and feel very proud when they are successful at it! Usually when we are putting away this activity I'll have to ask the class for an "expert" in the class to find a missing word. They love this ownership and responsibility!

Original Poetry

Interested in some original play based activities?
The poem used in this example is actually a freebie in my TpT store! It doesn't include all of the activities I use but will give you a 'snapshot' into what it feels like and it is a sampling of the bigger products below. Click on the link or the image below to download it for free.

Each of the following include 4 original poems and identical play based activities.

In these there are multiple versions of the same poem to accommodate for ELL, young readers and higher levelled readers (varying degrees of pictorial prompts).

What is included for all poems:
Poem * 3 (plain, fill in the blank and a version for ELL and young learners with picture support)
Read, Trace, Write Draw 
Word Hung
Cup Tower Building {worksheets & printables}
Write the Room
Word Wall Words {also for write the room activities}
Roll a Word Graphing
Bean Bag Toss {worksheets & printables}

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