How to Create Literacy Centers

    When children create and invent, they develop self-esteem and gain a love for learning. Using literacy centers are really ideal for any grade level. Small groups learn to work together, cooperate, and speak in low voices, when needed. Learning centers can be so exciting when mixed with various subject matters.

Analysis of Skills

When looking for literacy center ideas, I first look for skills that need practicing and for most all of the class members. Let say, after an analysis of student skills, that most learners are having difficulty with understanding cause and effect.

Students will understand the concept of cause and effect.

Research Topics

    A teaching team can then look for topics that are introduced in the school’s established curriculum that relate to cause and effect topics. I end up finding some topics that could involve cause and effect quite easily.


Cause and Effect Topics in XYZ Curriculum

Science; Pollution/ Waste in Our World
Social Studies: The Silk Road
Language Arts: Expository text on Natural Disasters
Mathematics: Money problems involving interest

Search for Sources

I then look for sources, (worksheets, activities, stories, games, comic strips and hands-on activities) that goes along with the specific topic to introduce to a literacy center.
For an intervention,  I try to incorporate  mini-lessons for students with various learning mode preferences. For the Birds and Cause and Effect with Music are funny, short and wordless videos that can lead to a cause and effect discussion.

 For the Birds

This video was created by Pixar.  Learn more about it at:

Cause and Effect with Music

This video was created by KLM videos for schools at:

  In How to Create Literacy Centers Part 2, I will show you what activities I found or created  for each subject matter,  along with some interventions. Until next time….


For more ideas, freebies and resources, check out Lynn’s blog and stores.

Anticipation Guide for The Candle Star

candle star kindle insert

Title: Anticipation Guide for The Candle Star, by Michelle Isenhoff
*This entire lesson plan is available as a downloadable PDF.

The purpose of an anticipation guide is to prepare students for reading a text by exploring what they already know about the ideas they will soon encounter. By connecting to prior knowledge, they will be more able to make predictions, understand cause and effect relationships within the text, make and discuss generalizations, and develop their own responses to the ideas presented.

Time:   10-20 minutes to complete pre-reading activity
10-30 minutes to complete culminating activity


1.  Pass out the guide to students before reading The Candle Star. Allow them to complete it on their own. When they have finished, discuss the students’ responses. Do not make any judgments as to right or wrong answers, but encourage the students to support their decisions with real life examples.

2. Instruct the students to hold on to the guide and refer to what they have written as they read The Candle Star.

3.  As a culminating activity, return to the guide after reading the book. Discuss how the students’ answers might have changed. Encourage students to cite examples from the text that made them rethink their original answers. Have the students choose one statement from the guide and write a paragraph supporting their belief using prior knowledge and examples from the text.

Text of Anticipation Guide handout
(Handout is available as downloadable PDF.)

  1. It’s okay to force someone to change if you know you’re right.
  2. It’s okay for the government to force a person or group of people to change.
  3. Your upbringing gives you a solid basis on which to make decisions about right and wrong.
  4. It’s wrong to hide someone the government says is a fugitive.
  5. A person in authority can be trusted to make good choices if they have good intensions.
  6. The culture you live in defines the value of a person’s life.

Visit Michelle Isenhoff’s page here on Quest to locate free digital copies of The Candle Star and additional lesson plans.