How to run Reading Rotations in Kindergarten

In this 5-part blog series, I’ll give you an insider’s look at what my reading block and reading rotations look like.  My small group’s look changes every year with each group, but the basics remain the same. Here’s what you can look forward to in this series:

Part 1: Introducing and Planning Reading Small Groups 

Part 2: Prepping Reading Small Group Activities and Materials 

Part 3: Assessing with Reading Small Groups

Part 4: Tips for Reading Small Groups

Part 5: Reading Block Rotations (that’s this post)

My reading rotations, or reading centers, are the heart of my reading block. Without reading centers happening, I can’t pull kids to assess one-on-one or pull groups of students to have small group. It takes a lot of practice, modeling and trial and error to have your reading centers running close to flawless in kindergarten. Here’s how I’ve ran my reading centers for the past few years.

Creating Your Reading Rotations

For our actual rotation, I’ve been using a PowerPoint for the last 6+ years. It’s the absolute best thing I ever started doing. It saves me SO much time and we stay on track. I get to meet with all of my groups every single day.

I decide what choices I want to have and find images to match those choices. A few choices that I’ve used over the past few years are word work, spelling (when I taught first), listen to reading, reading, iPads, computers, pocket charts, Square Panda, Touchtronics, Epic, and writing to name a few.

Next, I add all of my students. In the beginning, I added their names only. However, one year when I had 25 students and more than half of them could not recognize their name and we had a big problem! I love creating an independent classroom and needed a quick fix for this. I put their picture in the place of where I had names. It took up a bit more space, but my issue was solved. All they had to do was find their names/picture. I didn’t have to tell anyone where they were supposed to go. It was like magic.

Spicing up Your Digital Rotation

To keep us in our time limits so I could meet with each group, I started adding sounds, videos and timers. Each slide where it shows where the students should be has a timer. The slide changes when the time is up. The next slide is either their next center or a clean up song.

The clean up song has been my choice for the past few years. As my students are cleaning up, I am still working with my group. My students sit and wait for me to change the slide to the next rotation as soon as everyone has put their materials away. The group that is at the table with me then leaves and goes to their center. The reason I do it this way is because while everyone is cleaning and we’re in a down moment, I can keep my small group engaged and working. It would be pointless to send them back to their seat or to the rug when I could keep working with them.

Creating Digital Groups for the Teacher

The students that come to me, I either pull them from their center or sometimes I create an image at the bottom with the picture of a teacher at a table. I stopped doing the latter because I wanted to create fluid small groups. I didn’t want to change the rotations each day when I moved students around in groups.

How did I know who to pull and when? I kept a sticky note on my small group table with the current groups. Once I changed it around, all I needed to do was to get a new sticky note and rewrite the groups. This was super helpful when I only wanted to switch someone for one day to work on a particular skill with a different group.

During my small group, I keep the questions on point with this ring of questions. It helps to keep the group flowing and no interruptions from me and possibly forgetting what I want to ask or other questions that can be asked. I keep it with a few other rings right behind my chair at my small group table. The ring life is a lifesaver because I don’t misplace any of the cards and I don’t have to put them back in a binder after each use.

Normal questions always pop up in my head like:

Who is the main character?

What’s the setting?

What happened at the beginning?

However, sometimes I want to go deeper and I don’t always remember to ask these types of questions. This is why my ring comes in handy.

Want the questions? Grab them here.

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