What Work Stations Look Like in My Classroom Right Now

A very common question is always, “How do you run literacy work stations in your classroom?”

Work Stations by Fun in FirstI thought I would blog about what my work stations look like right now at the beginning of the year.  I have to be honest and say that these have evolved and changed so many times over the years.  I kind of morph a lot of different ideas together (Debbie Diller, Daily 5, etc.) and use what’s best for my students and me.  I think that’s the ultimate goal of teaching.  We have to use what we know and make it work for us.


For the first couple weeks of school, I place my students into 5 groups of 4-5 students.  They rotate through the stations, while I assist as needed or pull students back for one-on-one assessments.  After I feel that the students are capable of working independently (and my testing is finished), I become a station for one of the groups.

Work Stations by Fun in FirstI use a pocket chart to display my station board.  I use cardstock with pictures of each of the students along with their names to place on our station board.  At first, I do not group my students academically.  When I become a station, I group them by their academic needs, so I can easily differentiate the work stations and the activities I will be doing with my small group.


I like to make it as easy as possible for me when planning my work stations for the week.  I do not want to be cutting out and laminating a million pieces of paper each week.  I like to use a lot of No Prep Games along with other easy prep activities.  I use a lot of items from my Word Work Packets or my Games Galore packets.  This makes it very simple to change out each week.  The students know exactly how to complete the activity.  Only the skill changes.

Word Work Activities for Work Stations from Fun in First

Students love playing Word Work games.  Read the Room activities are also a big hit.  It’s a bonus that it gives them a chance to be up out of their seats and walking around the classroom.

Word Work Activities for Work Stations from Fun in FirstI also like to include a Listening Center.  This is always an easy one to change out each week.  I purchase the Listening Center CD’s and books from Scholastic each month.  Then, I use my bonus points to purchase additional books for each CD.

Word Work Activities for Work Stations from Fun in FirstAnother easy work station idea is Rainbow Roll and Write.  I found this idea a couple years ago from A Cupcake for the Teacher.  This is perfect for practicing our spelling words for the week.

Word Work Activities for Work Stations from Fun in First

At the beginning of the year, I love using this Plinko game from Lakeshore Learning.  It’s perfect for practicing phonemic awareness skills.

Word Work Activities for Work Stations from Fun in FirstSometimes, I even make the students handwriting books a station.  Since it’s hard to squeeze handwriting practice into our day, this is the perfect time.

Word Work Activities for Work Stations from Fun in First

I try to change them up a little bit each week so the students do not get bored, but a lot of the activities can stay the same.

(You can find my all of my Word Work activities HERE and all of my Games packets HERE.)


The first couple of weeks, I do not pull a small group.  First, I walk around and check to make sure that each person is on task at their station.  Then, if all is going well, I start pulling individuals to complete our beginning of the year DIBELS assessments.  After a couple of weeks, I can pull my first reading groups.

For my low students, I start off by working on phonemic awareness.  I always have a couple of students that really need to focus on these skills first before becoming independent readers.  I’ve been working my way through the activities in my Phonemic Awareness at Your Fingertips packet.  I love that I have these printed and placed in sheet protectors, because now they are ready to go.

Phonemic Awareness Activities by Fun in First Phonemic Awareness Activties from Fun in First

We use a lot of manipulatives to practice making sounds in words and manipulating our phonemes.

Phonemic Awareness Activities from Fun in First Phonemic Awareness Activities from Fun in FirstFor my groups that are capable of reading, we will start using my Guided Reading packets next week. These are perfect because they are already differentiated for each of my groups.  Each passage comes in three different levels and includes vocabulary and comprehension practice.

Differentiated Guided Reading by Fun in FirstI introduce the vocabulary, and then we read the passages together.  I like to give my students highlighters to highlight the answer to the comprehension questions.

Differentiated Guided Reading by Fun in FirstWe usually fill out the comprehension graphic organizer together as a group.  Later on, my higher readers do this portion independently.

Differentiated Guided Reading by Fun in FirstIf you would like to try out a FREE week of these passages, you can TRY BEFORE YOU BUY by clicking on the picture below.

Guided Reading Sample PacketI hope this gives you a better idea of how work stations and small groups are working in my room right now.

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    1. I spend about 20-30 minutes a day on Stations and can only get to one right now. I would love to spend more time, but our reading series doesn’t allow us too much time for small group and stations 🙁

  1. Hi! I think you’re ideas are amazing! I was wondering, the whole year through will you have students only go to one station a day? If so will they also be working on something else, like a read to self area or independent work area? Also, how many students are at a station at one time?

    1. My goal is to get to two stations, but time just doesn’t allow it most of the time. We have a basal program that we are required to use. I have 5 stations with 4-5 students per station.

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