Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Literacy Stations for Learning Fun at the Library

The Kimberly-Little Chute Library started monthly literacy stations a year ago to engage our young
A sample literacy station
patrons while visiting the library. We are a joint library with two locations, so we set up the station at a table in each children’s department. We include a sign with brief instructions.

While geared for the preschool crowd, some of our activities do engage the elementary ages as well, and we like the idea of reaching a larger age range for learning fun.

A main “go-to” station has been a writing and drawing activity that kids complete and add to a book. We add a thematic cover to a binder with page protectors for kids to put in their finished product. We keep track of the number of sheets we print for statistics rather than counting the sheets in the binder since kids sometimes take the sheets home. 

November station
Here are some examples:
  • November--color by number turkey and fill-in-the-blank turkey story
  • December—How do you celebrate the holidays? Write a sentence and draw a picture.
  • April—Design your own dollar bill (to go along with Money Smart Week).
  • May—Let’s celebrate mom and dads! Sheet had a sentence to finish “My _____ is awesome because…” and draw a picture.

We either design our own sheets or find inspiration through Google or Pinterest. Other stations have included a matching game. For April, we laminated Seuss fish bowls and fish with different number and colors and asked the kids to match the fish and bowl by 1) number, 2) color, 3) 1-10 order, and 4) 10-1 order. Kids were asked to put their name in the jar when done to help us keep track. We also had a Cat in the Hat scavenger hunt by hiding 12 hat pictures around the room. Kids
Seuss fish bowl number matching
could get a bookmark for coming to the desk to tell us how many they found, and we kept track by counting the number of bookmarks we gave out (started with x number – number of bookmarks left = total participants).

In September, we asked kids to make a cheerful card for children in an orphanage in Kenya after meeting someone who sends care packages there. We supplied colored paper and stickers and a few examples of short greetings.

Discovery bottle
Our most popular station was our June “I Spy” bottle. We filled a 20 ounce Gatorade bottle with little trinkets (penny, pompom, paper clip, wiggle eye, Tootsie roll, dice cube, and other toys) and added rice for cover. To keep track, we had a slip with all the items listed and asked kids to cross off all the items they found and put the slip in a basket. The best part was having kids come back to the library to show off their own discovery bottles! Google “discovery bottles” to find many great bottle themes. Tip: be sure to hot glue the cover on because the kids WILL try really hard to remove it. ;)

Thanks for all the inspiration so many of you give to the library community, and I hope these examples encourage you to try your own literacy stations. Please email me at ahardgin AT mail.owls.lib.wi.us if you have any questions.

Ann Hardginski, Youth Services Librarian
Kimberly-Little Chute Public LibraryKimberly and Little Chute, WI

Photos provided by the author