Word Work Centers: Everything You Need to Know

So many teachers find that their word work center is boring and time-consuming to set up, but it doesn’t have to be that way! Except for guided reading groups, one of the few centers that I take the time to plan and prep each week (or month) is the word work center.

Image reads, "Everything you need to know about word work centers"

What’s Included in my Word Work Centers

The word work center includes phonics skills and sight words. It’s essential that your word work center covers both! Plus, students don’t have to all be working on the same sight words or skill-based words! 

Must-Do/May-Do Activities

It’s helpful to organize your word work center into must-do and may-do activities. For example, on Monday we typically have new words for the week. Students use this day to complete a word sort in a pocket chart that’s hanging in the center.

You can do word sorts in a variety of ways. Students can sort the words in a pocket chart and show their work by taking a picture. They can complete a digital word sort, fill out a worksheet, or write the word sorts in a notebook! You pick what works best! I like to switch it up each week.

Image shows a word work sorting activity.

Choose Word Work Centers for the Entire Month

If you hop on Pinterest, you’re bound to find tons of ideas for your word work center. Have you felt the decision fatigue that sets in when you see all of those ideas but can’t seem to decide what to try in your classroom?

I know you’re thinking… how do I narrow it down? Use this planning template! As you find the word work activities that will work in your classroom, write them down on this organizer.

Think about having a word sort activity each month, but switch it up. For example, one month you might have your students complete a word sort using a pocket chart. The next month your students might complete a printable cut and paste word sort.

Image shows an iPad with a monthly planning template.
You can grab this planning template for FREE in the Word Work Starter Kit!

Make Your Centers Go Digital

There’s no tired like teacher tired, right? Let’s be real: sometimes you just don’t have the energy to put together hands-on word work activities. That’s okay! Students love digital word work activities.

Don’t be afraid to choose a few digital activities for your students to complete. It’s okay to give yourself a break and assign digital activities for a week. Or, you might even make Wednesdays (or a day of your choice) a DIGITAL word workday! It cuts down on your prep, and students will love it! 

Image shows an iPad with a digital phonics sorting activity.

Free Word Work Starter Kit

If you’re struggling with getting your word work center up and running effectively, I’ve put together your very own FREE word work starter kit.

Image links to a sign up for a Free Word Work Starter Kit.

This FREE Word Work Starter Kit is filled with ideas for getting your word work center up and running, plus some incredibly helpful resources! In this FREE kit, you’ll receive:

  • Editable word work choice boards
  • Editable word sort templates
  • Teacher planning templates
  • Charts for vowel sounds, blends, and digraphs
  • 25 hands-on word work activity ideas
Image shows the free pages included in the word work starter kit.

Download it here if you’re ready to revamp your word work center! 

>> Want to know more about choosing the right word work centers? Read here!

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