4th Grade Literacy Centers

Are you running centers in your classroom or are they running you?! If you want some fresh ideas for 4th Grade literacy centers, you’ve come to the right place.

I taught 4th grade for several years, and these are some of the literacy centers I’ve used in my classroom. Here you will find literacy activities for spelling, word work / sight word practice, reading comprehension, writing, and more.

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This post is also one part of a full series on helpful content geared toward literacy instruction in upper elementary classrooms. Here are the other posts to check out once you’ve read all of this post:

Posts with * beside their titles have free downloads available!

Literacy instruction includes vocabulary, spelling, sight word practice, writing, reading comprehension and fluency.

One of the best ways to teach all of the skills involves using literacy centers or literacy work stations.

Here are some ideas for literacy centers from my 4th-Grade classroom.

4th Grade Literacy Center for Spelling Practice: Emoji Spelling

4th Grade literacy centers the butterfly teacher

One literacy skill that I strive to target through my centers is spelling.

Engaging and interesting work leads to more impactful learning, so make your literacy centers fun! 

I added a twist to this spelling literacy center by making it “emoji-themed,” which keeps this activity fun for students. Here’s how it works:

  • Students write the words with “emoji-code.”
  • They switch papers with someone to “crack their code” by writing the spelling words.

I have NEVER had a 4th-grader complain about practicing their spelling words with this literacy center idea!

These 4th Grade literacy activities are available in my store. Click HERE or click the image to see the full set.

I do not “grade” this worksheet, but I require my students to turn in their literacy centers worksheets for accountability.

Seeing their work also helps me gauge which students are improving their skills through literacy centers practice.

Literacy Work Station Sight Word Practice: Four in a Row

fourth grade literacy centers the butterfly teacher

To continue building my students’ reading fluency, I have several games and activities geared toward sight word practice.

One of them is the Four in a Row Board Game.

This fourth-grade literacy center requires playing with a partner.

  1.  Flip over a sight word card to read out loud.
  2. If you have the matching word on your board, cover that space.
  3. The first person to get four words in a row wins that round.

I designed this center to spiral through different levels of sight words.

It’s also important to me that students have the option to work independently or with a partner, so this center can be used for both.

Recognizing words fluently leads to stronger reading comprehension skills. This game targets their word identification abilities during literacy practice time.

Writing Literacy Center Idea: Spin and Write

literacy centers 4th grade printable the butterfly teacher.jpg

Finding time for student writing in the classroom continues to be an on-going challenge.

Jazzing up the fun factor on any assignment motivates students to participate and get involved more. 

Since my kiddos love spinners as much as they do emojis, I incorporated them with this literacy center writing activity.

I purchased these clear, durable spinners here.

Students use the spinners to land on a wheel that has nouns and verbs. Then they write a sentence using one noun and one verb that they land on.

This writing center helps me to see my students’:

  • Understanding of grammar.
  • Potential difficulties with forming complete sentences.
  • Subject-verb agreement.
  • Spelling and Handwriting

Literacy Work Station for Root Words, Prefixes, and Suffixes: The Word Maker

literacy centers for fourth grade the butterfly teacher

Upper elementary students need effective strategies for understanding multi-syllabic words and word family relationships.

Using graphic aids and visual organizers offer students a non-intimidating way to practice word parts. That’s why the The Word Maker literacy center comes in “word triangles.”

Here are the details for this 4th-grade literacy center:

  • Students are given a root word or word part.
  • They add prefixes and suffixes to make longer words.
  • As an extra challenge, they use the new words they created in sentences. (MORE writing practice! YES!)

I laminate the triangles so that students can write with dry erase markers. (Instead of the normal sized Expo markers, we use these. They are more colorful and they’re washable.)

More Literacy Center Ideas for Fourth-Grade

Did you see an idea in this post that piqued your interest?

I LOVE ❤️ using stations to review and practice ELA and reading with 4th Graders. So, I could go on and on for days with this topic!

This video shows more details for you:

These Grade 4 Centers allows flexibility and differentiation without boring students to tears!

How Long Should Centers Be in 4th Grade?

Planning centers for upper elementary is impossible without considering time frames.

However, when it comes to how long Grade 4 centers should be, it depends on so many factors.

My sweet spot is around 90 minutes, which allows students to spend a minimum of 25 minutes at 3 different literacy stations.

25 x 3 = 75, which leaves you with 15 minutes for transitions, set-up, and clean-up time.

If you don’t have that much time to devote to your literacy block, don’t despair.

One year, all I had was one 45 minute block. My 4th graders that year got two 15-minute literacy activities with a cushion of 10 minutes for transition and prep.

These year-long literacy activities help 4th graders with several ELA skills. Click HERE or click the image for the full set.

Planning Your 4th Grade Stations

As you plan out how long your centers should be for 4th grade, keep these things in mind:

  • Amount of total students you have
  • How long your students need to transition (the more you model and prepare them for centers, the less transition time they need)
  • Whether you’re going to use fixed groups or choice boards to manage your centers.

Not only will the answers to these areas help you map out the time-frame for your stations, but it will make center planning in general easier.

“How Do You Organize a Literacy Center?” More F.A.Q’s

I get so many questions about how I set up literacy centers in my classroom. Here are a few of the main ones:

  • Are you self-contained? No. I teach Language Arts & Social Studies and I have a co-teacher who teaches Math & Science. We share the same full class of 4th graders, but we each have our “homeroom” group. Our students switch classes, and our classrooms are right across the hall from each other.
  • How many students are in each group? I do not allow more than 4 students per literacy center. In fact, all of the centers mentioned above really only allow 2 students working on that center at a time.
  • So how do you “group” your students? I start off the year by assigning fixed groups of 3-4 students and I MODEL behavior and procedures like crazy! But then I train my students to choose their own centers using Choice Boards. I have an entire detailed post on how I use choice boards HERE.
  • Do you have fixed stations? My classroom layout isn’t big enough for literacy centers to be in the same spot, so I only use centers that students can grab and move around the room to different locations. This also helps control the number of kids completing each center.

    The only literacy center that stays put is my Technology Center where I have 4 desktop computers. Our school has one iPad cart for all the 3rd-5th grade teachers to share, and I also keep this center stationary so that I can keep a close eye on my students while they’re using the iPads.

A Detailed Guide Book for Planning Your 4th Grade Literacy Centers

Although the questions and answers above give a glimpse into how I set up and run literacy centers in my class, they are just scratching the surface!

There are so many details to keep in mind.

I wrote a quick guide with detailed answers to these questions PLUS literacy center planning pages for teachers.

launching literacy centers book
Click the image to grab your guide!

This guide walks you through setting up centers and details this info:

  • How to choose “groups” for your centers?
  • A breakdown of different time frames and what to do for your literacy block during those time frames.
  • Details on the best ways to differentiate your centers.
  • Knowing whether to switch out your centers each week or not.
  • Options on how to help students choose a center OR setting up fixed student groups.
  • AND MORE!!

I know how overwhelming it can be to get centers going in the classroom when you have a million other things to consider and do as a teacher!

Hopefully the ideas and info from this post can get the ball rolling for you.

The series of posts listed at the top also have ideas and tips for literacy centers.

As an added bonus, the blog post below (in the image) tells you everything you need to know if you’re new to teaching 4th grade.


Happy Teaching 🙂

The Butterfly Teacher

3 Responses

  1. Thank you for the insight, great read indeed! I will be using these activities in my class.

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