Unexpected effective uses for bilingual literacy centers

Bilingual literacy centers are ideal methods for teaching a foreign language in the classroom. As useful as a textbook, you model the instruction in class using simple methods of teaching.

Any tool of literacy helps with education, especially books, videos, and interactive apps. When students interact more with the reading material and with you, they are more apt to retain information and use it later.

Bilingual literacy centers propagate on the idea of students learning in different ways from one station to another.

How are instructional stations different from any other teaching method?

Creating effective bilingual literacy centers

The first part of assembling bilingual literacy centers is to know the space available. Although you don’t need much room, students do need to move from one station to another.

An ideal situation is to prepare a lesson dedicated to learning stations. You can plan a few days ahead to arrange the seating in your classroom. Better yet, you can arrange a few tables, if possible, to the stations.

However, when this is not feasible, have students rotate from one seat to another in designated groups. Avoid distractions by keeping groups small and on task.

A fundamental step-by-step reading level carries the theme of your lesson from one station to another. For instance, have beginner level reading material on one station and move to more advanced text in a different format.

As students circulate between stations, they refine their reading skills. The crucial part of bilingual literacy centers is students interact with the text or passages to understand what they are reading.

Arranging useful rotation methods when using bilingual literacy centers

After students learn the mechanism of going from one station to another, you want to polish your rotation methods. Within adequate bilingual literacy centers, you obviously can’t be everywhere.

So, rely on a timer that you can post on a screen or use a simple egg timer. If this is the first time students use learning stations, you might want to run a mock version.

For example, you want to try a simple lesson showing them how to rotate from one station to another. Ideally, give students enough time to gather their supplies and move to the next learning center.

Likewise, you can use musical tones or fun music. Younger students, usually, prefer an upbeat musical tune.

bilingual literacy centers

Developing literacy strategies

Once you’ve created the space and rotation methods, customize different ways for each of the bilingual literacy centers. Besides having the essential literacy components such as vocabulary and phonics, implement other techniques as well.

Use matching cards, puzzles, writing sentence strips, or picture matching to add variety to each station. If you’re fortunate to have computers in your classroom, you might want to use different software to translate, transcribe, or read out loud stories.

Other useful tools are software to allow you to record your voice as you read stories, passages, or dictate sentences. By thinking of the different strategies you can use motivates students to learn aside from worksheets.

Part of using technology is also the use of personal devices. Students, if permitted, can use their cell phones as a bilingual translator to help them with words or unknown phrases.

For examples, you can also use learning websites, interactive games, and videos where students respond to questions.

Effective bilingual literacy centers come with many advantages. Students interact with text in more ways than just reading out loud.

They also participate with other classmates to solve critical thinking questions and learn how to respond. Besides adding reading diversity, bilingual learning centers implement movement to kinesthetic learners.

Another key benefit is the interaction to ask questions, look for answers, and develop reading skills.

Have you tried using bilingual literacy centers in your classroom? Let me know in the comment section below.

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Barbara Mascareno

Barbara is an educational writer, teacher, and instructional designer. She loves to write K-12 education content, teaching strategies, bilingual education approaches, and foreign language.

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