Literacy Centers for First Grade

first grade literacy centers

Using literacy centers in your classroom is a great hands on way to help students build reading, writing, and word work skills every day. You may choose to run your centers while you are busy working with small guided reading groups or assessing individual learners. It is important to teach students how to use each center before having them work there on their own. Working through each center once as a class can give students a basic understanding of what they should be doing.

The literacy centers described below are best for Grade 1 students, although some can be used in Kindergarten or Grade 2 depending on the level of your students.

Beginning and Ending Sounds Literacy Center

beginning and ending sounds cards

These Beginning & Ending Sounds Cards (CVC words) are perfect for a word work center. Laminate them for your students to  use with dry erase markers.  They can make words by adding the beginning and ending letters.

Students can then copy the words they have made into their notebooks or use the recording sheet that is included to sort the words by their vowel sounds.

This center comes with 45 cards (9 cards for each short vowel sound).

Grab these FREE Beginning & Ending Sounds Worksheets for some extra practice!

beginning and ending sounds worksheets

Word Families Center

word families cards

This Word Families Literacy Center is great for hands-on independent practice.  Students can use them with dry erase markers to make both short and long vowel word families. This can also be used for small group instruction, extra practice for early finishers, or intervention.

It comes with these 42 word families:


at, ap, an, ad, am, ag, ed, est, en, et, ess, ish, in, ig, ip, it, id, og, ot, op, ob, oss, un, um, ug, ub, ut


ake, ame, ain, eep, ee, eat, ice, ine, ite, one, oat, ose, ue, ute, une

word families activity

For more ideas, check out this Word Families blog post!

Sentence Building Literacy Center

sentence building activity

At this Making Sentences Center, students arrange the words in each envelope to make simple sentences. They can use the answer card to assist them or you can leave it out (depending on their level). They can print the sentences they have made in their notebooks. It comes with 15 sentences.  These are helpful for beginning readers or writers.

For more ideas, check out this Making Sentences With Beginners Blog Post!

Partner Reading Cards

partner reading activity

These Partner / Buddy Reading Cards are great for having students read aloud to each other.  Each card has 8 sentences, so students will read 4 sentences each.

Reading to someone can help to develop fluency and confidence. Students can also give each other feedback and they can help each other decode new words.

You may wish to laminate and send these cards home in a baggie for students and parents to read together for extra practice.

nonfiction reading comprehension passages

This set comes with 25 full page non-fiction passages and one graphic organizer for students to write the facts that they have learned from the passage (if you choose to add a writing component).

Read and Draw Center

read and draw activity

Let students get creative with this fun center! Just laminate these cards and place them in a tub with some dry erase markers. Students read the sentences and draw the pictures. Teachers can check for comprehension by looking at the drawings.

following directions activity

You can also use these for early finishers. This center comes with 25 full page activity cards.

CVCe Words Activities

cvce words activity

Laminate these CVCe Words Activities and have your first grade students use them with dry erase markers to make words with long vowel sounds by adding an "e".

These hands-on activities can also be used for small group instruction, extra practice for early finishers, or intervention.

Punctuation Center

punctuation practice activity

This literacy center can help first grade students identify, complete and write statements, questions, and exclamations by using the correct punctuation mark.

There are two versions of the center so you can differentiate.

The first version is a Fill in the Punctuation card where students complete each sentence by simply choosing the correct punctuation mark.

punctuation practice activity

The second version is a Write Your Own Sentence card where students must write one statement, one question and one exclamation about the animal.

sentence writing activity

Writing Prompts

writing prompts

These 35 prompts can help your students get started writing about different topics. Each page uses primary lines and includes a picture. It can be part of a writing literacy center. It comes with a checklist so students can be sure they have done everything necessary.

writing prompts

Sequence of Events Center

sequence of events activity

This center can help first grade students develop reading and retelling skills. Students read the passages and then order the events by cutting and pasting them into the correct sequence.

It is great for small group work, independent work, or for use in literacy centers.

Syllables Sorting Activity


Use these 40 word cards with pictures to help your students learn to identify the number of syllables in words.  This fun sorting game has words with 1, 2, 3, and 4 syllables.

All About Insects Center

insects literacy center

This literacy center is good for small group lessons, or even to use as a research projects for primary grades! Your students will learn all about caterpillars, butterflies, ladybugs, grasshoppers, and ants!

Making Inferences Game

Your students can practice making inferences with this fun game!

making inferences game

Students read short paragraphs to each other and then answer the multiple choice questions.  If they are correct, they move the number of spaces indicated on the card.

Rhyming Words Worksheets & Match Game

rhyming words activity

Use the match game for practice and then use these cut and paste worksheets as an assessment!


You can find all of these resources individually in my online store or you can purchase them in this Literacy Centers Bundle that comes with 14 centers!

literacy centers for first grade

Looking for resources for a slightly lower grade level?

You might want to check out my blog post on 5 Kindergarten Learning Centers!