Literacy Centers!

5 ELA Literacy Centers

Practice literacy skills with your students using these five simple learning center ideas! The sorting activities in this blog post will help your students become experts on cause and effect, fact and opinion, prefixes and suffixes, synonyms and antonyms, and the parts of speech. Grab a set of flashcards and read on to find out more!

Literacy centers are a great way to practice important ELA skills. You can set up these different literacy centers throughout your classroom and guide your students through each of the sorting games outlined below. Or you can choose one or two skills to focus on at a time. Whether you play these sorting games in the classroom, or suggest them for extra practice at home, we're confident these easy activities will be a welcomed tool in your ELA toolbox!

There is only one thing you will need to set up these five literacy centers—flashcards. You can use index cards, or you can make your own printable flashcards using the Super Teacher Worksheets flashcard generator. It's so easy! You may want to have a couple small bins or boxes in which students can sort the flashcards, but this is optional. 

For each activity below, we recommend about fifteen to twenty flashcards in total. You can do each activity with however many flashcards you choose. 

Cause or Effect?

Cause and Effect Sorting Game

In this activity, students will sort flashcards based on whether the underlined phrase is a cause or an effect. You'll write a sentence on each flashcard and underline either the cause or the effect, so that you end up with a variety of both. Your students will then decide whether each flashcard goes into the "cause" bin or the "effect" bin. 

Here are some sample sentences you could write on the flashcards:

Brandon had a sore throat, so his mom made him tea with honey. (cause) 

It rained all day on Saturday, so the children played games indoors. (effect) 

Because Katie's dog has lots of energy, Katie takes him on a walk every day. (cause) 

The Weber family had a long drive ahead of them, so Mr. Weber filled the gas tank. (effect) 

Patrick forgot his science textbook at school, so he couldn't complete his homework assignment. (cause) 

Sophia was sleepy because she went to bed late. (effect) 

Mom made a cake because it was Tyler's birthday. (cause) 

The temperature was very cold outside, so Sarah wore her winter coat. (effect) 

We got the work done quickly because we all worked together. (cause) 

Macy earned five dollars this week for doing all her chores. (effect) 

Fact or Opinion? 

Fact and Opinion Sorting Activity

In this literacy center, students will decide whether the statement on each flashcard is a fact or opinion. After reading the sentence on the flashcard, they will either place it in the "fact" pile or "opinion" pile. It's that simple! 

Here are some fact and opinion statements to get you started: 

Traditional pizza dough is made with yeast. (fact) 

My dad makes the best pizza in the world. (opinion) 

A standard deck of playing cards contains 52 cards. (fact)

Crazy Eights is the most fun card game. (opinion) 

Bats are the only mammals that can fly. (fact) 

Bats are scary! (opinion) 

Cricket is a bat-and-ball game that is very popular in many areas of the world. (fact) 

Cricket is a difficult game to play. (opinion) 

A leap year is a calendar year with an extra day. (fact) 

It's very confusing to have a leap year every four years. (opinion) 

Prefix or Suffix?

Prefix and Suffix Practice Game

Next, students will practice sorting word cards according to whether each word contains a prefix or a suffix. 

We've put together word lists of prefixes and suffixes to give you some ideas for this literacy center. 

Words with Prefixes:

  • Dislike
  • Distrust
  • Distaste
  • Disagree
  • Disobey
  • Undone 
  • Unfinished
  • Undecided
  • Unknown 
  • Unlike
  • Proceed
  • Progress 
  • Process
  • Proclaim
  • Propose
  • Prepay
  • Preview
  • Preheat
  • Pretest
  • Prepare
  • Replay
  • Review
  • Rewind
  • Redo
  • Reassure

Words with Suffixes:

  • Comfortable
  • Understandable
  • Dependable
  • Adorable
  • Reasonable
  • Handful
  • Doubtful
  • Hopeful
  • Playful
  • Thankful
  • Happiness
  • Kindness
  • Sadness
  • Darkness
  • Greatness
  • Movement
  • Pavement
  • Installment
  • Enjoyment
  • Payment
  • Softly
  • Quietly
  • Bravely
  • Lightly
  • Boldly

There are so many more prefixes and suffixes you could add to these lists, so feel free to expand them! 

Synonyms or Antonyms?

Synonyms and Antonyms Activity

In this ELA activity, students will sort flashcards based on whether the pair of words on each card is a pair of synonyms or a pair of antonyms. 

Need some ideas for synonym and antonym pairs? Check out the list below. 

Synonym Pairs: 

  • Quick, Fast
  • Sleepy, Tired
  • Small, Tiny
  • Father, Dad
  • Mother, Mom
  • Dish, Plate
  • Children, Kids
  • Hot, Toasty
  • Cold, Chilly
  • Tasty, Yummy

Antonym Pairs:

  • Young, Old
  • Short, Tall
  • Fast, Slow
  • Easy, Hard
  • Hot, Cold
  • Smooth, Rough
  • Wet, Dry
  • Loud, Quiet
  • Little, Big
  • Under, Over

Again, these are just ideas to get you started. You may want to tailor your synonym and antonym flashcards to the reading level of your class. Feel free to use more advanced words to make this activity grade-level relevant. Small adjustments are easy with all these literacy activities!

Which Part of Speech? 

Parts of Speech Sorting Game

The fifth literacy center helps students brush up on the parts of speech. Since more than two categories are required for sorting the flashcards in this game, be sure to discuss with your students ahead of time which categories they are expected to use. You may keep the categories as simple as: noun, adjective, and verb. Or you may choose to add more parts of speech, such as adverb, preposition, and article. It may be helpful to label the sorting bins with sticky notes so children can keep track of the categories. 

Here are some ideas you may want to consider.

Noun:

  • Mother 
  • Puppy
  • Cloud
  • Homework
  • Clothes

Adjective:

  • Kind
  • Playful
  • Dark
  • Difficult
  • New

Verb:

  • Study
  • Jump 
  • Pour
  • Wait 
  • Work

Adverb:

  • Slowly
  • Gently
  • Carefully
  • Truly
  • Loudly

Preposition:

  • In 
  • At
  • Above
  • Beside
  • To

Article:

  • The
  • A
  • An

Keep in mind that words may be correctly sorted into more than one category. If there are any ambiguities when children sort the flashcards, ask them what makes the word in question a noun, verb, etc. (For example, a child might sort the word "love" into the noun or verb category, but he or she should be able to articulate whether "love" is an action if they sort it as a verb, or a "thing" if they sort it as a noun. Use your best judgment.) 


As you can see, there is a lot of room for interpretation and adjustment in each of these literacy centers. Make the activities work for your class's unique needs! We hope you and your students have some fun along the way as you work together on important ELA skills. 

Did you try any of these literacy centers with your class? Remember to tag @superteacherworksheets on social media so we can see your photos! 

What are some of your favorite ways to teach ELA and literacy skills in your classroom? We'd love to hear from you! Leave us your suggestions in the comment section below. 

If you are looking for more fun, educational ELA resources, check out the Super Teacher Worksheets ELA index for inspiration!

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