Creating Personalized Learning Centers in the Classroom to Engage Readers

Updated: Aug 12

A personalized learning center is a lot like a station with it’s own activity. However, instead of having to complete the assignments at every learning center, they have to turn select a few of the options. The activities at each learning center focus on different skills, talents, and will allow students to show you they understand the information you’ve recently taught in class.


For the ELA classroom personalized learning stations can easily spark an interest in students to work with the literature instead of simply googling the answers. Many kids in Middle and High school struggle with finding connections and engaging with literature. Much of this has to do with the lack of creativity and options associated with reading in school.


These learning centers give struggling students multiple outlets to engage with the texts in new and creative ways. Students will quickly find themselves enjoying English class.


How to Track Assignments


The easiest way I’ve found to grade and keep track of these assignments is to keep it old school. Have a printed grade book, write down the scores for each assignment. For example, each assignment is worth 50 points, they need to complete three assignments within the class period, so the assignment in the computer for the day is worth 150 points.


You write down the scores students received for each assignment, add it up, and then enter the total score into the grade book. Keep the printed record, this will allow you to see which assignments and assignment types students are choosing. This will also allow you to see if a student is doing a repeat assignment for learning centers that are available daily. See the Ideas for Learning Center Activities below for more information on how a student might try to turn in the same assignment twice.


Ideas for Learning Center Activities

Note Before Moving On: Have instructions on what students are expected to do and complete at each activity center taped somewhere for students to review. This way they know what to expect from the assignment, and what you expect them to complete.


Even if the station is there every day, always have those instructions posted for clarity, you never know when it will be a student’s first time at the learning center. Clear instructions are a key part to a learning center’s success.


Children’s Book Analysis students will have a high school level assignment attached to a variety of quick-read children’s books. They have to find and explain why the author chose to use repetition, rhyme scheme, and other literary techniques in the children’s book. Make this center available daily. Tape the assignment somewhere to each book. Have a full library of children’s books to choose from. Make sure students understand that they cannot do the same book more than once, and that you have a record of what they’ve been doing each day.


Need an example of comprehensive children’s book activities? Check out this Brothers Grimm Activities that can be applied to any Brothers Grimm story.


Computer Center Assign something on Google Classroom using an at your own pace assignment on NearPod, or another activity from a site such as CommonLit.org or ActivelyLearn.com.


There are so many different things students can use the computers for. You can have them doing a game, research, reading and answering questions, or maybe they need to create a Flipgrid video. This is up to you and you can always have more than one computer center with different assignments. One can be dedicated to reading and analyzing, while another is focused on conducting research and writing about it.


Novel Center Students have a choice between three key novels you would like them to read. They must complete an interactive reading log each day. They must read one to two chapters per day depending on the novel and chapter length. They keep hold of the reading journal or log and must get it checked by you as soon as they finish before moving onto another learning center.


This would have to be a daily spot check. Be sure that the reading logs are more than a daily summary. Have students draw a scene and explain its significance to the chapter, find important quotes and explain them, discuss the tone/mood/ and theme of the chapter, etc.


See our “I Am Malala” Reading Journals for an example of an interactive reading journal that gives students different activities each day and asks more from students than for them to be able to simply summarize.


Graphic Novel Center Whether you want them to read a graphic novel or create one for a classic piece of literature, this center will speak to your visual learners. If you want them to create at the station, it’s great for your artistic/kinesthetic learners.


I personally would opt to have copies of a classic piece of literature for students to read through and turn into a graphic novel each day. The center would be turned into a project area that students would go to each day to mess around with.


Make sure to remind these students to time themselves at the center so that they can complete other activities for their full grade that day. You can even provide a timer at the center for them to optionally use. Then, they need to raise their hand to receive a grade for the work they completed that day.


Writing Center Have a variety of writing prompts and types of writing for students to choose from that align with what you’re teaching. They get to pick and choose which writing assignment they wish to complete at this center. You can either have prompts posted on the wall, creatively taped all over the tables, or in a bucket to pull out and sort through. Here’s an idea for your writing center using either novels of “I Am Malala”.


Grammar Center Have grammar review sheets for students to complete and work through. You could make it a full on packet with teaching instructions. As technology enhances you can add virtual teaching videos to these stations to teach a short lesson n grammar and have students complete activities after watching the video.


Design and Projects Center Another area you can have set up in the classroom, is a space dedicated to creation, design, and/or projects. This area would be a dedicated creative space that allows individuals, partners, or groups to work on creating a specific product or design for your.


For their convenience, you would have art supplies, a variety of paper and posters to work with, a stack of magazines they can look through and use if they desire, access to computers, and anything else that might inspire their creativity.


Give students time and options and be sure to have a trash can nearby, this center will probably be a little messy.


As you can see every center has options and speaks to the large variety of students you have in your classroom. Personalized Learning Centers, are designed to personalize each of your students’ learning experiences. It empowers them with choice, and allows them to show their understanding in a variety of ways, based upon their personal preference.


Having the expectation that students complete three activities each day means they can’t stay and work at one center all class period.

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