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9 Spelling Centers to Use During Your Literacy Block (or Daily 5)

9 Spelling Centers to Use During Your Literacy Block (or Daily 5)

I will admit, I have never been the best "spelling" teacher. I hate weekly lists. I hate the weekly practice. I even hate the weekly test. 

But I did it because I was told I had too.

I knew that there was a better way to teach spelling, but I couldn't get my head around it, so I ignored it the best I could.

Then, I got my daughter's report card. She was doing amazing in writing. Except for one thing, spelling. I couldn't ignore spelling any longer.

Luckily, taking this year off has made my mind much clearer. I have more time to think deeply. When I was teaching, I felt like I would just start to come up with a good idea, and then I would be forced to focus on something else.

I like the idea behind Words their Way for spelling. Sorting is so powerful for learning! Plus, I think that tackling spelling through phonics is helpful for both spelling and reading. However, I tried Words their Way at school one year, and I didn't feel like the payoff was worth all of the time it took to prepare. Now, I am sure if I stuck with it, I could have found a way to make it work in my classroom, but I didn't take the time to do that.

Thinking about what I liked and didn't like about the different spelling programs I have tried helped me realize that I wanted something based on phonics, but that didn't require a lot of work on my part.

I am currently working on developing a spelling program to use with my own kids. I will bring it with me when I return to school too. 

One of the steps that I have already completed is coming up with unique spelling centers. These sounded so fun to me, I just couldn't wait to share them with you!

Here they are now, 9 Spelling Centers to Use During Your Literacy Block...


Provide magnetic letters and a metal surface. A baking sheet works great for this. Students can spell their words using the magnets. You can buy letter magnets, or you can print and laminate letters. Just attach a small magnet or a piece of magnetic tape to the back.

Alphabet Blocks

Provide several sets of alphabet blocks. Students can build their spelling words using the blocks. They can build walls or buildings using several spelling words.

Bead Bracelets

Provide alphabet beads and string or ribbon. Students can use the alphabet beads to build their spelling words. You will want to specify if they can keep the bracelets or take them apart at the end of the station.


Doodle Cartoons

Provide paper and drawing supplies. Have students draw their spelling words. They can use bubble letters, turn the word into a picture, draw a picture to match the spelling word, or draw a comic strip using the spelling words.


Provide dictionaries. Have students define the spelling words using words, pictures, or both.


Provide paper and writing materials. Have students write a short poem using the spelling words. Motivated students could write poems describing the spelling or phonics rules for the week. Students could also write short stories or essays.


Provide photocopied pieces of text and highlighters. These can be reading passages, copies from magazines, newspapers, advertisements, or any other kind of text. Have students highlight any spelling words or words that follow the same rules as the spelling words for the week.


Provide the game, Scrabble. Have students play scrabble. They can use all of the tiles to work, but their words must be spelling words or follow the spelling rules for the week.

Rule Breakers

Provide computers or tablets. This is a center best suited towards students who need a challenge. Students will use the devices to find words that are spelled like the spelling words for the week, but don’t make the same sound. They can create a poster or other visual display to warn other students about these “rule breakers.”


So, those are my ideas. Do you have something to add to the list? Please share your spelling center ideas by leaving a comment!

Greek and Latin Roots in the Upper Elementary Classroom (and a Brief History of How Greek and Latin Influenced English)

Greek and Latin Roots in the Upper Elementary Classroom (and a Brief History of How Greek and Latin Influenced English)