Literacy Teaching Strategies with Kinesthetic Learning Activities

reading rods

Ready to engage your students with hands-on literacy strategies for centers, guided/small group reading, and interventions? This post is packed with simple tools and ideas to bring the magic of kinesthetic learning to your literacy instruction! These suggestions are perfect for classroom teachers, special education teachers, interventionists, and reading specialists. Here are a few reasons why I feel hands-on literacy is a must in your classroom.

why hands-on literacy is a must in your classroom, infographicwhy hands-on literacy is a must in your classroom, infographic

Bottom line? Our ultimate instructional goal is ENGAGEMENT! Most often, we incorporate manipulatives and hands-on learning during our math and science instruction, but there are so many simple ways to engage our students with those same hands-on materials during our literacy block…and those strategies can be the secret sauce to maximizing engagement in your literacy instruction.

hands-on literacy classroom engagement, infographichands-on literacy classroom engagement, infographic

Let’s start with some Word Work strategies that are perfect for guided reading and literacy centers!

word work strategies for guided reading and literacy centers, infographicword work strategies for guided reading and literacy centers, infographic

Pipe cleaners and beads are one of my favorite ways for students to practice blending and segmenting sounds, counting words and sentences, and counting syllables. Students simply slide beads from 1 side to the other for each sound, syllable, or word. They’re inexpensive to make and you can use them over and over! I also recently discovered these “fidget popper” toys on Instagram after they were recommended by @happy.little.hearts, and they are just the COOLEST! They come in all different shapes and colors on Amazon, and they’re perfect for sounds, spelling, and counting words/syllables.

word work strategies for building words, infographicword work strategies for building words, infographic

You guys know that I love using building bricks and LEGOs® for ALL sorts of things, and word work is no different! Simply give your kids 2, 4-peg bricks and 1, 8-peg brick and have them share words and word parts out loud. For contractions, have them state the 2 words (i.e. “will” “not”) and the contraction (“won’t”) as they connect each piece. To practice compound words, they can state the two words (“butter” “fly”) and then the compound word (“butterfly.”) These bricks also work great for breaking words into prefixes, root words, and suffixes. To take it to the next level, throw in a whiteboard or scratch paper and add in a writing component! Students can write the words they build or even write sentences using the words.

word work strategies for rhyming words, infographicword work strategies for rhyming words, infographic

Magnets are always a fave in my classroom, and they’re a great way to practice rhyming words too! Students stick the magnets together if two words rhyme, and pull them apart if they don’t. (This strategy also works great for comparing and contrasting two topics!) You can make your own with popsicle sticks and sticky magnets or purchase sets of magnetic wands.

Looking for more Word Work ideas and templates? Check out my DIY Word Work Construction collection in my shop with minicups, plastic cubes, and building brick options:

word work strategies for guided reading and literacy centers infographicword work strategies for guided reading and literacy centers infographic

Now let’s take a look at some simple hands-on strategies for comprehension that are perfect to add engagement to your guided/small group reading.

word work strategies for sequencing and retelling comprehension, infographicword work strategies for sequencing and retelling comprehension, infographic
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Snap Cubes® and building bricks are perfect for sequencing, retelling, and summarizing the plot of fictional stories! Students simply connect a cube or brick as they share and discuss each component of the story aloud. Add a writing component by having students write each piece of the story in order.

Story elements comprehension, infographicStory elements comprehension, infographic
cause and effect comprehension, infographiccause and effect comprehension, infographic

Stacking minicups is always a student favorite! Add them to your small group reading with story elements by drawing symbols on the cups and having students “stack” each element of the story. You can also use dominoes for students to practice connecting causes and effects.

vocab, summarizing and text evidence comprehension, infographicvocab, summarizing and text evidence comprehension, infographic
authors purpose comprehension, infographicauthors purpose comprehension, infographic

 

There are SO many comprehension possibilities with popsicle sticks/Velcro® dots and even pattern blocks!

Check out my printable Comprehension Construction Toolkits in my shop for K-3rd Grade and 4th-5th Grade! I’ve also recently created a paperless version for virtual/remote learning.

hands-on guided reading comprehension construction for k-3rd grade, infographichands-on guided reading comprehension construction for k-3rd grade, infographic
hands-on guided reading comprehension construction for 4th - 5th grade, infographichands-on guided reading comprehension construction for 4th - 5th grade, infographic
Paperless comprehension construction toolkit, infographicPaperless comprehension construction toolkit, infographic

COMPREHENSION CONSTRUCTION BUNDLE

 

If you’re looking for ready-made, hands-on kits with BOTH word work and comprehension components, check out my brand-new hand2mind Reading Construction Toolkits!

These toolkits include a variety of hands-on manipulatives, 36 lesson cards, and blackline, reproducible recording sheets for 3 differentiated, grade-level bands. They’re perfect for small group reading with enough materials for 4 students to share.

hand2mind reading construction toolkit, infographichand2mind reading construction toolkit, infographic
hand2mind reading construction toolkit components, infographichand2mind reading construction toolkit components, infographic
hand2mind reading construction toolkits, infographichand2mind reading construction toolkits, infographic

HAND2MIND READING CONSTRUCTION TOOLKITS

 

Here are a few more simple ways to add hands-on engagement to your literacy centers and writing block! Pair STEM Bins™ with simple writing prompts for descriptive, procedural, and creative writing. You can also use my printable STEM Bins Quick Writes for quick and easy writing extensions.

literacy centers with stem bins, infographicliteracy centers with stem bins, infographic
literacy centers writing prompts, infographicliteracy centers writing prompts, infographic
literacy centers activities, infographicliteracy centers activities, infographic

HAND2MIND STEM BINS – – – QUICK WRITES

My final favorite way to engage elementary writers is Build A Story! Students build the settings and characters for a story using building bricks/LEGOs®, baseplates, and minifigures. Then they write a creative story about their scenes! These printable Build A Story packs are available for Pre-K-K1st-2nd, and 3rd-5th.

build a story pack, infographicbuild a story pack, infographic
build a story fantasy pack, infographicbuild a story fantasy pack, infographic
build a story pack, infographicbuild a story pack, infographic

BUILD A STORY

 

I hope you love these hands-on literacy strategies as much as I do. Let’s bring that hands-on engagement to our reading and writing instruction!

3 months ago
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Brooke Brown

Brooke Brown is a National Board Certified Teacher, public speaker, and teacher resource developer who specializes in all things STEM and literacy. With 17 years of teaching experience, Brooke has a passion for creating innovative products that foster memorable and engaging learning experiences. You can learn more about Brooke at www.teachoutsidethebox.com!

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