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What Activities to Choose for Your Reading Rotations

Updated: Mar 2


Reading Groups can be a hectic time of the day in the classroom. By carefully planning and choosing activities, some of the stress can be taken out of it.

Note about Grouping: Traditionally, we have grouped students according to their reading level. With research that supports the Science of Reading, now teachers are grouping students according to skill development.

We have 5 golden rules we try to stick to when choosing activities for our students to do while we are reading with individuals or small groups. Here are our 5 golden rules for choosing activities:

Ok, now we have that covered… Here is a list of suggested tasks that follow these guidelines. Remember we have taken into account that they activities have little to no marking, can be used over and over, are simple (and hopefully quiet) and don’t involve a lot of setting up and packing away.

We know ideas for the upper grades can be limited, but we have included lots of suitable activities for upper primary too (just scroll down). Okay, let’s dive in…

Note: Most of the activities photographed are part of our Reading Groups resource pack inside our membership Transform Your First Years.


  • Match uppercase with lowercase letters

Alphabet peg match cards RSC

  • Make CVC words, tricky words, heart words using playdough, magnetic letters or letter cards

Magnetic letters RSC

  • Rainbow writing words (using special pens or markers)

Rainbow writing with post its RSC

  • Roll and Read focusing on CVC words or word families

Roll and read game RSC

  • Tricky word games such as: memory, bounce table tennis balls into muffin tins and students need to read the word they land on, use pom-pom and tongs to sort and read words

Bounce and read RSC

  • Say it, make it, write it

Say it, make it, write it RSC

  • Fine motor activities using tongs, tweezers or threading beads. We love to combine it with reading like in the image below.

Pom Pom word sort RSC

Grade 1 & 2

  • Word mapping using focus words or tricky words (heart words if you are following the Science of Reading)

Word mapping RSC

  • Rainbow writing words or sentences

  • Syllable counting

Syllable count and match RSC

  • Sorting everyday objects according to the number of syllables

Syllable sort RSC

  • Sorting nouns, verbs and adjectives

Verb, noun, adjective sort RSC

  • Contraction spelling puzzles (this is good for revision for Grades 3-4 as well)

Contraction puzzles RSC

  • Punctuation clip cards

Punctuation clip cards RSC

Grade 3 & 4

  • Punctuation police (a fun way of getting students to edit a text)

  • Segmenting words (use your focus words / graphemes)

Segmenting template RSC

  • Homophone dominoes

Homophone dominoes RSC

Word of the day template

  • Using word wheels to scaffold writing sentences

Word wheels RSC

  • Make a list spinner games

Make a list spinner game RSC

  • Create a mini dictionary using vocabulary found in reading texts

Mini dictionary vocab task RSC

  • Punctuation spinner games

Punctuation spinner game RSC

Grade 5 & 6

  • Listening to podcasts. Some examples include: Imagine This - puzzling science questions; The Fact Detectives - About two curious kids on a mission to find out all the cool facts about everything!; Fierce Girls - Stories about extraordinary Aussie women.

  • Summarizing a text using only emojis

Emoji writing RSC

Word of the Day RSC

  • A mini project, such as a flipbook (that is scaffolded to complete independently) that will engage them in fiction or nonfiction literature. It is also a good chance to integrate other learning topics into your literacy groups too. Examples include our Roald Dahl flipbook, Harmony Day flipbook or Growth Mindset flipbook.

Roald Dahl flipbook RSC

  • Independent Writing prompts (find the writing prompts in the image here).

Writing prompt cards

  • Reading retell

Reading retell - non-fiction texts RSC

  • Sorting figurative language tasks

Figurative language sort RSC

  • Sorting figurative language Noughts & Crosses (you can swap out terms for anything you are working on!)

Figurative language nought and crosses RSC

  • Hexagonal thinking

Hexagonal thinking cards RSC

“Make your reading groups sustainable. Don’t make new activities every week for each rotation. New activities mean more time teaching the activity. Focus on activities that allow for simple rollovers and routine for success.” James (Year 3 teacher)

We know a lot goes into planning Reading Groups so they run smoothly, and more importantly, students are learning! We hope this gives you some inspiration to guide you in choosing fun and engaging activities.

Note: Most of the activities photographed are part of our Reading Groups resource pack inside our membership Transform Your First Years.

In the month of March, we are going to be focusing on All things Reading Groups inside Transform Your First Years

(our supportive teacher membership).

Want in? There just may be an opportunity. Join our waitlist to learn more! But be warned... this will be time sensitive.

Before you go, you might want to grab this FREEBIE to help you with Reading Groups in your classroom. Click here and we will send it straight to your inbox. Enjoy!

8-tips-for-effective-reading-groups-freebie RSC
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8 Strategies to efficiently run reading groups

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