Literacy Center Activities that Combine Reading and Writing

Literacy activities that combine reading and writing reinforce each other and promote learning. In this post, I recommend differentiated literacy center activities that combine reading and writing and share FREE Reading Response Activities for kindergarten, first and second grade students.

I think literacy center time is the best part of the school day!  Yes, centers take time to prepare and you have to work to establish the routines with your students, but once up and running– literacy centers are powerful!  They support improvement in reading comprehension, language, social, and writing development, allow me the opportunity to lead small group instruction, and offer students the valuable practice and review we know they need to master new skills. 

The time we have in centers is limited so I am very intentional about the activities I choose.  I love activities that combine reading and writing. They are so closely linked, they mutually reinforce each other and ultimately promote learning. Studies show that students become better readers, writers, and thinkers when they learn reading and writing together. 

Today I’m happy to share with you three of my favorite literacy center activities that combine both reading and writing.  These activities are all simple to prep, naturally differentiated and offer students choices that keep them motivated, on-task and engaged!  

Reading and Writing Literacy Center Activities

Decodable Sentence Building

Studies have shown, students who use decodable controlled texts in their early reading instruction get off to a stronger start in their reading instruction.  This is because decodable texts give students practice applying the skills you have taught to authentic reading experiences. This connection is essential for building a faster foundation in early reading. We also know that in order for students to master the phonics skills we teach, they must have lots of opportunities for practice and review.

My differentiated decodable sentence building resource gives your beginning readers practice reading and writing words that contain targeted phonics skills you have taught in your whole class or small group reading lessons.  It contains 210 phonics-based controlled sentences and is the perfect extension activity to go along with my Decodable Passages bundle

Each sentence contains target phonics skill words, previously taught phonics skill words, and irregular high-frequency words. This ensures students get the cumulative review we know they need for mastery.  

After building each sentence with word cards, students write the sentence on their printable. To help you differentiate I created two versions of each printable sheet.  One version has a sentence stem that requires the student to only fill in the blank with a target phonics skill word. The other version requires the student to write the entire sentence.

Learn more about these differentiated decodable sentence builders in this post.

Ready to give them a try?? Download a FREE decodable sentence building activity here!

Seasonal Sentence Builders

While the decodable sentences are best for beginning readers, once your students reach the end of 1st grade and move into 2nd grade (and have a firm understanding of the phonics rules), they may be ready to move on from decodable texts. In that case, the Seasonal Sentence Building Activities are the perfect next step.  The Seasonal Sentence Builders don’t just focus on one phonics skill. Instead, they combine all of the phonics skills you have taught.

For this activity, students build seasonally themed sentences with word cards. They WRITE the sentences out and then edit them using a checklist. Finally, they practice building fluency by READING the sentences to themselves and to a friend!  

This resource includes TWO versions of each sentence to ensure all students are appropriately supported and challenged!  

The Sentence Building Center comes with sentences for EACH season of the year! Teach them how to complete the activity just once, and then they can engage in meaningful sentence building and writing practice all year long!  

The resource also comes in digital and printable versions, allowing you to use them for distance learning, or on tablets and computers in the classroom!  

FREE Reading Response Activities

There is nothing better than seeing kids share their excitement about what they’ve read.  I love having discussions about books and hearing students’ thoughts and ideas about what they have read.  Discussion is certainly valuable, but if the goal is to raise reading achievement, writing about the text is more beneficial than talking about the text.  

Reading response activities are a popular way to get kids writing about what they have read.  They offer opportunities for students to strengthen their reading comprehension and give students practice in specific skills such as retelling, predicting, sequencing, visualizing, and more. 

These FREE reading response activities are fully aligned with common core standards and can be used with both fiction and non-fiction texts.  

Each response printable comes in two different versions. The first version can be used with any book you choose, while the second is designed to be used with specific titles from EPIC!

These Reading Response activities make a great no-prep literacy center activity! Making it a center activity ensures you fit “responding to reading” into your day.  All you have to do is print the response sheets out!

Ready to start using these FREE Reading Response Activities in your Kindergarten, first, or second grade classroom?? Simply fill out this form below I’ll send the activities directly to your inbox!   


What are your favorite literacy center activities that combine reading and writing? I hope the information and resources I’ve shared today will help you to make the most of your literacy center time. 

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