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September Reading Centers for Upper Elementary

The beginning of the school year is hectic!  It really doesn’t matter if you are a new teacher or veteran teacher.  It’s a crazy busy time for all teachers.  One of the best pieces of advice I received as a new teacher was this: don’t reinvent the wheel.  At the beginning of the school year, this means using the resources that are available so that you can provide great skills based lessons with little or no prep.  This frees up time for all the other things that take time at the beginning of the year.  These September reading and writing activities will help you fill your lesson plans and save time!

September reading centers and literacy activities for third, fourth and fifth grade

That advice I received, well it served me well year after year.  With the entire year ahead of you, there is plenty of time for new lessons would make Pinterest proud.  But in the first few weeks of school, fill your lessons with great skills based activities that require less of your time.  At the end of the day, you’ll be glad you did.

No Prep Reading Activities

No Prep – now those are words that ring like beautiful music in a teacher’s ears, especially at the beginning of the year.  These no prep reading activities will get your students working on important reading skills in a fun and engaging way.

September Reading Passages

upper elementary nonfiction reading passages and questionsThese non-fiction reading passages are a great way to get your students back into the swing of class.  All of the passages are designed for September.  Their theme and ideas are a great way to connect what students are doing in class to the real world.

While some are connected by theme, like this reading passage about the real Johnny Appleseed, others relate to September holidays and observances.  Your students will learn about Labor Day, Patriot Day,  Johnny Appleseed and more.

Each nonfiction reading passage also includes questions that work on a variety of key reading comprehension skills.

You can use these passages to teach and model comprehension skills, or use as guided or independent practice.

In addition to the nonfiction passages, you also get a poetry passage with questions.  Poetry is one of the genres that seems to get pushed off until poetry month in the spring,  But it can be really easy to teach your students about reading and understanding poetry by incorporating a poem or two each month.

Language Arts Center Games

Although grammar skills and reading are often taught separately, they go hand in hand when it comes to reading comprehension.  Many of the concepts we teach in grammar can be used to help determine word and sentence meaning, and thus help with reading comprehension.

synonym and antonym game for upper elementaryEngage your students in working on these important skills with language arts games that are perfect for independent centers.  The September language arts games will have your students working with synonyms and antonyms, sentence types and prefixes.

This Synonym and Antonym game will have your students working on vocabulary in addition to determining if the word pairs are synonyms and antonyms.

Another fun center game that helps with figuring out unknown words is the Prefix Matching Game.  Here students will draw cards and try to match the prefix to its meaning.  As students learn these meanings it helps them when they face unknown words in their reading.

Your students will also practice identifying different sentence types with an interactive sentence types card game. Students will try draw a sentence and sentence type card that match.

determining sentence types center game

These interactive games are a great way to fill your independent learning time while you are working with small groups.  You can also use these games with the whole class as part of a lesson or review activity.  Games make learning fun!

Writing Fun Too!

writing an autobiographical poemWe can’t have a well-balanced literacy program without writing. With Labor Day kicking off the month of September, there’s nothing better for students to write about than there future career dreams.  Students will use the pre-writing organizer to help gather their thoughts and ideas before writing about their dream job.  Not only is this a great writing activity to connect with Labor Day, but it is also a wonderful way to get to know more about your students.

Students will also work on writing an autobiographical poem. Not only is this a great time to introduce the autobiography genre, but it’s a a great chance to work on writing poetry too.  Students will follow the poem structure to write their own autobiographical poem.   They can also use the provided paper to illustrate their poem.  If you have a fall open house a few weeks after school starts, these poems make a wonderful open house display!

Fill Those Lesson Plans and Save Time!

Your students are going to love these engaging September reading and writing activities and you are going to be confident knowing that they are working on important reading and writing skills.  And the best part is that you you can do both of these things without spending hours preparing.  I hope you’ll add these activities to your lesson plans and then take a little bit of that time you save and do something for yourself.  It’s important to take care of yourself so that you can be the best teacher possible for your students.

Looking for More Resources for the New Year?

The beginning of the new school year is so busy.  These ready to use resources will help you kick off the year with skills based lessons and activities.

If you’re not quite ready for these September reading and writing activities, then pin this to your favorite classroom Pinterest board so you can come back when you are.

reading and writing activities for upper elementary for September


Amy Hughes

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I'm Shelly Rees of Appletastic Learning. First and foremost, I'm a mom of 4 boys, wife of 25 years to Aric, and Wyoming girl at heart. I love being creative, making resources for teachers, baking cookies, Diet Coke, teaching, public speaking, and spreading kindness wherever I can. After teaching in the upper elementary grades for over 23 years, I retired early and focused on creating and helping teachers around the world with my teaching ideas and resources. I also serve as a mentor to hundreds of teacherpreneurs and help them get focused on growing their own successful businesses. With 100% honesty, I LOVE my life! Thanks for visiting! I hope you'll stay awhile and come back often. Read More

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