Science of Reading Literacy Centers


Science of Reading Literacy centers will help students practice essential phonemic awareness skills. These mapping mats are perfect to help students segment and blend words!

Word Mapping Mats Aligned with the Science of Reading approach

Science of Reading Literacy Centers

The more I learn about the Science of Reading approach, the more it all just makes sense! I have always been confused about why we are trying to get students to memorize so many words. Shouldn’t we spend more time teaching them basic phonemic awareness and phonics skills? Of course, the answer is yes!

After implementing my Sound Wall, I have seen a major change in the way my students are able to read and spell new words. If you are implementing the Science of Reading approach, make sure to head over here to learn about why research says you should replace Word Walls with Sound Walls!

Today I’m sharing how I use these literacy centers with my students. These centers help kids really practice those essential skills that research says is a necessary part of the learning to read progression.

Say it! Tap it! Map it! Write it! Word Mapping Mats

Segmenting Words

In order to write words, students must know how to segment a word into the individual sounds or phonemes. If you say “mop”, are students able to recognize that /m/, /o/, and /p/ make up that word? There are so many ways to practice this skill.

I like to have students say the word, tap the word, map the word, and finally write the word. You can see that in the above photo.

Word Mapping Mats for Kindergarten, First, and Second Grade Students

Say it!

First, children should say the word aloud. This helps them to hear the sounds and recognize the way their mouths pronounce the sound. I like to ask students to put their pointer finger on the picture as they say it out loud.

Have you heard this fun song? It is to the same tune as the nursery rhyme we know as “Brother John” or “Frere Jacques”. I sing it every time I want them to use their index finger. I start with my pointer finger (index finger) behind my back and bring it out in the middle of the song like I just found it.

It goes like this, “Pointer finger! Pointer finger! Where are you? Where are you? Will you come and help me? Will you come and help me? Touch and name? Touch and name!”

Science of Reading Literacy Centers

Tap it!

Next, it’s important that students can segment the word. One way to do this is to “Tap it!”. You can ask students to simply use a finger or a pencil. Another way to do this is to use a magician’s wand or fairy wand. This is just one way to make it more fun for children!

Segmenting and Blending with Word Mapping Mats

Map it!

Then, children will “map” the word. Mapping the word helps students visually see how many phonemes are in each one. You can do this by asking students to write the letters in the “Map it!” spot or simply use any kind of manipulative there. I love to use mini erasers for this purpose. Remember, that you can pair these mats with any small object of your choice. Use your imagination and switch it up each time to make these mats seem fresh and new for kids!

You may have guessed that I have a teensy obsession with mini-erasers by this point! The kids love walking over to choose any type they want. I love that you can find packs of them for just a dollar and engagement goes through the roof when they get to have that choice!

By the way, if you love mini-erasers as much as I do, head here to see how I use them with task cards!

Literacy Centers that Use Play Dough

Write it!

Finally, I ask kids to write the word. This is where students use their knowledge of graphemes and really connect those sounds to letters. I let my students use a pencil on the black and white mats when they are working on these for extra practice.

However, to really add excitement, simply slide these mats in dry erase pockets and let them use a dry erase marker. They LOVE using those!

Word Mapping Literacy Centers for Kindergarten, First Grade, and Second Grade

Science of Reading Literacy Centers with Play Dough

I personally think it’s so fun to use play dough with my students to practice this skill. Let’s be honest, what child doesn’t love play dough?

To begin, roll 3 small balls for each word. Students will quickly press the balls down while segmenting the word. This is so fun in the “Tap it!” section. Something about that play dough really adds to the engagement and excitement!

Play Dough Word Mapping Mats

Mapping Mats

These mats can be found here. For the sake of these photos, I just set these out to take the picture, but if I was using these with my students, I slide them in a dry erase pocket or sleeve. This way you can use them again and again! You will find dozens of options for every short vowel in both color or printer-friendly black and white.

I like to use the color ones with a small group, for early finishers, or morning work. I send the black and white ones home as extra practice so students can show parents what they are working on.

The way we teach kids to read is changing and this is a great way for children to “teach” their parents.

Word Mapping Mats Aligned with the Science of Reading

Science of Reading Literacy Centers Bundle

Of course, the best way to try these with your students is to grab the bundle. This bundle is PACKED with so many ways to practice skills aligned with the Science of Reading approach. You get the best value for your money but also SO MANY ways to practice essential phonemic awareness skills. The flip it mats you see above are so much fun and part of the bundle.

As always, please me know if you have any questions friends!

Happy Teaching and Parenting this week!

Author: hilarystatum

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