3 Literacy Activities for Struggling Students: Starting Now

The two month countdown has begun. I only have so much time left with my students to help them learn as much as possible. As per usual, schedules have been crazy (what DOESN’T happen during the last few months of school?! Motion to move Mother’s Day to the end of January please and thank you) but I have been making a huge effort to work with my weakest group of literacy students every single day on top of everything else. Confession: I didn’t want to say “weakest” so I sat staring at my iPad for a good 20 minutes trying to reword my sentence or say it differently, but I can’t. So. Yea. There’s that.

In order to do this, I knew I would need to be organized. My grade partner and I pow wowed about what we could do for those students in need. I had come to the immediate conclusion that it’s too difficult for those students to do literacy activities that work with the whole alphabet. We needed to get it down to 2 or 3 letters and work our way up from there.

Here are three literacy activities you can do with you students tomorrow to help them out.

1) Highlighter Letters
I created a document with two different letters in a whole bunch of circles. I put about 6 of each letter on the page. The photos below are from me practicing with a group of students learning the difference between C and K. I wrote each letter on a separate sticky note. We practiced before starting, saying the letters out loud and noticing one letter had all lines and one letter was just a curve. After reviewing both the letters, I hid the letters behind my back. I pulled a letter out and asked the students to say it. We did this about 6 times. On the 7th time, I asked them to colour in the correct circle with a highlighter. They. Loved. It. Then I showed them the next letter, and they coloured it in, and so on and so forth. After a few times of them colouring the circle in with a visual aid, I placed the stickies in front of them and verbally asked them to colour in a letter. This scaffolding really set them up for success. It was very important for me to have ALL the students say EACH letter EACH time. If not, they would just be matching the letter, not recognizing and saying it.



2) Sticker Letters

I used the same templates as the Highlighter Letters activity, and changed it to using stickers. I am obsessed with those, what I like to call, “garage sale stickers” from Wal-Mart. You get 300 in a pack and they are only a dollar! They’re like the kind of stickers you see at garage sales, because people use them to mark prices on items. I use them for pretty much everything else in the classroom. Bonus: fine motor practice. Woot!
I wrote out the two or three letters on two sheets of stickers, and practiced and modeled the same way I described in the previous activity. And again, they loved it.



Simple Sort

It’s embarassing I didn’t come up with this one sooner. I cut a piece of paper into 12 pieces and wrote each letter 6 times. I also like to include a happy face drawing in the top left hand corner, Handwriting Without Tears style, so there is no confusion regarding upside down letters. We practice, flip them all over, and then sort them one at a time. This is a great reinforcement activity to do either after or before any of the above mentioned activities.


It was super simple for me to snap a photo of each student’s work and put it into their Evernote e-portfolio right after. I also commented on their strengths and difficulties during the activity. I have even had parents ask for copies of the activity to do at home, which I sent easily in an email.
If you would like the template from the first two activities, please DM me and I will send them to you.