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Guided Reading Fun With Graffiti Tables

By Angela Bunyi on March 26, 2012
  • Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

Although reading, talking, and writing about text during a guided reading session is vitally important, I was excited to discover another technique, an idea called "graffiti tables," through a teacher in Knoxville. Read on to see how we managed to incorporate some fun into our guided reading sessions last week.

Graffiti Tables for Grades K–6

Traditionally, I have my students stop, think, and jot down their thoughts in an individual reading/writing notebook. This is part of our regular, weekly schedule. But I knew we needed to try something different and found the graffiti table idea on Miss Stec's kindergarten blog. The “different” in this case involved grabbing two slices of butcher paper, some tape, scissors, and markers. As students entered the room, they started with either spelling practice or editing work. From start to finish, I put a graffiti table together in fewer than four minutes. (I work with small groups throughout the day as an interventionist.) Of course, there was a lot of excitement when I asked students to come and sit at a table with markers and guided reading books sprawled across it. It was as though we were eating at Macaroni Grill (without the worry of high sodium and unhealthy fats).

From here, the premise was straightforward. We used a nonfiction book, and 

  • we divided responsibilities using a jigsaw approach. Students became “experts” over selected pages in the book and were responsible for sharing the content and information on the butcher paper.
  • students used markers to record pertinent information while reading.
  • students added supportive drawings and illustrations to help allure readers to stop and read their information.
  • going in book order, I periodically asked each student to stop and share something they had recorded with the group. I also monitored and assisted with spelling, conventions, and the ability to discriminate important information.

Putting Work Up on Display 

If you are like me, you sometimes struggle with what to put out in the hall. If you take your graffiti tables out into the hall and pin them up, you will have a very colorful display of student work and learning. And that’s just what I did.


Have you tried using graffiti tables in your classroom? How did it work for you, and did your students enjoy the change in routine? Please share your thoughts below.

Comments (14)

I teach 5th Grade in a Middle School Setting and I use a similar "Graffiti Wall" strategy adapted from a high school level reading activity as a way for my students to show their level of story comprehension. After reading the story, Satchmo's Blues, Students write the story title and their name top center of the paper, then fill the page with "art work" (pictures or small signs/posters) to show important events, people, places or ideas from the story. After completing their "drawing" they use colored pencils or crayons to decorate their Graffiti Wall Poster.
The "Graffiti Posters" are amazing! Students give a 2 minute presentation of their poster, which is graded with a rubric ~
This Graffiti Wall activity is so easily adapted to whole group work also.

Can't wait to use the Graffiti Table activity in my class:))

Love this - fantastic! As an elementary Literacy Coach, I will pass this idea along to my staff. Thanks for sharing!

Very cute! Will use this next year! Thanks :)

Glad so many were able to adopt this and use it in their classroom. :)


I love this idea. I think it will be very engaging for my students. Thanks for sharing!! Jennifer S.

I love the idea of doing a graffiti table! I too have used a graffiti wall, but this is a wonderful twist! :) Thanks for sharing! - Amanda N.

I have not used a graffiti table, but LOVE the idea. I have, however, used a graffiti wall. While learning about figures of speech, the students could record them on the paper hanging on the wall as they stumbled upon them in their reading. Also, when studying mythology, I used the same concept for students to share what they learned about mythological creatures, gods, goddesses, and events. It was a great way for them to learn from one another, share their learning, and display their learning to other classes. Thanks for sharing this idea. I hadn't thought of using it to jigsaw information during guided reading!!

I love it!

OUTSTANDING, i am going to use this TOMORROW with my 4th graders reading THE STORM ... about tornadoes... i think they will looooove this idea and activity, i am taking it one step further and having them do visualization pictures along with it
... ty for sharing this --- super

Absolutely love this idea. Thanks...I can't wait to try it.

Love it!!!! What a great idea!

I am a middle school reading intervention teacher, and I can not wait to try this with my 6th-8th graders!! It fits perfectly with *tracking* during reading... we can track and note our inner voices on the butcher paper rather than post-its to mix things up a little. I love it! Thanks so much for sharing an original idea that any age would enjoy! :)

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