The benefits of writing centres include:
1. Practice. No one does anything well unless they practice, by setting up writing centres regularly in your classroom your students will get lots of writing practice. You can even structure writing centres in such a way that students are practicing a particular still at each centre which you will have given a pre lesson before the writing centre about that particular skill. For example, you could do a lesson on using descriptive language in writing and have writing centres that all involve descriptive language.
2. Novelty. With writing centres students will be able to write in a variety of different ways and forms during writing centre time.
3. Independence. Set up with the right structure and routines writing centres will allow students the independence to work independently.
4. Allows opportunity for small group time and for student/teacher 1:1 time. You could make one centre an extra help station, or you could use centre time to work with those student who may need the extra assistance.
A variety of accommodations can be made to help students who may struggle to work independently at a writing centre. Ideas to help these students feel successful might include: using technology to assist with the writing process. iPad apps such as Story Maker, where students can make their own stories using picture and recording their voices with the app, or Dragon Speech Recognition Software where students can use technology to type for them. Students can also draw pictures and make comic strips to tell their stories, or you can have a helper use a highlighter to do the writing for a student, and the student traces over the highlighter to practice their printing.
How to set up writing centres in your classroom:
Writing centres can be set up in a variety of different ways. You could have a writing centre set up in the classroom for early finishers, or you could have a rotation of centres set up so that everyone spends a small amount of time at each centre, and when the timer goes off everyone moves to the next centre. You could also set up 4 or 5 centres and allow students the opportunity to choose what centre they would like to work at.
Also check out this blog post I made last year that includes directions on how to set writing goals.
My TPT store has a variety of writing centre resource packages, and also a bundled package where you can purchase all of my writing centres products for a discounted price. Click the links below to check out my writing centres products:
Hurray for Writing Centres
Halloween Writing Centres
Christmas Writing Centres
Valentine's Day Writing Centres
Spring Writing Centres
and Writing Centers Bundled Package
I also have all of these products available with both American and Canadian/British spellings of "Centre" or "Center".