Simple Literacy Provocations

I know some people get overwhelmed when trying to think of new ideas for provocations. Today I want to share with you some simple ideas for literacy provocations that may spark some new ideas for you! Enjoy!


If you are reading this and wondering what a provocation is, you can read Fairy Dust’s post: What is a Provocation? that will help answer that question for you here


*Note: These provocations are from a Reggio-Inspired Preschool here in Tulsa, OK, Rosa Parks ECEC. These provocations were found in PreK classrooms, ages 4-5.


Chicka-Chicka Boom Boom letter provocation.

img_1981 An ish and Sky Color provocation, so many possibilities here.


Letter making in sand with paint brushes! There is an alphabet flip book hanging on a ring below.


Using stretch bands to make letters on the homemade Geoboard. You can read the post to learn how to make one of your own here.


Storytelling on the light table!


Inviting children to make their own bear characters using loose parts as a follow-up activity to reading stories about bears.


Mini books to use to write or illustrate their stories.


Pre-made books, writing/drawing materials, as well as stamps for this book making provocation.


This provocation literally calls for the building of letters.


Another way to build letters with blocks.


I love the use of the frame as a work space for the children to build their name puzzle.

I think one of the most important things to remember when setting up any provocation is not to over think it. Children will do what they want to do with the materials. Simply think of what you want them to learn from the experience and what tools they might need to do that.

Oh, and don’t forget the books!  

Share which provocation inspired you the most in the comments! 

If you enjoyed the ideas in this post, you will want to check out our free eBook – Provocations: A Start up Guide. Click here to download it!

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  1. Belinda Flucker says:

    I loved the integration of the books with the provocations!

    • Jenni Caldwell says:

      Thank you, Belinda. Adding the books is so important for children to be able to use as reference materials or inspiration.

  2. Jenn says:

    Love this post! I have incorporated the use of baskets throughout my classroom this year
    . Thank you so much. Could you list the books used, I want them all.

    • Jenni Caldwell says:

      Hi Jenn, First of all, thank you! Here is a list of the book:
      *Three Billy Goats Gruff (various versions)
      *Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
      *My Friend is Sad by Mo Willems
      *I Love My New Toy by Mo Willems
      *Alphabet ABC Everywhere by Elliott Kaufman
      *The Construction Alphabet Book by Jerry Pallotta and Rob Bolster
      *B is for Bulldozer by June Sobel
      *Silly Sally by Audrey Wood
      *Bears of the World
      *Bears New Friend by Karma Wilson
      *ish by Peter H. Reynolds
      *Sky Color by Peter H. Reynolds
      *Alphaprints Colors Board Book by Roger Priddy

  3. Tammy says:

    What do you use for the letters? The chicka chicka boom boom? I love these ideas with the books.

    • Jenni Caldwell says:

      Hi Tammy, those are just various magnetic letters purchased from the dollar store!

      • Tammy says:

        Sorry. I mean for the wooden sticks of some sort for letter making? What do the kids do with the magnet letter on the cookie sheet for this book? I have the magnet letters and cookie sheets. Do they make a tree and climb the letters up?

  4. Cassandra says:


    The centre where you are buliding letters with blocks, do you have blackline masters for that you would be willing to share?


    • Sally says:

      Those were made by tracing the blocks! Super simple! Just have to take your time. You might trace it in pencil first and then over it with a sharpie pen with a ruler.

  5. Buffi W says:

    Love the name/puzzle/picture idea!
    And the sand …

  6. Adelheid Hui says:

    Hi Sally,
    In preschool do you start with uppercase letters, lowercase letters, or both? Are letters taught one by one or are they just exposed to them by placing letters on a table, in the sand box etc. When creating signs and props for the dramatic play area do you just use lowercase letters?
    Thanks Sally! I always love everything you do 🙂

    • Jenni Caldwell says:

      Hi, thank you for your kind words! I always believe literacy should feel as natural in the environment as possible just like it is in the world around us. Because of that, letters are introduced in both upper and lower case and as naturally as possible through placement of letters and signage in the classroom.

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