2 Sisters book, The CAFE: Engaging All Students in Daily Literary and Assessment. It took time especially the first year...not an overnight success thing for me. It was difficult to walk away from the security of the basal. You can still incorporate your basal skills and do CAFE. You can choose your basal skills to add to your board and add them as they come in your basal or you can go full blast and add them as the Sisters suggest. I think the strategies that match your state standards and the board organization make a good pairing. The teaching strategies taught in the book are great for making sure that children apply the reading strategies to their reading.
For my third grade class....this is how I set up my week using the basal....
On Monday... For the first whole group lesson, I introduced the new basal story by building background and going over the vocabulary with a powerpoint lesson. This lesson takes longer than other lessons during the week. Then we began our first round of choice.
*I did the call out and select method that the 2 Sisters use. The only adjustment that I made was to use a chart with the Daily 5 choices at the top and names on the side. That way I could just place a check mark in the column. It was easy to glance across the chart and see if they were selecting those elements of Daily 5 that were needed by them. For example, some need to go to Work on Words more often than others. I listed Read to Self first and had five boxes because they have to go everyday, then I had the other 4 choices. Each day students participated in two rounds, one of which was Read to Self .D5check-in.docx
Then, we returned to our seats for a mini lesson on comprehension. This was our basal comprehension lesson, and we added it to our CAFE board during the week. Then, it would be time for the second round of Daily 5 choices.
I always liked to end up the day with a summary of the day/review, and I found that at the end of the reading block was a great time to do those workbook pages if you needed those for evaluation purposes.
On Tuesday, we reviewed our comprehension skill for the week and often used a picture book or powerpoint lesson to teach it more in depth. Then, we began our first round. On the second whole group lesson, we listened to our main basal selection. Off to the second round. Again, I always used the end for any workbook pages for evaluation purposes.
On Wednesday, the mini lesson was vocabulary related and basal related, such as multiple meaning words, or adding affixes, then first round of Daily 5 choices. The second whole group lesson, we reread our basal story. This could be done in different ways. Sometimes we read it to ourselves, other times together, mostly it depended on the story itself. Then, off to the second round, then on Wednesdays, we took our story test at the end of the reading block.
Thursday was a skill lesson related to the second selection of the week (usually a nonfiction reading). First round, then for the second whole group lesson, we read and discussed the second reading selection of the basal. Second round of choice.
*During their two rounds of choice, I met with small groups and did individual conferences. I did a combination of strategy groups and guided reading for small groups. As the year progressed, and I knew my students better, I found myself doing more strategy groups and conferences.
Fridays were my assessment days. I gave the FCAT weekly test and I did SRAs which I LOVE!!!! I only did Read to Self on Fridays.
Sometimes....you just have to break away from that basal and have fun doing a literature unit with a class set of novels. It is a great way to build enthusiasm for reading and to model sooooo many things. Maybe that is why it is often labeled Shared Reading. More about that later.