"One can never consent to creep when one feels the impulse to soar." ---Helen Keller

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Daily 5

I began using the Daily 5 and CAFÉ four years ago. I was completely frustrated with my reading block. This frustration was due in part to moving to a new school where the practices I had used at my previous school just weren't working. I remembered seeing the 2 Sisters book, The Daily 5, while serving for a very short time as a literacy coach. I had been intrigued with it at the time and wondered why no one was talking about it. I purchased it and began to ponder if there was a way to make it work in my new setting. I dabbled with it just adding the features of Read to Self.

I must say I love Daily 5 and CAFÉ. It may not be for everyone and as always, a teacher has to customize a plan to fit her needs, strengths/weaknesses, and administrator’s wishes. I would caution teachers to not use the term Daily 5 to describe their reading instruction if it doesn’t meet what the 2 Sisters have written and published. Call it a modified version.

 The following is how I integrated the Daily 5 into my program and pictures of how it looked in my classroom.
 The most important piece in my opinion is Read to Self. The Sisters recommend starting with it first. It is the cornerstone piece. We began with making our I chart. Those are important pieces as well. Don’t skimp on setting up those procedures or making I charts that the students can refer to because even the best and brightest students will need reminders occasionally. I am one of those that has to tell the kids that I will recopy it to make it look neat, b/c I wouldn’t be able to tolerate looking at it any other way!

                                                         My I chart wall...

Here are some of my students around the room doing read to self. My only really big rule other than the standard ones you would think of like choosing your spot carefully so as to avoid distractions is….. "Do not get under anything". My students always had a tendency to want to get under their desks or under the computer cabinets. I am not comfortable with that because I can’t see their eyes.

One thing I wrestled with when I started was... do I call it “Daily 5” and “Read to Self” when I was starting midyear. We had SSR and station names, etc. I ended up deciding  to go for it. I called the class together, and told them I was going to revamp what we did with our time. I gave them a little information on why, but not too much. They don’t really care…they just want to feel confidence that you are in control and know how to run the room.

 Here are pictures of our students doing Work on Writing. I started with that second. I will share more about our ideas for writing later. We continued to work on Read to Self and Work on Writing separately for now.

Then I added Read to Someone and Listen to Reading. Here are photos of this. For Read to Someone, they could choose their own books, our basal and leveled readers, or from a basket of books. I went to the library every 2 weeks and checked out a variety of picture books (fiction and nonfiction) to place in the basket. For Read to Someone, my school had been a CARBO school when cassette tapes were big, so I brought those in and then utilized 2 of my 3 computers for listening websites.

Then I added Work on Words. I had one of those white Rubbermaid stacking trays with different activities in there to choose from.


I would say to make sure you make your I charts and emphasize the I stands for Independent. This is not station work or group time. Have frequent reminders of what the expectations are when you see behaviors slip. They are kids!!!

 Follow the book and for me joining their website for a year was extremely helpful. The videos they have that demonstrate and model what they are talking about were super. I just did what I saw and it worked.

 For Read to Self, I used the following chart on a clipboard to keep up with what they were reading. You must have some accountability. I did that before I started CAFÉ , and I continued it even after I began the CAFÉ the next year. I called it my Status of the Class, and it can be done anytime of the day or when conferencing as well. I usually took care of it at the beginning or end of the rounds for Daily 5. It is a great way to see if they are really reading without an actual conference.

I write what the students are reading each day and what page they are on. When they finish reading it and take an AR test on it, I highlight it. If they abandon it, I cross through it. I keep all 36 weeks on a clipboard. I can easily flip through and see if they are completing books looking for those highlights or are they starting but never finishing with those crossed out lines. I can also see if it is taking them a long time to complete a book. It is a quick glance with lots of information gathered.
For Work on Writing, I created Writing Menus. This idea was adapted from Melissa Forney’s book The Writing Menu. I love her and all highly recommend all of her books. She is incredible in person. You may have noticed in the pictures above the orange paper. That is a writing menu.
*I will include a sample later.

For Work on Words, I had magnetic letters for spelling, word sorts, etc. I also used Patricia Cunningham’s Making Words books and Tim Rasinski’s Word Ladders' books.


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