If you are a teacher, especially in PreK through 2nd grades, you have probably heard a lot about the Daily 5 in the past few years. The Daily 5 is a method of managing Reading and Writing Workshop for younger students created by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser. The Daily 5 incorporates independent reading (Read to Self), partner reading (Read to Someone), reading response (Write about Reading), Word Work, and listening (Listen to Reading) to create a more independent more rigorous and easier-to-manage reading block.
I first began using the Daily 5 when I started teaching 2nd grade a few years ago. Before then, I taught 3rd grade for 3 years. I read the book, researched and read about other teachers who had been using it in their classrooms. By the time school started I was ready! I was immediately sold! My 2nd graders were more independent readers and writers in the first 6 weeks of school than my 3rd graders had EVER been! It was so exciting to see them reading, writing, focused and pushing themselves like never before!
So, last year when I came to 1st grade, I knew it was so important that I start the year with the Daily 5 right away. I wanted to instill a sense of purpose and independence in them to help them become amazing readers and writers.
First, I set up a magnetic word wall. I got the idea from a fabulous Kindergarten teacher who retired last summer but passed on 35+ years of experience to us before she left- THANK GOODNESS!! I used the bottom of my chalkboard and part of a bulletin board to create the word wall.
I used self-stick magnetic tape to make letters A-F magnetic since I used the bulletin board in addition to the chalk board. Then, I created words, laminated them and then stuck magnetic tape to the back.
The great thing about the word wall is that it is very user-friendly! Once I showed the kids how they could take the words with them to where they were working and how to put them back, the kids began using them during reading response and writing ALL the time! It was a huge success!
This one part of the room helped them become much more independent during the Daily 5! They could find words they needed, help each other find words, take them with them to use and put them back all on their own!
To help with management of Guided Reading groups and Reading Center rotations, I created two charts that the kids used to monitor where they needed to be and when.
The top chart was for guided reading groups. This took a few minutes to explain and go over with the kids and then about a week of review right before groups started (2-3 minutes each day). After that, the kids used it frequently and it was great for subs!! I highlighted the children’s names in my class to help them find themselves in the midst of all the 1st graders!
The bottom chart is the centers. I changed out the sticks each day to make sure that students visited all the centers each week. I liked the ease of use for the kids, but I think I will change this for next year somehow. Next year, my kids will have a reading “pair” or buddy that they will rotate with. Also, there will be time for them to go to more than one center each day so I’ll need to reflect that too. BUT, that being said, the sticks were easy to change out and the icons made it easy for the kids to see where to go and with whom.
On a side note: The “What I Need” chart was my students’ idea! They said that having a chart with pictures to remind them what they needed would help them remember, so we made one! And it worked! The kids would even refer new students to the chart when they weren’t sure what to do! GREAT!!
Overall, I have been VERY happy with how much the Daily 5 has helped my students focus on reading and become more independent, focused readers. The key to independent reading is MODELING!! When I first read the Daily 5, I underestimated the “Sisters” emphasis on the need for modeling appropriate as well as inappropriate Read to Self behaviors. But, determined to follow the method, I did it-every day, several times. Also, increasing the amount of time each day to build stamina was a BIG help. We started at 3 minutes (and some couldn’t even make it that long at first) and once the kids got the hang of it, we were able to increase time most days. To help the kids remember what Read to Self looks like and sounds like, I posted a chart on the wall – also helpful for subs!
This program (and the anchor charts) really helped my kids (even my 1st graders) become independent focused readers this year! Not to say we didn’t have to go over the behaviors and refer back to the looks like/sounds like chart every now and then, but overall the kids really came a long way! I have become a Daily 5 Believer, have you?