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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

What is this Daily 5?

Seriously??  Am I that out of touch with reality?  I started my summer vacation just a little over two weeks ago and in that small amount of time, I have become immersed in the blogging world and reading about Daily 5.  Needless to say, I have ordered the books Daily 5 and Cafe and am now eagerly awaiting their arrival.  I heard the Daily 5 mentioned once this past year in conversation with a teacher from another district, but I had never heard of it and then never researched it further.  So now, I feel like I am really behind the eight ball!!

I will begin teaching my 13th year this fall, but have only been teaching ELA for four years in a self-contained fourth grade classroom.  The other eight years I taught 6th grade math and social studies.  Preparing for four subjects everyday in fourth grade has been quite overwhelming but I love how exciting my job is!  I just wish I felt better at it because these past two weeks I have felt quite inadequate.

I know I haven't received the books yet, but my number one question from reading information about Daily 5 is why does everyone has book bins?  I have encouraged my students to choose one chapter book to read at a time.  Sometimes we are also reading a novel in class and this is plenty for a fourth grader to be reading at a time.  I know I don't like to start more than one chapter book at a time if I am truly enjoying what I am reading.  We spend time discussing how to choose a chapter book and I have a few hundred in my classroom library marked with AR levels.  They are to take home this chapter book each night and bring it to back to school each day as they would with their homework folder.  I can't keep the books in my room because we started grouping for reading this past year and I have the top readers from the grade come to my room for ELA only 80 minutes each day (which is another whole topic of discussion in itself!).  The students need their free reading material for their regular homerooms during DEAR (drop everything and read) time since my students do not have AIS (academic intervention services).

So, I guess to sum it up, I have the following questions if any of the fellow bloggers would be willing to provide guidance and suggestions for.  Please be patient with me as I am a brand new blogger:)

1.  Do students bring their books home to read for minutes at night? (My students must do this and record the # of pages read on their reading calendar).

2.  Do students have a recommended number of books they must read each month or other time period? (My students must read 4 chapter books a month and score 70% or higher on AR (accelerated reader) books over 250 pages count for two books but for the top readers, the AR level must be 4.0 or higher beginning in November).

3.  How do teachers check for comprehension of books read?  (I use AR to check for comprehension).

Any help would be appreciated and I am very anxious to get started!  I am also trying to follow along with this book study.  It is wonderful!  THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!


  1. Hi, Holly! I think you will really enjoy Daily 5. It is full of great information but is a really easy, quick read. I have not read CAFE yet but have it and plan on reading it this summer. I chose to implement Daily 5 because it ensures that students are only working on worthwhile activities during reading centers. The Daily 5 does not include cutesy centers; the students are engaged in reading and writing activities that are proven and researched to make students better readers and writers. My favorite part of the program is the way the students are trained to be successful at the centers. If you follow the authors' steps, the students really do become trained to stay completely engaged in the centers the entire time. It is wonderful!

    The book bins are used so that students are not wasting their reading time at the classroom library each time they finish a book. So if students finish a book in the Read to Self center, they just pick another book from their book box and keep reading. This is really important for picture book readers who get done with books quickly. Once my students become chapter book readers, I suggest that they only put 1 or 2 books in their book bins because it may take them a several days or a week to finish a book. Students can still take the current book they are reading out of the classroom to read in other classes or at home.

    As you read Daily 5, remember you can adjust it to fit your needs. Last year we ability grouped for reading, so I did not have all my homeroom students. This made it difficult for me to follow Daily 5 exactly how the authors have it set up. I adjusted it to work for my situation and it still worked well. I did not even include the Work on Writing center because I taught writing to my homeroom students, not my reading students. So if book bins don't work for your situation, don't feel like you have to use them. If your students finish a book in their homeroom, you aren't going to want them coming back to your classroom to get a book from their book bins. The only thing I would suggest following to a T are their steps of training the students to work in the centers. A teacher in my school skipped steps because she thought the training part took too long. She found that the students weren't engaged at the centers. The time it takes training them pays off in the long run.

    For you last three questions, you can still do what you have been doing if you decide to start the Daily 5. The Daily 5 is just about the five centers, so teachers still need to make decisions about what the students are required to read at home, how many books are required a month, etc.

    I hope this information helps! I am sorry if I rambled too much. This is by far the longest comment I have ever posted on a blog! :)

    Delighted in Second

  2. That was more helpful than you know, Jennifer!! Thank you so much for taking the time to clarify some things for me. I will be sure to really concentrate on the centers and training the students. This is exciting because I know my centers do sometimes feel like busy work. I am interested to see how they assess center work too because I feel overwhelmed but, at the same time, if I don't check it somehow, a good percentage of even the top readers will start to slack. Thanks again!!

  3. I love, love, love CAFE!!! I have used it for 4 years. In second grade and in fourth. Now that we have a basal series, I have been using a tweaked version.
    I think the book bag also helps the kids know that when they grab it it's time to get down to business. They have all of their reading tools in there. You can also put comprehension cards in for when they do read to someone- some kids, as I'm sure you know, will say that they don't know what to talk about. I have used bags. Last year I used Dollar Tree bins. If you don't have hooks, the bags just end up on the floor and can be filthy in a week. The bins are nice if you have some extra shelving to store them.
    Good luck!!

  4. I just happened to see the title of this post to the side of your blog and had to comment again! I think Jennifer above answered a lot of your questions. I have been using Daily 5 in 3rd and 2nd grade, and love it! If you have any questions about it please feel free to email me. I'm not an expert by any means, but have done it for 2 years now and still love it! A lot of teachers at my school are interested in it this year! Super exciting! :) I hope you try it and I hope you love it as much as I do! :D

    Reaching for the TOP!