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Why I “Daily 5” September 9, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — caffeinatedteaching @ 8:41 PM
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You may be familiar with the book, “the daily 5 – Fostering Literacy Independence In The Elementary Grades.” If not, you need to become familiar with it. The authors are Gail Boushey & Joan Moser who are known as “the sisters.”

I implemented Daily 5 into my first grade classroom several years ago when my principal strongly encouraged it. 🙂 Prior to Daily 5, I was using centers as a means for the students to have something valid to work on while I instructed reading groups. I will admit, I was never a fan of centers. They take a lot of time to set up each week and you had to have many options available for the student that was “done” by Wednesday. I felt the amount of available centers was overwhelming to students who were emergent or struggling readers to the point they didn’t even know where to begin. So I was open to a new approach when I cracked open the cover of the daily 5 book.

Simply put and in my own words, Daily 5 is a management style and not curriculum. Instead Of multiple choices, students are given a choice between 5 activities which are clearly defined, modeled and practiced.

The 5 choices or categories are:
Read to Self
Read to Someone
Listen to Reading
Work on Writing
Work on Words


I follow the book quite closely in regard to Read to Self and Read to Someone. My students have book boxes where they keep classroom library books and books they make. They also have their reading group books with them during this time as well as their poetry folders.

For listen to reading I still have books on tape being utilized as well as listening to animated storybooks on Tumblebooks on the computers which we access through our local library.

During work on writing, my class has a journal, a book of lists, a book/movie review book and a book of friendly letters.

During work on words, there are a multitude of choices some of which include: making words with magnet letters, making sentences with magnet words, writing around the room on white boards, reading around the room with pointers, making words using set letters on a chart, boggle, letter puzzles, memory games, etc. I also have a computer dedicated to work on words where we access Spelling City. On this site I can preset a list of words and the games created use the created list.


During Daily 5, I meet with a reading group, a comprehension group or a student one-to-one. Then, we all meet together for a mini-lesson, then the students select a new choice while I meet with another group or student. Then another mini-lesson, etc. The mini-lessons are great for comprehension or reading accuracy strategies as well as phonics/word work lessons. They also allow for time to showcase student work. They also provide a break from independent work time.

Daily 5 has freed me from weekly center creation as well as reviewing stacks of papers the students turned in from center work. Daily 5 has allowed my students to clearly know the expectations and have success at each stage of their morning choices and grow as readers and writers.

Do you Daily 5? I do! And I think you should too! 🙂

Please share some of your Daily 5 successes. I would love some new ideas! Also, feel free to ask any questions you might have regarding Daily 5.


2 Responses to “Why I “Daily 5””

  1. Nancy C Says:

    I just started using the Daily5 this year and I can not get over the tone that it set in my room on Day 1. My fourth grade students in 5 days have increased their stamina from 3 min to 10 min. We did 2 practice rounds of 10 min today. That means these kids read for 20 minutes today!!!! In the past, I had created some fabulous centers to keep the kids engaged while I was working with groups. However, I always had one eye on my reading group and one on all the other kids. My hope is that this Daily5 will help build independence and trust so that all the kids will have their chance at learning.

    I’m nervous about how to incorporate the other parts of the Daily5 – but am anxious to get started. From what I’ve read it is best not to rush. I’m thrilled their is a twitter chat to learn from others like you!

    Thanks for sharing – I will be forwarding your blog to some interested colleagues!

    • Thank you for sharing! I hope you do see the growth of independence and trust. What a great feeling for the students to take pride and ownership in their learning. I feel Daily 5 sets up the environment or as you stated, the tone, to help foster this in the classroom. And yes, what you have heard has been my personal experience…it does take time in the beginning to build this environment through modeling and practice…but the time is well worth it in the end when you can focus on your small group and they can focus on their learning in the classroom. Good luck and as you work through the process, share your successes and ask questions…either here or on twitter. 🙂

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