Grades K-5 ~ Café/Daily 5


    The Daily Five:

    The Daily Five is more than a management system or a curriculum framework.  It is a structure that helps students develop the daily habits of reading, writing, and working independently that will lead to a lifetime of literacy independence.  The literacy block is student driven, contains high student engagement, contains authentic, meaningful reading and writing, and the majority of the time is spent reading.  What interested us most about the Daily Five was the research base that guides the framework.  It fits in beautifully with our current teaching philosophy and education background in literacy.


    Students have a great deal of choice. They are able to choose which components to work on, where they work in the room and have flexibility in what they work in within each of the blocks. Student choice, promotes high engagement. It is not only best practice but fits extremely well with the school wide commitment to Responsive Classroom.


    Daily Five allows students to work independently while the teacher is working either one-on-one or in small focused literacy groups, customizing each child’s learning experience. In between rotations the class comes back together for whole group mini-lessons. These lessons are brief, respecting what we know about child development. Students need less time with the teacher as the center and more time engaged in real learning. Students are more focused during direct instruction when attention is given to how they learn best and developmentally appropriate time considerations, in line with Responsive Classroom and our teaching philosophy.


    The Components of the Daily Five

    1. Read to Self
    2. Read to Someone
    3. Work on Writing
    4. Word Work
    5. Listen to Reading


    Read to Self:

    Each student has an individual book box with books that are a "Good Fit." We learn how to pick a "Good Fit" book following the guidelines of "I Pick."

    I choose a book

    Purpose- Why do I want to read it?

    Interest- Does it interest me?

    Comprehend- do I understand what I am reading?

    Know-I know most of the words. 

    Students also learn about "Three Ways to Read a Book."  We learned that we can read the pictures, read the words, and retell a familiar story.  The best way to become a better reader is to read every day! 


    Read to Someone:

    Reading to someone helps students grow as readers. Partner reading allows for more time to practice strategies, helps to build fluency, uses the strategy of check for understanding, allows children to hear their own voice and provides time to share in the learning community.  Students practice different ways to read with a partner such as:

    1. I Read, You Read
    2. Choral Reading
    3. Reading one book together 
    4. Read two different books  


    Work on Writing:

    Students work individually or with a partner on a writing of their choice.  They may be continuing the writing they began in writer's workshop but ultimately it is a sustained writing of their choice. Students might work on:

    1. Persuasive writing such as convincing friends to read a favorite book
    2. Friendly letters
    3. Recounting a personal event, maybe they lost a tooth recently
    4. Create reports on a topic of current interest
    5. Poetry
    6. Respond to a picture or drawing

    The important goal is that students are spending time writing about something that really matters to them to help them increase their fluency in writing.


    Word Work:

    Expanded vocabulary and correct spelling allow for more fluent reading and writing thus speeding up the ability to comprehend what is read and get thinking down on paper.  Students practice spelling patterns and high frequency words using hands-on materials such as play-dough, letter tiles, letter stamps, and Wiki sticks.  Students also sort word cards into categories in order to make connections to spelling patterns. 


    Listen to Reading:

    Hearing good examples of literature and fluent reading expands students' vocabulary, builds stamina and helps them become better readers.  They are provided with the opportunity to listen to fluent reading and hear new vocabulary. 


    Building Stamina:

    Many parents are amazed to hear their child speak about building "stamina".  It's not a typical word you hear first graders say!  When we begin teaching The Daily 5 parts, the first time we model, instruct, and demonstrate how to do this skill, the students start on their own for 3 minutes.  Every day we add one minute, eventually building their stamina to 30 minutes.  Some days we may only get to do 20-30 minutes depending on special activities, assemblies, or holiday events.  The students "build stamina" for each of the Daily 5 parts. 


    Many parents are amazed to hear their child speak about building   “stamina”. We model, notice carefully and practice each of the five components of Daily Five. In the beginning students may only be able to work for a few minutes but are soon able to work independently for extended periods of time. A typical round of Daily Five may be 15-20 minutes in kindergarten and up to 30 minutes or more in higher grades.


    Check for Understanding:

    This is a comprehension strategy that teaches children to stop frequently and check, or monitor, if they understand what they are reading. Often as beginning readers, children are so aware of reading accurately that they forget to take time and think about what they are reading and check to see if they understand the text.  Advanced readers can develop the habit of reading through the text without monitoring if they were aware of checking for understanding. This vital strategy is not only one of the first we introduce, but is also one we model frequently throughout the year. 


    The Cafe:

    Café is an acronym for Comprehension, Accuracy, Fluency, and Expanding Vocabulary.  Gail Boushey and Joan Moser developed this system which allows even the youngest readers to self-monitor their progress and chart their goals within the larger context of the classroom community. During the Café, the teacher is working either individually or in small groups to provide instruction and practice in the reading strategies students need to master in order to become successful readers.  The teacher works with the students to help them set goals for their reading achievement and provides steps to help the child reach his/her goal.  The children meet with the teacher during literacy workshop conferences to be assessed, to receive focused, explicit instruction, to set goals, and then to follow up on progress.  The teacher plans small-group instruction based on clusters of students with similar needs in one of the Café categories.  These groups are flexible, based on needs rather than reading levels.  Students may be reading different books but are working on the same strategy.  Below are the strategies that are explicitly taught to students during the Café framework.  The cafe is a menu of strategies that are not meant to be used in a particular order but used for particular reading situations.  It is used just like a menu at a restaurant.  You don't eat everything on the menu at the same time, rather you choose several items.  The strategies are used in the same way.  Read below or click here for the Cafe Menu.



    I understand what I read. STRATEGIES:

    • Check for understanding
    • Back up and reread
    • Monitor and fix up
    • Retell the story
    • Use prior knowledge to connect the text
    • Make a picture or mental image
    • Ask questions throughout the reading process
    • Use text features
    • Summarize text; include sequence of main events
    • Recognize literacy elements
    • Recognize and explain cause-and-effect relationships
    • Compare and contrast within and between texts



    I can read the words. STRATEGIES:

    • Abundant reading
    • Look carefully at letters and words
    • Cross checking: Do the pictures and/or words look right?  Do they make sense?
    • Flip the sound
    • Use the pictures: Do the words and pictures match?
    • Use beginning and ending sounds
    • Blend sounds; stretch and reread
    • Chunk letters and sounds together
    • Skip the word, then come back
    • Trade a word/guess a word that makes sense
    • Recognize words at sight



    I can read accurately, with expression and understand what I read. STRATEGIES:

    • Voracious reading
    • Read appropriate-level texts that are a good fit
    • Reread text
    • Practice common sight words and high-frequency words
    • Adjust and apply different reading rates to match text
    • Use punctuation to enhance phrasing and prosody
    • Read text as the author would say it, conveying the meaning or feeling


    Expand Vocabulary I know, find, and use interesting words.


    • Voracious reading
    • Tune-in to interesting words and use new vocabulary in speaking and writing
    • Use prior knowledge and context to predict and confirm meaning
    • Use pictures, illustrations, and diagrams
    • Use word parts to determine the meaning of words (prefixes, suffixes, origins, abbreviations, etc.)
    • Ask someone to define the word for you
    • Use dictionaries, thesauruses, and glossaries as tools 


    Approach to Phonics:

    Students begin building phonemic awareness skills as early as pre-school. This continues through the primary grades. Direct instruction is given in phonics. Bothwhole group and individualized instruction using Words Their Way are utilized beginning, in kindergarten. Words Their Way allows advanced, struggling and on level readers to receive instruction where they are to grow as readers and writers.


    Upper School: Grades 5-8



    Students will sample literature through various genres and authors as they prepare to find a favorite author in preparation for the final eighth grade author research project. Students will continue to build their skills in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The class will have opportunities to share and learn through discussions, skits, small group and individual presentations, book partners, simulations, Socratic seminar, literature circles, cartoons, artwork, photographs, timelines and more.



    Students will develop and strengthen their writing skills both by hand and utilizing technology.  Student writing experiences may include journal writing, creative writing, logs, narratives, literary essays, compare and contrast essays, persuasive essays, survey summaries, and more.  


    Word Study:

    Word study will aid students in word attack skills for reading, comprehension in reading and writing, spelling, and grammar knowledge. Word study will include vocabulary from the text, morphemes (prefix, root, and suffix), and interesting words. Student will utilize mentor sentences to identify parts of speech, utilize synonyms, expand their vocabulary, and improve their writing.