Make the language arts more engaging and fruitful.
Daily 5 Framework
The Daily 5 is a framework for students to practice reading and writing. The framework also provides an opportunity to do so in a way that differentiation is more pertinent. The idea is to increase the time that students spend on reading and writing by using class time, in addition to increase the teacher time spent on actually working with students. I would highly recommend purchasing the book on Amazon and reading it to get an idea of how to go about it. However, there are also tons of blogs that have information on it, although teachers do adapt it according to their own perspectives and needs.
You can think of the Daily 5 as stations that the students rotate through to read without the teacher and to implement what the teacher has modelled to them. There are five parts to the framework:
Read to Self
Read to Someone
Work on Writing
Listen to Reading
The idea around Daily 5 is to ensure the teacher has set out time to go around the classroom to support students. This includes to listening to and observing students while they are reading. That is where the conference part of the CAFE menu comes into fruition. Therefore, in a way, CAFE and Daily 5 go hand-in-hand. However, I often implement CAFE along with independent reading rather than the Daily 5 stations.
Read to Self: As the authors of the book explain, students read books independently borrowing books from our library. One recommendation is to use the I-PICK strategy to help students know how to pick a good fit book. The authors also recommend teaching students how to find a seat that is comfortable. In a large classroom, there may be several different spaces for this, but teachers working with more constraints can find a specific space for students to settle down and read. As students read, they have to remember the three ways to read:
Read the pictures
Read the words
Read the story
In addition, the students have to remember to use the strategies we learn and use from the CAFE menu. This is where CAFE and conferring with students becomes necessary for teachers, as a way to get a snapshot of our students and their reading abilities/needs.
Read to Someone: The students can benefit greatly by reading with each other in pairs. There are several things for them to remember while reading with each other. The first is to model the rules of how to sit quietly, how to use a whisper voice (or an appropriate voice level), and how to select a book. Model all of these before launching Read to Someone because it will give them an insight on how the station works. Moreover, you also have to model the following: (1) selecting a partner, (2) guidelines for how to read with each other, and (3) how to make students beneficial coaches. Each of these is explained in the book. As with Read to Self, the students can select books from the library. You may have a different set of books for Read to Someone if that makes it easier for you and your students. The difficult part comes when selecting a partner and the books. The Sisters mention that the Daily 5 is all about choice, so students should select their own partner and book. Again, you can figure out if that works for you or not. Many of us teach multiple subjects and we have to compromise. Perhaps making pairs ourselves is easier and maybe it is not. You then have to move towards modelling how to read to a partner. Choral reading is one example of how to do it. Another method is partner reading.
Work on Writing: The Sisters discuss how to get students to generate ideas and write about them. They have a system whereby students can also share with each other. As a suggestion, for me it makes most sense to look at the writing rubric and students' level to figure out how to plan the Work on Writing station. The station is vastly different for young ESL students as compared to a sixth grade classroom with many years of practice.
Listen to Reading: At this station, students have to listen to audio recordings of a reader who models fluency. You have to find the technology to really make this worthwhile. Once you do, there are various audio recordings that can be found on YouTube. MeeGenius and Storynory are also really helpful websites to find audio recordings of books. As an aside, there are a lot of teachers who tell me that they just give technology to students without providing them with clear instructions. I am all for experiential learning. However, you have to teach students how to use technology appropriately and how to use it in a way that is beneficial to learning.
Word Work: You have to gather a few materials for students to use. There are tons of word work stations online that can fit into the Daily 5 framework, as long as the focus remains on something that students are learning and require practice with in order to retain information.
FAQs around the Daily 5
Does Daily 5 really work? It is natural for teachers to focus on the long-term success of any strategy or technique. Every classroom is different and so, suffice it to say, that the Daily 5 framework is dependent on that notion. I recommend spending one unit on the Daily 5 and making tweaks throughout the unit to make it fit your classroom. You can decide after that trail unit whether Daily 5 works or not. My recommendation for Daily 5 is not based on the five stations themselves. In fact, what the authors of the book have written about is nothing new. There are tons of teachers who have different stations around reading and writing. This is simply one way. I find their focus on conferring with students more important. If you can find a different routine that still allows you to conference with students while reading, then by all means, go for it.
How many stations should I start with? At the beginning of the year, launch CAFE first. As you teach check for understanding and other strategies, introduce Daily 5 to the students. Begin with Read to Self. I would suggest to first discuss it with students and tell them what it is about. Then show them by "pretending" to go the space itself and showing them how it works. Thereafter, let them try it out for a week or two. You can introduce other stations in the same manner once students get the hang of Read to Self. I would suggest going with Read with Someone and Work on Writing next.
How frequently should Daily 5 occur? The book suggests a schedule with Daily 5 occurring each day. Again, this is really something that the teacher has to figure out. Perhaps it makes more sense for you to carry it out fewer times in the week. I should also mention that doing Daily 5 everyday does NOT mean that students go to all five rotations each day. Typically, each station is 15 to 20 minutes and students go to one student each day. All the students should have experienced each station by the end of the week.
How important is it to implement all five stations? This really depends. The idea is to fit the framework of Daily 5 as per your needs. Of course, the book recommends using all five of them as the year progresses. However, to each their own. The Work on Writing station does not fit for me because I have a writing mini lesson and a time slot for students to write on a daily basis. Most blogs that I read always have Read to Self and Read to Someone because they want to focus mostly on reading when moving towards stations.
What do I need to launch Daily 5? The first part is to really understand Daily 5 and set out norms or rules for each station. You can prepare the charts with all the rules and gather any relevant materials. Many teachers require students to fill out some form of graphic organizer at their stations. The second part is to get BOOKS! This requires a lot of money, but it is super necessary. You have to put together a strong collection of books to make Daily 5 work. You can start off with a smaller collection, but eventually the library has to be more exhaustive. Find a local book sale or used bookstore to get good deals on books. You can also set-up a wish list on Amazon to get family and friends to contribute.