September 9, 2016

Daily 5: A Literacy Framework that Works for Me!

Do the words Daily 5 ring a bell when you hear them?  Do you find yourself searching Pinterest or Google to find educational blogs offering a deeper explanation about this AMAZING literacy framework!  Are you interested in purchasing the Daily 5 book with intentions of implementing the framework in your classroom this year?  Are you that teacher who's afraid to put down the reading manual your district has adopted and pressures you to follow?  Does it stress you thinking about not having complete control of every student while meeting with a guided reading group?  Or, does allowing your students the freedom to select a book of their choice without your supervision have you like....
If you answered YES to any (or all) of these questions, I hope this post will bring encouragement and inspire you to learn more about how Daily 5 can impact your students and provide growth for each one of them.  You may be wondering, "How in the Sam Hill is it possible that EVERY student succeeds and shows growth with a student population ranging from students in the gifted program to ELL/ESL students, and all in-between!  I'll let Taylor share a word on how she feels about Daily 5...


You may be thinking, "So where in the world do I start?"
1.  I would recommend getting your hands on a copy of the Daily 5 book or ebook, written by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser, and read that sucker from stem to stern!  Summarize it and prepare to follow it to a TEE!    
2.  I took my summary of the book and created myself an instructional PowerPoint.  I wanted to make sure I had dotted my i's and crossed my t's when I introduced each component to my students.    
3.  When I was ready to launch this literacy framework with my students, I began by asking them how they "moved" into my classroom that morning....of course, they all said, "I walked in the classroom."  They pretty much looked at me as if I was crazy, but I followed up by saying, "So...although each one of you are able to walk, did you know that each one of you took your first steps at a different age?  For some of you, you may have started walking at 9 months old, others at 11 months old, and maybe some on or around your first birthday, but today EVERY ONE of you walk without any problem."  This led me into explaining that reading is just the same, and although we may not learn to read at the same time, the end result is, WE WILL ALL LEARN TO READ!  
This lesson seriously nips anyone making fun of another student because of their reading deficits in the bud.    

4.  I lead right into the Daily 5's recommended "SHOE LESSON".   I literally bring a plastic garbage bag FULL of different shoes.  

The shoe lesson allows me to explain how each person selects a shoe that is a GOOD FIT for them.  I tell them that many people really do not know how to even select a book at the library, and I inform them that selecting shoes and a book have many things in common.  Because each shoe is specific for a gender, interest, size, and purpose, I am able to explain that books are also specific to each person.  For example, I tell them that the Harley Davison riding boot does not fit my foot, nor do I have an interest in riding motorcycles; therefore, that would not be a good fit for me, but it's a perfect fit for Mr. Avery because it's the right size and he has an interest in riding motorcycles.  I also tell them that just because Mr. Avery likes that shoe for riding bikes doesn't mean I have to.  I explain that if I was in the library, I would not select a book about football if I did not have an interest in football...EVEN IF MY BEST FRIEND SELECTED A FOOTBALL BOOK!  Ahhh......  Once the shoe lesson has been taught, it's like the students GET IT when it comes to selecting a Good Fit book.  We then discuss my "I PICK" poster.

I now apply the Shoe Lesson by demonstrating some books, and I let them know that even teachers have to follow the Good Fit rule when selecting a book!  First, I show them my book that is TOO BIG for me....  (Yea, that's my forestry book with a gazillion pages in it.)  It is a non fiction book containing the scientific names of every tree and shrub under the sun.  Even using my best Saxon Phonics decoding skills, I SLAUGHTER the names and cannot even pronounce them!  I explain that not only do I NOT have an interest in reading about trees and shrubs, I can't even pronounce the words in the book, therefore, there is no way I will understand what I am reading.  #toobig #toohard #notinterested

The next book I demonstrate is a Clifford board book.  I open it and begin reading as if it is a breeze...because it is!  I ask my students if they think it's appropriate for an old lady like me to be reading a Clifford book to myself!  We all agree that the book it TOO LITTLE, and it will not help me increase my reading fluency or comprehension skills.  #toolittle #tooeasy #notinterested

The next book I demonstrate is about a girl that has just graduated from high school and is going away to college.   I explain to them that I am very interested in this book since my daughter, Anna Kate, will be graduating from high school this year.  I open to the middle of the book and begin reading a couple of pages.  My students are able to hear me read the words fluently, and they can sense that I am very interested in the book. #perfectsize #GOODFIT #veryinterested  

*Btw...if you happen to be "IN MY SHOES" {no pun intended}, and have a senior getting ready to leave the nest, I strongly recommend Maria Shriver's And One More Thing Before You Go...!
Now, you may be thinking, "How do you actually set up the stations in your room so that everyone (YES, EVERYONE) is ACTIVELY engaged for optimal growth.  So here is a virtual snapshot of my classroom....
Students are assigned a book box.  On the side of the book box I have a laminated bookmark with a specific colored circle (red, blue, green, yellow).  The colors divide my students into groups of about five or six students.  There's really no rhyme or reason on how the students are grouped, unless behavior becomes an issue.  I literally fan out the bookmarks (facedown) and students choose a bookmark, and voila, that is the group they are in.  They stay in that group for the entire year.  I used to have the bookmarks loose in their boxes, but I had a few rebels try to pull a slick one on me by switching bookmarks.  Those days were over.  

On Mondays, students select 3-5 books for their book box.  We do not actually go to Daily 5 rotations on Mondays, we just prepare so that Tuesday-Friday we are ready to roll! 
These are the rotations for each colored group.  You will notice that EVERY DAY students go to Read to Self.  Students may choose which station they want to attend first, but they all go to Read to Self.  Once students quickly settle into their rotation, I begin randomly calling students to meet with me at my horseshoe table for small group/RTI.  During that time, based on the needs of the students I have called, I may work on grammar skills, comprehension skills, discuss and make corrections on reading tests, play a phonics game, etc.   After we meet for about 20 minutes, the students return to their Daily 5 Rotation.
As mentioned above, Read to Self is a rotation that every student goes to each day.  They select one of their 4 or 5 books from their book box, and read for 20-30 minutes.  THEY LOVE IT!  Most students stay at their own desk during Read to Self.

This is Zach, and he decided to go to Read to Self today for his first rotation.  Zach is reading on or slightly above grade level.  After about 20-30 minutes (and yes, it took about six weeks for us to build up our stamina to be able to stay engaged for that long), he will then rotate to Work on Writing.  He is reading his first chapter book, and he feels like a rockstar! 
Sophia also chose to go to Read to Self first.  Sophia is in our gifted program and is reading on a 5th grade level.  She has fallen in love with the Little House series!  Because she is reading a book that is a GOOD FIT for her, she is increasing her vocabulary and comprehension skills.  Can you even imagine if she was reading in a 2nd grade reader how bored she would be?  Not to mention, her reading growth would be ZILCH.  

Anna, shown in the video below, is reading a Pete the Cat book which is a GOOD FIT book for her.  Anna is an ELL student and moved from Mexico to the United States.  Each day, she goes home from school to a non-English speaking home.  As you can imagine, Anna is not able to receive any reinforcement from her parents, and because of the language barrier, Anna is reading on a much lower level than her classmates.  Again, just imagine how difficult the stories in the 2nd grade basal would have been for her the first half of the school year.  Nonetheless, she is building fluency, understanding what she is reading, and gaining confidence like a champ!  
As I said, Anna was way below grade level when school started.  In fact, she was reading on a .9 reading level, and did not know all 36 kindergarten sight words.  The video above was taken around March, and by May, Anna was reading on a 2.2 reading level.  Anna never made her A.R. goal, but we worked so hard trying to make sure she made her goal.  For the first time, Anna made her goal during the third and fourth quarters of the school year.  It was the most incredible, not to mention emotional, time for me as her reading teacher.  As we described our Terrific Kids, which the kids do not know, for the 3rd quarter's Honors' Roll Assembly, I could barely get through the speech.  Her peers cheered for her as if it was the winning touchdown of a nail biting football game.   These are the moments that we as teachers remind ourselves, "It's not about the income, it's all about the outcome."     
Work on Words provides students with choice as well!  They love using markers, alphabet beads, Wikki Sticks, and other manipulatives to practice their weekly words.  

These two students chose to go to Work on Words first.  They both selected an activity from the Work on Words literacy station.  In my Work on Words station, I have a variety of phonics and grammar based activities.  I also provide extra copies of our weekly study guides in the station.  This eliminates students from wasting even one minute having to go get their copy from the binder.  It also guarantees them not to leave their copy at school and then not have it for home.  Each study guide has a list of that week's selection vocabulary words, academic vocabulary words, and spelling words so students can practice working with their words.  Some of the activities I have for students to choose from include:  dry erase boards, Bananagrams, letter tiles, magnetic letters, Write the Room wands and swords, file folder games, Bingo, etc.
Listening to Reading is so beneficial for students.  As they listen, they are able to follow along the highlighted text in the ebook.  
These students are at Listening to Reading.  They log into our parish library's website, and they have access to Tumblebooks.  Tumblebooks is on online library full of a variety of ebooks.  They can choose the ebooks of their choice to listen to.  They often have time to listen to three or four books once we have built their stamina.  They LOVE Listening to Reading!  
The students in the picture above are at Work on Writing.  They each have a writing journal and keep it in their Daily 5 book box.  They can choose to write about anything they want to.  They get so engaged in writing that oftentimes it can take several weeks to complete their story.  If they come to the writing center and are struggling to think of anything to write about, I always provide a monthly writing menu, as well as, a variety of engaging monthly writing prompts in the station for them to choose from.  The goal is to not have students waste ten minutes trying to think of something to write about.
The students shown in the picture below are at the Read to Someone rotation.  Read to Someone is a perfect way for students to build fluency and build comprehension skills.  The authors of Daily 5 recommend that the stronger reader reads first.  There are several ways for students to Read to Someone, but it is MOST important that the students sit "EEKK".  EEKK stands for "Elbow to Elbow Knee to Knee, I read to you and you read to me!"  It is important that the book is shared between the two students and each student holds a corner of the book.  Some of the ways students can Read to Someone include:
1.  I Read, You Read:  The stronger student reads a page or paragraph, and then the other student reads the same page or paragraph.
2.  Each student has their own book.  One student reads a page from their book, and then the other student reads a page from theirs.  
3.  Choral Reading:  Students read the same page or paragraph at the same time. 
Students can practice questioning each other about their book to increase comprehension.  
If you are planning to implement Daily 5 in your classroom this year, I would love to answer any questions you might have.  If you already use Daily 5 with your reading class, what experiences have you had?  What are some activities you use in you Work on Words station?  

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  1. I love the ideas in this post! Thank you!

  2. "It's not about the income, it's all about the outcome." - so true!