Saturday, June 20, 2015

Daily 5 Book Study: Chapter 1

Hello! I'm so excited to be joining a wonderful group of blogger friends for an online book study of The Daily 5. I'm not in a classroom anymore where I could implement Daily 5, but I do want to be a resource for teachers in my school so I can support them while they try out Daily 5, so that's why I decided to get a little refresher and read the second edition of The Daily 5 book. :)

The first chapter provides an overview of Daily 5 and talks about how Daily 5 has changed since the first book came out. I was particularly interested in this chapter because it was exciting to think about how input from other teachers and more experience from the sisters may have changed the Daily 5. 

This chapter begins with a little history of how Daily 5 came about and compared their pre-Daily 5 days to now. They create a scene for you to visualize what Daily 5 really looks like: a calm hum, kids on the floor with book boxes full of "good fit books," some kids partner reading, others students sitting at tables or the floor writing in their journals, and others engaged in word word activities, all while the teacher is engaged with a focused reading group or one-on-one conferring with a student. Sounds pretty nice, right? 

One important way that the Daily 5 has changed is that they no longer do all five rounds of Daily 5 each day. I never could get through 5 rounds so I was happy to hear this. They now recommend three rounds of Daily 5 for students with less stamina and two rounds for students who can work independently for longer periods of time. For me, 3 was the magic number for most of the year but I began the year with 4 since they needed to build up that stamina. It all depends on your class, though! That's another change in this new book. The sisters recognize that the way you set up your Daily 5 time may change from class to class. 

Another change is that they now introduce Work on Writing second. (It used to Read to Someone.) I also love this change. When I did Daily 5, I always introduced Read to Self first and then Writing because I liked that, with both of those, students were responsible for themselves. Read to Someone always took a little more training since you were putting two kids together. Again, they say do what works for you though. :) I also like introducing Work on Writing earlier because students were learning expectations for writing early on and could begin to build their writing stamina. 

Building Stamina
One of my favorite parts of the Daily 5 is right at the beginning with building stamina. This works people. When I first read it, I didn't really get how this could help. Then I tried it and wow. The sisters suggest starting small, with two to three minutes. It seems silly, but that truly is the what they can handle at the beginning. Part of the reason why you only start with a few minutes is because you want to set the bar high for behavior expectations. You are building their reading stamina while instilling expected behaviors. The two go hand-in-hand. Yesterday I blogged about building summer stamina. You can click on the picture to download that freebie. 

A graph really helps the class stay motivated. I will be posting another graph to use with your class later when we get into the chapter on Read to Self. 

Structure of Daily 5
Chapter one continues with explaining how the Daily 5 is set up with the Cafe. I highly recommend reading the Cafe book after this one! Another thing I love about this model is the short mini-lessons that happen at the beginning of and throughout Daily 5. You start with a focus lesson (could be from their Cafe Menu) that lets 7-10 minutes. Then students move into daily 5. At this time, your students choose between Read to Self, Work on Writing, Read to Someone, Listen to Reading, and Word Work. 

In a nutshell:

1. Teacher teaches mini-lesson to the whole group (7-10 minutes)

2. Begin the "rounds" (you choose how many rounds your class can handle)
  • Students: Choose between the five options 
  • Teacher: Meets with a small group or meets one-on-one to confer with students
*Between each round, there is another mini-lesson. This is the part that I struggled with. I'm anxious to reread the book so I can figure out where I went wrong!

My favorite part about Daily 5 is how it is really an amazing management system within the framework of a reading block. That's what changed my teaching life the most! I remember when I first read this book, I loved all the ideas for Daily 5, but I mostly benefited from the management ideas. This second book goes even further with making our lives easier because they present Daily 5 with a little more flexibility. The overall theme is the same though: "...creating routines and procedures that foster independent literacy behaviors that are ingrained to the point of being habits." I always thought I was creating independent literacy behaviors, but I truly wasn't because I wasn't spending enough time teaching, modeling, and practicing the desired behaviors. Students become accountable, independent, and more engaged.

Some highlights from the book on management:
  • Teach and practice desired behaviors until they become habits.
  • Spend at least 20 days teaching these expectations (building stamina, teaching, reteaching, and practicing behaviors, and assessing needs of your students.) 
  • Students self-monitor behavior: reflect and set behavior goals
  • Point systems are out the window. Instead the class practices, defines and knows how to behave. (This is one area I need to work on. I still hang on to my points at times.)
  • Students who are not following behavior expectations need to practice those behaviors for a short amount of time at recess. They need to make that an "articulated goal" to work on.

I hope you join us again for our Daily 5 book study. Head on over to the Brown Bag Teacher, who is hosting chapter one. There you will find a linky to all the other bloggers participating. Even if you are not a blogger, you can participate through commenting. :)


  1. Thank you for highlights from the book. I read the first, and now it's good to "read" the revisions.

  2. I'm excited to see what the second book has in store. I also read the first book and knew there was no way I had time in my day for my first graders to go through all five rotations. This year I really want to focus on allowing more independent choice and really hammering those expectations. I am excited to see what you post next!

    Paiges of Learning