Thursday, 22 October 2015

Why choose the Daily 5?

I've been searching for the words to begin this post that will encapsulate what the Daily 5 is all about and, more importantly, why I chose to leap into action and use it as a starting point for change in my teaching practice.
As I said in my last post, training as a Reading Recovery teacher, and learning to be really thoughtful and observant in my interactions with one child led me to search for ways to replicate this in my classroom.
These words from The Daily 5, 2nd Edition (Boushey and Moser, 2014, pp7-8), might provide some insight into what grabbed my attention. They describe a class in the middle of a Daily 5 round.
Looking about the room, you may have to hunt a bit to find us. When you do, you will discover us deeply engaged with a small group of two or three students as we practice a comprehension strategy together, or immersed in modeling a new accuracy strategy in an individual conference. The days of leaving our small group or conference to manage children are behind us. We actually have our backs to the rest of the class - we're not even looking at them! Yet the rest of the students in the class are working by themselves, completely independent.
That was what I wanted - to be able to focus on teaching, freed up from behaviour management and other interruptions, while at the same time being confident that children were on task and engaged in worthwhile work.

What the Daily 5 offers is a step by step guide in how to make this work in your classroom, focusing on 5 literacy activities:

  • Read to Self
  • Work on Writing
  • Read to Someone
  • Listen to Reading
  • Word Work
The Daily 5 itself doesn't provide the content for teaching. It provides the structure and the method for teaching student independence.

These are the benefits of the Daily 5 as I see them:

  • Teachers are guided to gradually release responsibility to students, giving choice within a focused structure and explicitly teaching students to work strategically to achieve their literacy goals.
  • Students are taught to work independently, engaged in authentic reading and writing activities while the teacher is freed to teach small groups and confer one to one.
  • Students are supported to set and achieve individual literacy goals through ongoing assessment and record keeping, effective group teaching, one to one conferring and whole class mini-lessons.
So there you have it. The hook for me was the picture of teachers teaching and children reading and writing independently. It's as simple as that.

And, by the way, it's fun.


  1. Have started Daily 5 with my Year 3s this term as well so interested to hear how you are going. My Year 3s are very excited about being able to choose.However we are having a few issues. I am finding some of my Year 3s are spending too long on their preferred activiites like listening to reading but leaving writing until the last. Some more conferencing needed I think!

    1. Yes, I encounter similar issues. I try to stand back a bit before leaping in to correct what I see as going wrong. With listen to reading the technology is very compelling for some children. One solution I've used is to manipulate things a bit. The children must clock up a minimum of 4 Read to Self sessions in a week and a maximum of 3 Listen to Reading sessions. On Friday they are allowed to view Video for Kids - which is a very popular app, not strictly Listen to Reading. The outcome of this, (not entirely predicted) was that children began to be strategic, saving one Listen to Reading session for Friday. I wouldn't say this is an ideal solution, but I was pleased to see the strategic thinking going on.
      I know things are going really well when Read to Self becomes the top choice without such manipulation.

  2. We do Daily 5 every morning from 9am to 10.55am Monday through Thursday. The routine is so engrained that even the relievers can continue with the programme as the students know the routine so well. And you are so right, I have my back to the class and everyone is meaningfully engaged. The expectations are clear, and everyone knows that I check their writing before the end just to make sure it's done. They kids love it, and independence is strong in my Year 4 class now.