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.