Disclaimer... and credit where credit is due!

This blog is simply my thoughts, ideas, and suggestions related to the Daily Five and Cafe. I give full credit to the creators of both Daily 5 and Cafe, Gail Boushey and Joan Moser, also known as The Sisters. I have attended their workshops, read their books, and subscribe to their website. Everything else, I've interpreted on my own! :)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Guided Reading and Daily 5

After a great conversation with my friend Nicole (@OhioNicole) yesterday, my mind keeps going back to something that we talked about. I know that I've been talking a lot about conferring with individual readers and dabbling in using strategy groups with my first graders. However... the Daily Five absolutely can and does work well for those classrooms using the traditional guided reading format!

For the past three years, I was meeting with guided reading groups as my first graders were engaged in their Daily Five choices. The Daily Five provided the structure for the authentic reading and writing tasks while I provided the small group leveled literacy instruction. It worked well for me and my kids! Because we had the Daily Five structure in place, I was able to meet with groups without having to stop and redirect off-task children. I didn't have to stop and plead with my little learners to quiet down. Thanks to our I-charts and the time we spent building our stamina, those incidents were few and far between.

For the past 15+ years, I have been meeting with guided reading groups as the main focus of my literacy instruction. My principal for many of those years worked for the Wright Group and presented workshops on guided reading. It was the end-all, be-all of our literacy instruction. It was only after reading the CAFE book, Preventing Misguided Reading, More Than Guided Reading and many other professional resources that I started realizing that guided reading as I knew it had become too scripted, too over-valued. For a while in my classroom, it just didn't "feel right" any more but I couldn't put my finger on it. After those professional reads, I felt like I was finally coming out of the tunnel.

I'm still learning, but I am conferring with readers individually in my classroom now. I'm using guided reading if and when my readers need that supportive structure (and some definitely do!) I've learned that over the course of the past 15 years, children have changed... and I needed to change, too. That being said, I still see the value of using the guided reading structure as a part of my literacy instruction.

I guess what I needed to say is this... guided reading can definitely work with the Daily Five. Many districts and teachers are doing this very successfully!


  1. Hi Laura
    I'm so glad you raised this point with your post.
    I totally agree that guided groups can work well within the Daily 5 structure.

    I think that it is important that teachers realise that Daily 5 is just another tool.
    Just as the kids use whatever they need at that moment from the CAFE menu, teachers can also make choices and use whatever strategies they know (eg strategy groups, guided groups, individual conferences etc.), to fit the needs of the child at that time.

    Flexibility is the key, no one program fits all.


    1. Judy,
      I loved your comments and couldn't agree more! Teachers MUST have the flexibility (and ability) to adjust their instruction to meet the needs of the kids. Thanks!

  2. Laura
    Enjoyed your post, I agree Guided reading fits easily into Daily Five when needed. That said I have done individual reading with conferring this term. It certainly means I really get to know what readers are doing.
    Easter good wishes

    1. I'm conferring, too, and think I know my readers on a much different level than when I was using guided reading! Thanks for your comment!

  3. Hi Laura,

    I actually just posted how I do guided reading + the Daily 5 on my blog: http://3rd-grade-thoughts.blogspot.com/2012/04/daily-5-series-read-with-teacherteacher.html.

    I replaced Work on Writing with Read with a Teacher/Teacher Time since we do so much writing in Writer's Workshop and it has worked out so well! I agree with Judy above, flexibility is the key and the structure of the Daily 5 has allowed me to breathe new life into my reading time :)

    Thanks for your great blog- I love this resource!

    3rd Grade Thoughts

    1. Thanks for your comments, Stephanie! I enjoyed reading about how you use the Daily 5 in your room. :)

  4. Laura,
    I am so glad to have found your blog! I have used Daily 5 very successfully with Guided Reading. This year, however, I am teaching in a school that uses Reading Mastery, a direct instruction program. Without getting into a philosophical discussion, I can say that I have found a way to make D5 work with this as well. I spent time in the beginning of the year building stamina and practicing all the different areas. While I am with a small group, the rest of my kids are doing their Choice areas. I have been eeking out times during the day to do the Focus lessons. My mornings are beautiful- kids are all over the room, fully engaged in their D5 choices...and they LOVE reading!

  5. I'm so glad I found this blog! I'm thinking of using Daily 5 next year and need as much advice as possible. Your blog is beautiful and I would like to award you with the One Lovely Blog Award! Check out my blog for details and copy the award onto your blog. Have fun!


  6. Laura, I am so excited to find your Blog. I just started doing Daily 5 last term after reading Daily 5 and CAFE. In 5 weeks, a relief teacher who took my class noticed how independent my children had become since she had seen them just before the end of Term 1. She wanted to know what I did. I pointed her in the direction of Daily 5, and she is now about to implement it in the Year 2 class that she will be taking for the second half of the year. I have seen it make such a difference to the working habits of my Year 1 students. And yes, I still have my children read levelled texts, confer with them and take running records. I agree with you, I feel I understand their skills level at a much deeper level.

    1. I have gotten the same kind of feedback from guest teachers, and they comment about how they'd love to spend even more time in our classroom. It truly makes a difference for getting to know my first graders, too!