Weekly Reflection: Daily 5 comes alive

Of all the books I read over the summer, the Daily 5 is the one I should of read. Reading had been a nagging concern all of last term. I spent hours putting together worksheets and finding stories for my students to read during rotations but I had this nagging feeling that the kids weren’t well engaged. I kept hearing mentioning of the Daily 5 on twitter and was curious to find out more.

Once I finally got paid, I downloaded the Daily5  along with the Book Whisperer onto my iphone and finally had a eureka moment. Alongside learning the mechanics of reading my kids also needed time set aside in class to read. So away we went. I borrowed the Book Whisper’s strategy of instituting a target of 30 books from a range of genres, a reader’s notebook for the kids to keep track of what they are reading, what they want to read, genre notes and most importantly a weekly letter from the student reflecting on their reading.

The Daily 5 gives the kids the space to do this within a classroom setting through Read to Self and Read to Others.  I found it interesting how many of the students have already remarked in their reflections that they’ve read more books in the first two weeks of this term than they did during the entire of last year and more importantly how many of them have started reading books introduced to them by their partner during Read to Others.

Work on Words and Work on Writing have largely evolved from existing classroom programmes. This week the students were assigned a task to complete a blog post  as a character from the book they were reading and work on words on the windows using liquid chalk was a big hit. I was amazed when one of my more reluctant writers, who often struggled to write more than paragraph or two, spent time at home working on a lengthy post as a character from her favourite books and then asked for a similar writing assignment next week!

At the moment my students get one ‘free choice’ session a day, but as their confidence (not to mention my own) improves, I hope that the kids will be able to self-select their timetable.

One of the important components of the daily 5 is that the kids can work anywhere in the class and stay put during the location. Because my classroom furniture is the old fliptop desks, I borrowed @kathryntrask idea of using buckets for storage which ensures the students  have their stuff with them so don’t need to move in the middle of the sessions (thus avoiding distracting others and time-wasting by shopping for books etc.). As a result, most of the students aren’t working at their desks during literacy but are sitting on the floor, lying under the tables or scrawling wacky words they find from their books onto the windows using liquid chalk.

The students like that the Daily 5 gives them time to actually read and write. I feel a bit shaky as the programme seems so different from teacher-directed texts and responses I tried in the first term.  Although as anecdotal evidence when I mused out loud that the class had five minutes to kill before school assembly and asked the students for suggestions as to what we could do, the first answer they came up with was ‘read’ and within 20 seconds they all had their heads in a book!

12 thoughts on “Weekly Reflection: Daily 5 comes alive

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  1. Sounds like things are going great Stef! How encouraging to have reluctant writers inspired by the new ideas in their learning. I look forward to reading more about how the Daily 5 develops this year!


  2. Sounds great, Stef. IAMAT (I Am Not A Teacher) but… with my own children the big thing for me has been to help them catch the reading bug. I want them to just read and read and read, for fluency, and for information, and for fun. MY youngest has finally gotten it seriously this year, and I am so pleased.


  3. Hey, I have been reading about the Daily 5 on Twitter and other spaces which prompted my question to you…I didn’t mean “Where did you get the buckets?” (Mitre 10, LOL!) I meant what texts were you using? I assumed the buckets held the books?? Am very keen to see and hear more of how it pans out for you. Sounds like a great start. Also, what is your class blog site? Planning to get my kids more involved in blogs in the near future.


  4. Daily 5 is a fantastic book and works great in my class when I have used it. i have a slightly adapted version now but it works well.
    With Daily 5 and Sheena Cameron is basically my reading programme


  5. Stephanie
    Love your post, sounds like things are really whizzing with Daily 5. Well done. Will be interested to see how your letter writing goes during the term. That is the one area I need to work on more. I want to develop their thinking around the books they are reading and help them to dig deeper. I think I might have to pull back from the letter writing in Term 3 for a little while and see if I can model it some more for them. I am giving it some thought while I am loafing about this term! Still I found the letter writing a good way to monitor what they are reading. I guess it is a case of trial and modify.

    Never heard of liquid chalk, that sounds like fun, must check it out! Keep up the great work.


    1. Hi Kathryn
      I’ve been reasonably impressed with my class’s letter writing for the most part. I do try and model and also give out some prizes for exemplars. You are right that they do need to engage a bit more but at the moment I’m focusing on building the habit and then developing thinking.



  6. Stephanie
    Me back again. Have just watched your Camp video on your class blog. In my own interests what did you use to video that and was it edited in iMovie on your laptop – as opposed to mobile device.


  7. Talking about reading to others, at one of the childcare centres I worked at once a week the older children would go over to the library at the school next door and the children in one of the Year 3 classes would read storybooks to them one on one (the books were mostly chosen by the preschoolers from the school’s selection of books). Some of the Year 3s got rather good at putting on different voices and really got into the storytelling.


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