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Daily 5 Book Study: Chapters 3-4 {2nd Edition}

Welcome back to another blog post all about the new Daily 5!  This post is all about Chapters 3-4.  We are really getting into the meat of the book now!

One thing I love about most about the Daily 5 Model (and there are many things!) is the gradual and structured release of responsibility.  If you follow the 10 Steps to Teaching and Learning Independence, most of your kiddos will catch right on and it will be smooth sailing from here on out.  Here they are!

This whole process is grounded on what many of us know about memory.  

Let's look at each step in detail!

1. Identify What Is to be Taught
Right from the beginning it's important to create a lasting anchor chart (called an I-Chart) with the kiddos.  The first step (in the words of my college supervisors) is to set the objective.  This step outlines WHAT will you be teaching today and is written at the top of the I-Chart.

You may be wondering what an I-Chart looks like.  Here's what our Word Work I-Chart looked like during its initial construction (sorry for the super poor lighting!):

An I-Chart outlines what the students and teachers are doing during that round of Daily 5.  It serves as a reference all year long.  I like to make a rough-draft with my kiddos on the active board, then later on make a permanent chart with pictures of the kids modeling each step to hang in the relevant area.  Here's the newest and cutest version:

2. Set a Purpose and Create a Sense of Urgency
This step explains WHY you are teaching the objective.  Why is it important to learn how to read to self?  Will it make you a better reader?  Is it fun?

3.  Record Desired Behaviors on an I-Chart
The rest of these steps focus on HOW the objective will be accomplished.  In a notable difference from the first edition, this time the two sisters recommend writing down and explaining each desirable behavior on the I-Chart (rather than having the kiddos' brainstorm).  I think this is an option in the interest of saving time, but I really enjoyed our class discussion on the topic.  To help guide my littles in the direction I wanted them to think, I modeled what being a good reader looked and sounded like, then had them describe what I was doing.  

You may run into kids wanting to focus on negatives (things readers shouldn't do) rather than the positives.  My class definitely had this mindset last year, so to help them out I reminded them to think of and share only "yes choices."  

Here are the "yes choices" you want your kiddos to make to become better readers:
  • Read the whole time
  • Stay in one spot
  • Get started right away
  • Work quietly
  • Build stamina
*NOTE: When working with kindergartners you definitely want to break these behaviors up into smaller more manageable chunks!  Try adding 2 desirable behaviors each day to the chart.

4.  Model Most Desirable Behaviors
It's important that you have the STUDENTS model the behaviors you've charted together.  Not only do the kiddos love the attention, it's a great way to point out each behavior in action.  

Here are some snapshots I took of my kinders while they modeled most desirable behaviors (I later used these photos for our permanent I-chart).  Their faces are blurred to respect their privacy, but just imagine the cutest kiddos in the world and that describes my class!  :)

Always follow up with this essential question (the answer should be an emphatic and resounding YES!)

5.  Model Least Desired Behaviors, Then Most Desirable Again
The sisters suggest skipping this step in Kindergarten unless if you absolutely have a "barometer" child- you know, the ones who are guaranteed to act up and set the weather in your classroom!  I have to say I agree that modelling incorrect behaviors can be confusing for our kinders, especially if it's their first year in school.  If you choose to do this step, pick a student or two to model least desirable behaviors.  Ask the students the essential question (this time the answer should be NO!), then have those same students model the most desirable behaviors and ask the question again.  The key is to focus on and return to the positive.

6.  Place Students Around the Room
To begin with, you are in charge of placing students around the room for practice.  Try to send them off as close to each other in time as possible so that everyone has an equal chance to build stamina.  I love Erica's Book Nook Chart to use initially in the Read to Self send-off (later students will be able to choose their own spots, sometimes with reminders to choose the best spot for their body and their brain):

7.  Practice and Build Stamina
This is a great time to observe and learn about what and where works best for your students!  Pay attention while you....
8.  Stay Out of the Way!
These two steps occur together.  This is the time for your students to practice what it will be like when you're with small groups- which means you can't be hovering over them, or they'll never build independence.  When the focus is lost, round 'em all up and record their stamina. 

I use the timer on my active board while students are reading.  They love to see how far they have gone when I signal for us to stop!  Here's the newest and cutest stamina chart.  

Last year it only took 5 days for my kinders to reach where we needed to be (the Sisters say to expect typically anywhere from 5-10 days).  We celebrated with a super fun Teddy Bear Tea Party!  :)  They got to bring their favorite stuffed animals to school for our literacy block and snack that day.  Their job was to teach their stuffed animal all about the right way to do Daily 5.  It was awesome!

9.  Use a Quiet Signal and Bring Students Back to the Gathering Place
I love how the Sisters emphasize saving your voice for instruction rather than management.  Quiet signals work like a charm!  In my classroom I use a rainstick, but you could use chimes, a bell, etc.  Once "the spell has been broken," use the quiet signal and in a quiet voice direct students to return their book boxes and come back as a group.  It's very important to stop once those undesirable behaviors start cropping up.  As the Sisters say, they're difficult to change once they're ingrained, so you don't want them practicing the wrong way!

10.  Conduct a Group Check-In
At first you'll be checking in with how the group did meeting the D5 expectations.  The students self-reflect and rate how they did, then set their goals for the next practice.  You can use a 1-2-3-4 rating system or in my class, we just use our thumbs (up, down, or in the middle).

At this point, you can choose to launch another practice round of Daily 5 or break it up with something different.  That's one thing I love most about the Daily 5- the flexibility!  The Sisters have some great advice about it:

Phew!  I can't believe I talked so much about one chapter... onwards to the next one!

The Daily 5 is easy to implement and really mostly requires things you already have on hand or things that are easy to get.  I've made a quick checklist you can refer to as you get started:

I think the classroom environment (and especially the classroom library) are key to running a successful literacy block.  Here's a glance at how my library was looking while I was setting up last year:

The plastic lawn chairs were only $5 at Walmart and were probably THE place to sit all year.  They were an easy and inexpensive way to provide some alternative seating!

I organize my books both by theme and level.  It took awhile to sort everything into piles and make, print, then attach Avery index labels (which ended up getting expensive), but it was definitely worth the effort!  I love how organized my library is and it is easy for the kiddos to maintain.

There are lots of great ideas to organize your classroom library, but I am absolutely in love with Maria's labels (available in black and in white).  She's got lots of great tips for setting up, organizing, leveling and labeling the library of your dreams:

I also love these cute and classy labels from Ladybug's Teacher Files.  I think they are awesome for the older grades she includes genre labels:

The most expensive thing (besides all the books!) ended up being the book bins.  Last summer I ended up doing some comprehensive research about the best book bin buys for Daily 5!  You can check out that post by clicking on the picture below:

Thanks for bearing with me all the way through these two chapters!  I hope you got some good ideas and let me not forget the FREEBIES!  :)  The 10 Steps to Independence, Getting Started Checklist, I-Charts, a Stamina Chart, and the Thumbs-Up GroupCheck-In Poster have all been added to my Daily 5 Freebie File.  I hope you like them!

See you next chapter!


  1. Thank you so much for sharing such a great freebie!! Following your posts has been so helpful with figuring out the Daily 5!! I'm excited to kick it off this year in the first week of school with my kinders!

    Warmest Wishes,


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