What Should Students Do While the Teacher Works with a Small Group?
Students need to read and write for authentic reasons in order to increase proficiency. The Daily 5 is a framework developed by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser for organizing independent-level activities that students can do for purposeful practice of strategies and skills.
To begin, teachers meet with students and develop anchor charts that explicitly describe what students and teachers are doing in each of the 5 choices areas. Students are guided to make choices for independent work time that will help them achieve learning goals. Students practice one of the 5 choices while the teacher observes and coaches appropriate independent behavior. After 4-5 weeks, teachers begin meeting with guided reading or do 1:1 conferences while the other children are engaged in one of the 5 choices.The 5 activity choices are:
- Read to self
- Read with a partner
- Work on Writing
- Work on Words
- Listen to Reading
Teachers may also choose to change the 5 choices to meet the learning goals of the class. For example, Listen to Reading could be changed to Work on Research. Students are given time throughout the literacy block to work on 2-5 areas of the Daily 5 each day. About 15-30 minutes is given between focus lessons so that students can read, write, and work on words. Older students will make fewer choices per day and have longer periods of time to read and write.
The classes that I have observed using this framework are showing substantial increases in student achievement in reading and writing. This framework is simple and easy to implement. Students love it and teachers are not over-burdened with having to constantly come up with new activities for literacy centers.