A year and a half ago, I shared about the decision to go school-wide with Daily 5. Since this post I have had a few requests from colleagues in my PLN to post an update on where our school is with Daily 5, so here it goes…
This past year, all of our teachers in K-5th grade taught literacy with the Daily 5 framework. Our Kindergarten teachers held off until mid-year to start, however, it was such a success that they will not be waiting next year. It was amazing to see that even our 5 year-olds could build their stamina to read to themselves or write for up to 20 minutes!
Across all grade levels, there is a drastic change in the amount of time students are actually reading/writing than when we previously taught from the reading basal. Since the Daily 5 framework gives students choice in what they are reading, students are more engaged and excited to read. About mid-year I started allowing our 4/5th graders to bring their books into the lunch room (after reading about this simple idea to “steal reading minutes” from The Book Whisperer) and was amazed how many were reading while waiting in line or had to be told to put their book down to eat lunch! I also had many great conversations with students about the books they were reading and have enjoyed many books myself that were recommended by students.
When looking at the reading data for the grade levels that had been taught with the Daily 5 framework the previous year, it was intriguing to find that there was a higher rate of student reading levels increasing over the summer. We can only assume that this is because they are enjoying reading and continuing to read more over the summer.
I have also found that teachers enjoy reading much more in the past–both in teaching it and for their personal enjoyment. In one grade level discussion, teachers shared that they previously dreaded the reading block and the boring basal stories/worksheets, but now it is enjoyable and sometimes relaxing during the literacy block. They enjoying sharing their own reading lives with students and modeling that they, themselves, are learners.
This journey has been an exciting one for us as a faculty. When we first began moving to go school-wide with Daily 5, many teachers wanted to visit other schools to see it in action. One grade level did get this opportunity, however, it didn’t become a possibility for the others. What’s most interesting is that by the time I was able to connect with another school to get teachers to visit, our teachers were already doing such an amazing job of implementing Daily 5/Cafe that we had teachers from other schools visiting to observe in their classrooms!
In my next blog post, I will share resources/practices that we found helpful on our Daily 5 journey and a decision I made that wasn’t so helpful (I have to give some reason for you want to return to read more!)