By Desma McMillan – Year 3/4 Teacher
Why did I begin using the Daily 5 Literacy Framework?
Two years ago, I participated in some training and development around the use of the Daily 5 literacy framework. I was surprised to see students from reception through to year 7 actively engaged in different literacy tasks independently. The classroom I observed were calm, settled, quiet and reflected one where learning goals were paramount for each student. I so wanted this for my students!
In my classroom I have used Guided Reading stations as part of my literacy block. Students had whole group and small group opportunities to work with me, an SSO or parent supporter to improve their reading skills. As hard as I tried, most students relied heavily on teacher direction to manage behaviour and ultimately the completion of a task. So, my journey to participate in the Daily 5 literacy program started.
Daily 5 is a literacy management system developed by Joan Moser and Gail Boucher, 2 sisters from America. The system has 5 components- read to self, read to someone, listen to reading, work on writing and word work. Students are explicitly taught how to work within each component to achieve success. The aim being to building the stamina needed to work independently for up to 20 minutes on each area. Once this is achieved students can begin to have some choice in their learning. I am a strong advocate for student voice within the classroom, so this seemed like a perfect fit for me.
What makes the Daily 5 different from other systems?
Daily 5 is a literacy framework that instils behaviours of independence, creates a classroom of highly engaged readers, writers and learners. It provides teachers with the time needed and structure to meet diverse student needs. Daily 5 can be used to meet any school, or curriculum standards.
Daily 5 teaches the students the expectations and routines to enable them to work independently. Once this is established students can begin to have some ‘choice’ with their leaning. Students choose which Daily 5 task they will complete and the order in which they complete them. They also choose a good-fit location to work during each Daily 5 session. Relinquishing control and offering choice increases student engagement.
The Daily 5 management system enables me to work with individual children and set learning goals based on their literacy needs at the time. Students are conferenced regularly on their literacy goals and supported to achieve them. This allows me to differentiate and cater for individual student’s learning needs.
What do the components of Daily 5 look like in Room 16-1?
The following are a brief outline of the literacy tasks and how we use them daily in our classroom.
- Read to Self– This is an essential part of our literacy block. During this time students are each equipped with books, seated alone, and reading independently on texts that are best suited to their learning needs. We spent a lot of time at the beginning of the year building the stamina needed to be successful.
- Work on Writing – This is a highlight component for many students. Students have been provided with a Writers Notebook where they can select to write texts based on their interest levels. We also use our Literacy book when we focus on writing genre and structure.
- Word Work – As part of our school agreement, we use the Soundwaves Spelling Program for our word work component. Throughout the week students participate in a whole class sound introduction workshop and then work independently or in a small group on activities to support their learning.
- Read to Someone – We complete this rotation twice a week with Miss Tessari’s Year 5/6 class, our buddy class. This has been particularly beneficial for developing fluency and comprehension skills. Students really look forward to these sessions.
- Listen to Reading – Throughout the week students listen to a variety of texts sometimes read by myself, another student or on an electronic device. Recently we have incorporated a ‘shoulder buddy’ system within the classroom where we listen to each other read and answer questions based on a specific comprehension strategy.
What do students think of the Daily 5?
From my observations, I believe students in my class are excited about participating in our Daily 5 literacy block. Each morning I am greeted by several students who ask if we are having Daily 5 today because they want to write a new chapter of their story or finish an exciting book.
I really like that I am able to enjoy writing alone. —Noah
I am really proud of my writing from day 1 to today. —David
I love Daily 5 because it is very quiet and I love not having a particular order to complete my work. —Elise
I like Daily 5 because we get to choose what we do. —Tali
I really like Daily 5 the best of all the subject areas. It is amazing. It gives us the freedom to to work on what we choose ….. A win win situation! —Taiten
This is the first year that I’ve don Daily 5. I think it is a better way to do literacy. We work for a long time on different tasks. —Madison