Daily 5 Book Study Chapter 2

I'm back with my thoughts from chapter two of The Daily 5: Fostering Literacy Independence in The Elementary Grades.  First off, I would like to say that these are entirely my opinions and not that of the 2 Sisters or their publisher Stenhouse.  :)  Chapter two is all about the "why" of the Daily 5 model.  The Sisters list these as their core foundations:
  • trusting students
  • providing choice
  • nurturing community
  • creating a sense of urgency
  • building stamina
  • staying out of students' way
Trusting Students
The Sisters say that trusting students is one of the most important aspects of what makes the Daily 5 work.  First you have to explicitly teach students what to do, then you need to trust them to actually do it.  During the Daily 5, teachers should be conferring with students, meeting with groups, or doing assessments.  You have to trust that the other students are being responsible so you can get your important work done, too.  Without trust, the system doesn't work.

Providing Choice
I completely agree with the Sisters when they say that choice is a huge motivational factor for students. I love their quote, "Choice is highly motivational and puts children in charge of their learning" (pg 20). It is so true that if you have some say over which activities you get to choose, you will do them better.  If I got to choose which household chores to do, I would not choose folding laundry, but I would empty that dishwasher with wild abandon!  Just kidding, but you get the idea...

Nurturing Community
Students need to feel safe and secure in any classroom in order to thrive.  This is especially important in a Daily 5 classroom, since we are asking students to be so independent and take risks each day in their learning.  By setting the tone that we are all here to become better readers and that we can only get there by helping each other, students will not only feel safe and supported, they will feel comfortable enough to actually grow and learn.

Creating a Sense of Urgency
By teaching students why we do the things we do, they will understand and "buy-in" to what we are asking them to do.  By teaching them that we do the Daily 5 activities to become better readers, they can internalize that message and make better goals for themselves.  

Building Stamina
The Sisters think of increasing minutes of independent reading and writing the same as building your body's endurance as you work out.  You have to start out small and work your way up.  In the beginning of the year, that is how they get their students to stay on task while they are working with small groups and individual students.  They start by practicing reading to self for a minute.  If everyone can do it, they up it to two, and on up until how ever long that round goes for.  We'll go more in depth in this strategy when we talk about Read to Self, but you get the picture.  Start small and work your way up until you get to the desired time: build your reading stamina!

Staying out of Students' Way
The last foundation to the model is once students get going on their work, don't bug them!  If you walk around and monitor, encourage, or even reprimand, they will depend on you to do that.  If you teach them so well how to be independent without your help, then they will actually do it even when you are not there!  That is the goal, right?  I've heard subs say that they can tell a good teacher by how well the students stay in the classroom routine while the teacher is away.  I think that is one of the best compliments!
Head on over to my TpT store and pick up a Stamina freebie.  You can use it as you are building up your class' independent minutes next fall, or even with an individual student who needs more reminders later on in the year.

So, this week, think about how you can implement these foundations into your reading instruction.  Which aspects do you already do?  Which ones do you want to work on more?  Are there any that you don't agree with?

Next week we'll hop over to Mrs. Freshwater's Class and Thinking Outloud for chapter three.  Start thinking about your framing questions:
  1. What "rings true for you" in this chapter?
  2. How are your students progressing with picking appropriate books?
  3. What (if anything) could help improve the processes from this chapter in your classroom?
I'm linking up with TBA, too!

Freebie Fridays


  1. I'm SO enjoying learning about the Daily 5 and am already excited about starting the new year with it. Building reading stamina is my biggest challenge, so I look forward to how to go about that. Love the stamina chart. Thank you. I linked my blog above.

    1. Building stamina is hard! It's so easy to want to jump into smal groups and assessments and think the independent kids are gong to be fine. But, if you don't set the expectations from the beginning, you will have to constantly remind kids of expected behaviors all year! I've done D5 for 3 years now, and each year it gets better, mostly because I get better at teaching them what i expect! :) Good luck! You will be great!

  2. Great post Nicole! I love that chart, what a great idea to have a visual for them!!


  3. Great stamina chart! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Hi Nicole!
    I am a new follower!
    Look forward to more from you!

  5. Hi Nicole...I like the idea of a stamina chart. Building stamina was a bit of a challenge for my 4th graders, but we persevered and it paid off! My advice is to hang in there, stay the course, and don't get discouraged. It takes time, but it is time well spent.

    1. Nancy, I completely agree with you! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and tips with us! :)

  6. I love your comment, "Don't bug them." That's really hard for a teacher not to do....at least for me!!

    1. I know! I totally still walk around between groups and make sure everyone has gotten settled into their choices. I need to take my own advice - trust that the kids will do what you have trained them to do and then stay out of the way! It sounds so simple, yet giving up that last little bit of control is sooooooo hard! I'm glad you've joined us in reading the book! :)

  7. What a terrific freebie! I'm your newest follower!
    Thank you for sharing this at TBA and linking up!
    Fern Smith’s Classroom Ideas!
    Fern Smith’s Pinterest Boards!

  8. I really enjoy your blog! I've given you the Versatile Blogger and One Lovely Blog Award. Please stop by my blog for your award and info:)


  9. As I was doing D5 yesterday, a Firstie was crying because she wanted to read with a child who had already made eye-contact with another student. It left her with a boy that she doesn't usually associate with. I told her to give it a go and at the end of the round, she was smiling and told me she had made a new friend. These kids have been sitting in the same classroom all year but never connected before. Just one of the many reasons I love D5!

  10. When I do Work on Writing, I have a prompt that goes with our reading series and a choice of doing something with our spelling and high frequency words. I have noticed that the writing component is the weakest of my centers and therefore think I need to add personal choice to the mix. I'm hoping that with writing instruction and a better purpose for writing, my students will dig in and work on writing more enthusiastically