Breezing Through BTS

Today I'm joining some of my favorite bloggers for a fun Back to School Blog Hop! 

I'm here to tell you all about The Daily 5! 

The very first thing you should do is read the book! My first edition has dog ears and writing all over the margins.  It is a well loved book! This past year, those wonderful sisters came out with a second edition and it is all kinds of amazing! I still love the first book and think it's a great first read, but then you should read the second edition to learn how they have updated their thinking and also added in a Daily Math component. 

When I first started teaching, my team and I had students ability grouped for reading center time.  They stayed with their group and rotated through a series of paper pencil centers (sometimes there were manipulatives, too!) when I rang a bell every 12 minutes.  This worked well for me.  The students were compliant and working while my assistant and I read books with each group.  I saw every group for 12 minutes each day and did guided reading with leveled readers from our basal series while my assistant met with every group and worked on the weekly phonics skill with decodable Phonics Library books, also from our basal series.  

Then, I went back to college at night to earn my reading endorsement and I learned about Daily 5.  It incorporates choice, teaches independence, and students are engaged in activities that are actually helping them become better readers, not just quiet students.  

My first year doing D5, I kept my students in their ability groups and rotated them through Daily 5 centers.  I felt that this was a good transition for me.  I didn't change my whole structure, I just changed what my students were doing.  Then, as I read more, went to conferences, and talked with colleagues, I finally got rid of the rotations and recorded student choices on a clipboard.  

Then, I moved to Lanai and had a large class of 28 students.  These students were used to reading groups the old way I used to run them.  I tried to incorporate choice, but we had to stop D5 all the time because students were off task, talking, walking around the room.  No matter how many times I gathered them back to the carpet, went over our T-chart, and practiced the wrong vs. right way to do things, we just weren't building the stamina I needed in order to meet with groups.  So, I went back to the rotations.  

I made these cards so students knew what to do.  You can get them in my TpT store here.

Then last year, I had a much smaller class, only 17.  I decided to reintroduce choice.  I used Ladybug's Teacher Files freebie cards and made a new one for Respond to Reading.  You can grab those freebies from this blog post.

Students had a little piece of paper in their book boxes where they checked off which activity they chose.  They had to do them all throughout the week, so this helped for accountability.  I was also checking off their choices, so I knew if they were telling the truth about having done listening already :) 
Click the image to grab this FREEBIE!

This year, I've moved down to 1st grade and we've had a slow start.  We've already done our Read to Self t-chart and have 3 minutes of stamina built up.  We'll keep plugging along and then introduce Work on Writing next.  

So, my tip to you for starting with the Daily 5 - start small! Do what works for you! Don't feel like you have to change your entire reading instruction if you are not ready.  Change what your students are doing and get rid of all the worksheets that aren't helping them grow as readers.  Teach them how to independently read, write what they want to write, listen to fluent reading on audiobooks, and make words and work on spelling patterns.  These activities will teach them to be better readers.  When you are ready to add choice, do it! Students will learn to intrinsically work hard.  They will WANT to read! My students would tell me on a daily basis that reading was their favorite time of the day.  And by the end of the year, the novelty of the iPods had worn off and most of them just wanted to read their books.  It made my heart happy.

If you want to learn more about D5, a couple of summers ago I did a Daily 5 blog hop.  You can go to my TpT store to grab a bookmark with urls of all the blog posts and also pick up a stamina chart.  And I know the awesome bloggers at Freebielicious did a blog hop this summer for the second edition.  You can start at A Differentiated Kindergarten.

And now, head on over to Miss Squirrel's blog to find out her Back to School tip and how she sets up community supplies! 


  1. Starting small is a great idea! Those pocket chart cards look very helpful!
    Go Nutty with Me!

  2. I LOVE the Daily 5. I had to tweak it a bit to work for my schedule, but it really is a great system. Loved your post and all the helpful tips!

  3. This is great. I'm thinking about doing this for my life skills classroom in middle school. Not this year but eventually. I love the stamina chart and I used audiobooks often with my low readers last year. I am a huge fan of audiobooks. I had 3 stations, phonics building, independent reading with audiobooks, read/respond and then a group with me. We used google docs for read/respond and my students loved it. Non-writers didn't struggle as much with computers.

  4. I tried a checklist last year for accountability but the kiddos still did the same stuff all the time. Ack! I would love a blog post on how this works - I need a real step-by-step! :) Also, do you laminate the checklists and use wipe off marker or copy in paper? Thank you!

  5. I love the color choices with the schedule. I have the new book but haven't cracked it open yet. Shame on me. lol I need it for tomorrow I think!

  6. I like how you give the students the checklist! Great idea!
    A Cupcake for the Teacher

  7. Love the checklist. I hope you have a great year!

  8. I don't do Daily 5, but it looks like you have a good system going! Thanks for sharing!

    Mrs. Wheeler's First Grade

    Mrs. Wheeler's TPT