Mrs. Vensko's Reading Workshop:
"With the introduction
of choice, a child's world changes!"
(Boushey & Moser,
The best way to become a better
reader is to practice each day, with books you choose, on your just-right
reading level. So, during Reading Workshop in our classroom, students have
time each day to practice, practice, practice! Reading Workshop in our
classroom consists of the following: interactive read aloud with think aloud,
several focus mini-lessons that allow "brain breaks", small group reading
instruction and/or individual reading conferences, and independent literacy
Students are carefully taught how to
choose a good-fit (just-right) book to read. Each student in our classroom has
his/her special book box to place all just-right books in. Students read
independently daily (during Read to Self time) and also with a partner (during
Read to Someone time). At this time, Mrs. Vensko teaches guided reading and
confers with individual students. While Mrs. Vensko works with a small reading
group, all other students are highly engaged in the Daily 5 reading activities
around the room.
In addition, we use the McGraw-Hill
Florida Treasures reading program and you can see how I incorporate the basal
into the daily focus (mini) lessons.
MRS. VENSKO'S CAFE
My CAFE Bulletin Board
At the beginning of the
year, I assess my readers using a variety of methods to include: informal
observations, DEA, and DRA2. After analyzing the assessment data, I put my
students into flexible groups according to CAFE strengths and weaknesses.
Groups are flexible and ever-changing to ensure that students receive
differentiated instruction based on need. I place pictures of each individual
student underneath their CAFE goal to remind them of what they should focus on
during the Daily 5.
I recently presented a
two day "Introduction to Daily 5" workshop for over 100 teachers in my
district. Thank you to all teachers who signed up for this workshop. I know
you will love Daily 5 just as much as I do! If you have any questions while
launching and implementing the Daily 5, please feel free to email me:
I receive many emails
from teachers around the nation about how to incorporate the basal series
within a Daily 5 framework. I am working on putting together a "FAQ Sheet" to
answer questions about Daily 5 and Treasures. Check back soon... :)
MRS. VENSKO'S LITERACY
**MONDAYS - The
majority of Monday morning is used to introduce the following from the core
reading program, Treasures: vocabulary & spelling words, phonics skill,
and the weekly anthology story. On Monday, we work on our "Before
Reading Strategies" by previewing and predicting using a picture walk,
generating questions, etc. We also listen to the story on CD as a class. In
addition, we rip out selected pages from our practice reading and spelling
workbooks as our seatwork packet for the week. Because mot of the time is
devoted to whole group instruction on Mondays, Mrs. Vensko does one round of
Daily 5 while all students do Read to Self as this is the MOST important
component of Daily 5. If time permits, we continue with another round of Daily
Tuesdays - Thursdays -
During the week, I use the Daily 5 to manage the literacy block. I usually
teach at least three focus lessons with the skills taken straight from the
Treasures teacher manual. I make sure to teach a comprehension and vocabulary
lesson every single day. However, I usually only teach a spelling/phonics
lesson on Mondays and Tuesdays, unless it is needed by my entire class.
(Phonics skills are usually reinforced during a small group guided reading
lesson.) In between the rounds, my students choose between the Daily 5
activities. T here
are a few "must-do" activities that must be completed before Friday. These
Reading the story
of the week (anthology) from Treasures:
1. with a buddy (read to
2. on the computer
(listen to reading)
3. independently (read to
**FRIDAYS - Weekly
reading tests are administered from the basal reading series. The following
reading tests are administered from the core reading program each Friday: story
selection (open book test), FCAT weekly fresh read, and teacher-created
vocabulary test. If time permits, Mrs. Vensko does at least 1-2 rounds
of Daily 5 after testing.**
1st Focus (Mini) Lesson - 15
minutes/INTERACTIVE READ ALOUD
During this first focus lesson, students
interact with a highly engaging text during an interactive read aloud.
Starting our Reading Workshop with a read aloud really sets a positive tone.
Mrs. Vensko selects a book that lends itself nicely to the comprehension skill
for the week. The book is read in small sections/chunks instead of reading the
entire book in one sitting. She teaches comprehension strategies through
explicit modeling and thinking aloud through the text. Picture books are read
aloud at this time from a variety of genre. Students have opportunities daily
to interact with the text by "turning and talking" with a partner to discuss
1st Daily 5 Choice/Small Group -
At this time, all students do the the
following literacy activity: Read
to Self.Mrs. Vensko works with the most struggling readers in a
small guided reading group. If there is time afterwards, Mrs. Vensko confers
with 3-4 readers.
2nd Focus (Mini) Lesson - 10 - 15
(Mon, Wed, Thurs.)
Word work or vocabulary instruction is
the focus of this second mini-lesson and includes explicit instruction in the
spelling, or vocabulary.
Weekly word sorts are used to reinforce
the spelling pattern of the week. Each week, we learn 5-6 new vocablary words
from the Treasures reading program. We complete our vocabulary graphic
organizer together. Click here for a copy of this graphic organizer. The
vocabulary power points make learning about these words more interesting
throughout the week and provides excellent reinforcement of words. Another
favorite activity for vocabulary is to make vocabulary concept cards to go
along with our weekly words from the Treasures program. We put all of our
vocabulary words on our word collector key ring. Yet favorite vocabulary
activity is to analyze a weekly word using a word web that Mrs. Vensko create.
Click here for a copy of this sheet.
ROUND 2: 2nd Daily 5
Choice/Small Group (20-25 minutes)
At this time, students choose between the
following literacy activities: Read
to Someone, Listen to
Reading , Work on
Writing, or Word Work.
Mrs. Vensko meets with a guided reading group until the end of the round.
Focus (mini) Lesson - 10 minutes
During this third mini-lesson, explicit
instruction in fluency is the focus. To improve our fluency, we use the
"Read Naturally" program.
3rd Daily 5 Choice/Small Group -
At this time, students choose between the
following literacy activities: Read
to Someone, Listen to
Work or Work on
Writing. Mrs. Vensko meets with a guided reading group until
the end of the round.
Sharing Session - 10 minutes
At the end of reading workshop, Mrs.
Vensko rings her chime and signals all students to clean up and fill in their
Daily 5 learning log (about 5 minutes). After, all students check-in at the
gathering place (large carpet). During check-in time, students are asked to
share reading successes and problem-solve together if necessary.
When students Read to
Self, students read good-fit books independently from their book boxes.
Students take their book box and find a cozy reading spot around the room.
Leveled readers from the Treasures reading series are read during this time.
All books are carefully monitored by Mrs. Vensko to ensure they are indeed a
good-fit for students.
Why do we do this? The
best way to become a better reader is to pratice, practice, practice each day!
Read to Self helps us become better readers and it is fun!
Read to Someone
students choose Read to Someone, partners take their book boxes and read
just-right books together. Partners are taught to sit "EEKK" style when
partner reading (elbow to elbow, knee to knee). Students make decisions
together about where they want to read, what they want to read (same book or
different books), and how they want to read (echo or choral). Students are
carefully taught to CHECK FOR UNDERSTANDING when partner reading using a
checkmark. The use of checkmarks holds the listener accountable and helps both
students improve listening and reading comprehension. While one student reads,
the other student listens carefully and then "checks for understanding". The
listener holds up a check-mark and retells what he/she heard by saying: "I
heard you say (who & what)." Students are also carefully taught how to be good
reading coaches and to assist partners when they come to an unknown word or
when comprehension may break down.
I bought and painted these wooden
checkmarks from www.bayerwood.com. Another option would be for each student to
decorate his/her own check!
The large size costs $0.75 each (this
is the size that I have in the picture.)
You can also purchase plastic colored
checks from www.learning-loft.com in packs of 6 for $6.95.
Why do we do this?
Reading with a partner is fun and helps us become more fluent readers. It also
helps us improve our reading comprehension. A MUST-DO activity each week is to
read the anthology story from our basal with a partner.
Listen to Reading
choose Listen to Reading, they can either listen to stories on the computer or
books on tape. There are many different links on Mrs. Vensko's website which
allow students to listen to online stories. A MUST-DO each week is to listen
to the story from our basal and the leveled readers that go along with our
reading series. We can also listen to the science leveled readers on the
Our classroom is very
fortunate to have three computers with internet access, several small,
hand-held cassette players, 2 Leap Frog learning pads, and a variety of books
on tape. All books on tape are organized in a book bag and labeled by genre.
Students can choose a book bag and listen to a story for pleasure in a cozy
reading spot around the room. In addition, we also use the Read Naturally
program as another listen to reading choice.
Why do we do this?
Listening to books on tape is fun and helps us to become more fluent readers.
It exposes us to a variety of genre, too!
choose Word Work, they explore and work with our weekly spelling and
vocabulary words. A MUST-DO activity each week is to finish their spelling
the weekly spelling words, and do a word sort for the phonics pattern
of the week. When students are finished with their weekly word work
activities, they may choose a Word Work option (see downloadable below).
Why do we do this?
Work work allows us to learn about words, to expand our vocabularies, and to
become better spellers!
writing is important to us and correct spelling allows our readers to have a
better understanding and appreciation of our writing.
Work on Writing
is taught in a completely seperate literacy block from Daily 5 each day. All
writing focus lessons are taught during the Writer's Workshop block from 11:00
- 11:45 daily. During daily Work on Writing time, students can choose to
continue a piece of writing from Writing Workshop time or write about anything
else they choose to write about. Please check out my writing workshop page on
this website for more information as to how I structure my writing block and
many resources to download.
What Does Mrs. Vensko Think About The
In 2008, I made the switch from literacy
work stations/traditional centers to The Daily 5 and I'm SO glad that I did!
Daily 5 is a framework and structure for a literacy block; it is NOT a
curriculum. Daily 5 allows teachers the ability to work with small groups and
confer with readers individually. The students are SO engaged around the room
in authentic reading and writing tasks. The most important reason why I love
this structure is that it is SO teacher-friendly and SO easy to manage once it
has been launched. I have not yet created a single activity this year! What
more can a busy teacher ask for??
My students LOVE this part of the day,and
I truly believe the reason is because THEY choose WHAT activities they will
complete that day and WHEN they will complete them (during each of the 3
This structure allows students to really
take ownership in their learning. In addition, the Daily 5 structure allows my
students more time to practice what they need the most -- READING!!
I highly recommend this structure to
anyone who implements small group reading instruction. Buy the book and give
it try! You won't be sorry! If you have any questions about how I structure my
reading block, please feel free to email me at school.
I'm very excited to add the CAFE Menu to
my reading workshop. The idea of meeting one-on-one with young readers and
pulling strategy groups is so exciting to me!
I LOVE this quote about independent
reading workshop stated by Regie Routman:
"Just adding more time
and space for independent reading is not enough. I'm advocating a carefully
designed, structured reading porogram that includes demonstrating, teaching,
guiding, monitoring, evaluating, and goal-setting along with voluntary reading
of books that STUDENTS choose....When an independent reading component is
added, test scores go up."
Here are some great resources to help
you get Daily 5 started in your own classroom. All of these resources were
created by Stacy Vensko. Feel free to use them or adapt them for your own
classroom needs. Please be sure to ask permission first before posting any of
these resources on your own website and provide a link to my page. Thank you
Here is a reading rubric that I
created to assess my students during our Reader's Workshop. This will be used
as a reading grade twice during each 9 week grading period.
This file may be helpful to those of you
who want to implement CAFE along with a basal reading series. Here is a chart
I created that combines the CAFE reading strategies and the McGraw-Hill
Treasures reading series (Florida Edition).
for CAFE and Treasures
Here is list of my Word Work activities.
On this sheet, you will find directions for all of the activities. Before
students can complete these activities, they must complete their assigned 3
MUST-DO activities for Word Work. **Updated
& Coming Soon!*
Work Directions Sheet
Here are my spelling task cards that
I use as a word work option. Some of the ctivities on the cards are NOT my
original idea, as I have collected many over the years. They can be printed
out on 4x6 index cards and open as a PDF file.
Here is a list of my Daily 5 'Must-Do'
activities. My students need to complete these
activities during Daily 5 time each week.
Here is an accountability sheet I created for Daily 5 that is appropriate for
the beginning of the year.
5 Learning Log
Here is a graph for your students
to keep track of his/her Daily 5
choices for the month.
Here is a vocabulary word web that
I created to use to analyze vocabulary words and expand our vocabularies.
Coming Soon! Check
is a song I use to reinforce the I-Chart expectations for Read to Self. I'm
unsure of the original source, but I have adpated this song for my own
classroom. Feel free to email me if you are the original creator of this song
so I can give proper credit. Thanks and Enjoy!
Read to Self Song
Here is a song that I made up to teach and reinforce the Beanie Baby reading
strategies. It is sung to the tune of BINGO!