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Daily 5/CAFE


Mrs. Vensko's Reading Workshop:

"With the introduction of choice, a child's world changes!"

(Boushey & Moser, p. 20)


The Cafe Book: Engaging All Students in Daily Literary Assessment & Instruction [With CDROM]

  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 tasks.  

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.


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: venskos@mail.okaloosa.k12.fl.us

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... :)


**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 5.

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 include:

Reading the story of the week (anthology) from Treasures:

1. with a buddy (read to someone)

2. on the computer (listen to reading)

3. independently (read to self)

**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 the story.



1st Daily 5 Choice/Small Group - (20-25 minutes)

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 minutes



Word work or vocabulary instruction is the focus of this second mini-lesson and includes explicit instruction in the following: phonics/decoding, 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.  

  3rd 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 -

(20 minutes)


At this time, students choose between the following literacy activities: Read to Someone, Listen to Reading,  

Word 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.





  Read to Self

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

 When 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

 When students 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 computer.        

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!  

 Word Work

 When students 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 workshop, RAINBOW WRITE 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!  Our writing is important to us and correct spelling allows our readers to have a better understanding and appreciation of our writing.

 Work on Writing

 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 Daily 5?

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 rounds).

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 so much!


 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.

 Reader's Workshop Rubric
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). Chart 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!*  Word 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.  Spelling Task Cards

 Here is a list of my Daily 5 'Must-Do' activities. My students need to complete these

activities during Daily 5 time each week.

 **NEW** Here is an accountability sheet I created for Daily 5 that is appropriate for the beginning of the year.  Daily 5 Learning Log

 **NEW** Here is a graph for your students to keep track of his/her Daily 5

choices for the month.

 Monthly graph

 **NEW** Here is a vocabulary word web that I created to use to analyze vocabulary words and expand our vocabularies.  Coming Soon! Check Back!

 **NEW** Here 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

 **NEW** 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!  Reading Strategies Song


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