After hearing a lot about the Daily 5 last year, Kathleen Morris and I purchased the two books, The Daily 5 and The CAFE Book, by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser. Better known as “The Sisters“, they have developed a literacy structure that aims to build reading stamina, foster independence and develop a love of reading in students.


There are many online forums and websites dedicated to providing you with information about the Daily 5 and CAFE, so I won’t go into too many of the details here. Rather, I’d like to share how I have decided to use and modify the program to suit my Grade Two class.


The Daily 5 consists of five key elements: Read to Self, Read to Someone, Listen to Reading, Work on Writing and Word Work. Each of these foundations are introduced and students work at building stamina, by practising each skill over a period of time, until they become independent.


After completing start of the year assessments with each child, Kathleen and I (we team teach) sat down to plan exactly how we would structure our Literacy Block this year. We had to consider the following things:

1. It was already approaching week 6 and we felt we really had to get started on teaching literacy, rather than assessing.

2. Our students have already had quite a bit of practise at “listening to reading” as they’ve been listening to stories on the iPod touch for several weeks.

3. We only have two hours to complete both reading and writing each day.

4. We have integration aides to support students during our Literacy Block.

5. We want to incorporate computers into our Literacy Block.

6. We want to include our class blog into our Literacy Block structure.

7. We had already started “Read to Self” but we were calling it “Independent Reading”.

8. As we are not doing traditional Guided Reading, we can have mixed ability reading groups.


Based on these thoughts we developed the following structure.

Literacy Block structure


During Reading Groups, students complete one activity per day. We have used some Daily 5 components and modified others to suit our needs at this stage. We have the following activities each week:

1. Listen to Someone – Students listen to a story on the iPod touch. They have scrapbooks to draw pictures of the story as they listen.

2. Read to Someone – Students pair up and sit EEKK (elbow to elbow, knee to knee) and read to each other.

3. Work on Writing – We are using the computers for this element, as we want to involve technology into our Literacy Block. Students are required to go onto our class blog or one of our blogging buddies’ blogs and write a comment, following our guidelines for writing quality blog comments.

4. Word Work – Students practise their spelling words in a “fun way”, eg. rainbow writing, triangle words, using magnetic letters, writing on mini whiteboards etc.

5. The last activity is interchangable and will be planned according to our students’ needs. It may be a word game, an activity about comprehension, punctuation, specific blends or word families etc.


Last week we set goals for each student, using the CAFE (Comprehension, Accuracy, Fluency, Expand Vocabulary) model. We have set up our CAFE board and displayed the student goals.



** Last week we covered the “Check for Understanding” strategy and that card is now displayed on our board.**


We will begin our individual conferences this week and we are looking forward to working with our students to help them work towards their goals.


Considerations for us to think about:

1. How will we include the Words Their Way word sorts into our program? This will most likely occur during Word Work, perhaps alternating with the students M100W words (high frequency words) each week.

2. Are we doing enough writing each day? We are used to spending an hour or so on writing, so we will determine whether the alloted 35 minutes is meeting our students’ needs.

3. Are the students consistently choosing “good fit” books to read during Independent Reading?


I want to reinforce that we are in the beginning stages of our revised Literacy Block, so we may change things as we learn more. The focus is ensuring we are meeting the needs of our students and helping them to work towards reaching their goals.


Next post – Individual conferences during our Literacy Block.


What are your thoughts on our Literacy Block?

How have you modified the Daily 5 to suit your needs?