Last summer, as I was sitting in a Summer Institute session with Preschool and Kindergarten teachers, I heard about the Daily 5 in reading. I had never heard about this before, apparently, neither had many of the other PreK teachers.
In a nutshell, the children do the following each day:
After that meeting, I asked my own children if they had ever heard of the Daily 5. They looked at me with that look that said, “Duh! Of course we have!” Apparently, it was an integral part of their day at school.
I began to wonder if the Daily 5 method was key in helping my son soar with his reading in 1st grade. He had been able to read simple books like “Hop on Pop” (though, that book is much longer than you may remember, so it took a few sittings for my son with a short attention span) while he was in preschool. His entire kindergarten year, I don’t think he made any progress in his reading. It was minimal at best. The following year, we moved back to MN, where he was in a classroom that used the Daily 5. His reading abilities and interest went through the roof!!
In second grade, they also used Daily 5. Each day, they chose what they wanted to do (though, I don’t think they had a listening center – the “listen to reading” was in the form of listening to someone else). While second grade was a tough year for him in many other ways, his reading abilities continued to grow. He is now entering 3rd grade, and his reading is at about a grade level ahead of his age. He chooses books for fun, but also to learn about things he is interested in.
I’ve been thinking more and more about the Daily 5. I’m trying to figure out ways to implement it in preschool while still remaining age appropriate. I put the question out on twitter, and mentioned it to my assistant teacher. The main responses I got had to do with being careful to not be too academic for preschoolers. That made me wonder if there’s more to it than my understanding. I am continuing to research it, but if it’s a choice, I wonder how it becomes too academic? I’d love some feedback on that.
Listen to Reading
While children in our preschool wouldn’t necessarily call it the Daily 5, I’m thinking ideas from this strategy can be pulled into preschool. Every day, I read a book to our preschoolers. We meet 2 times each week, and usually, I read the same book both days. I like to see how much they remember and interact with the book the second time through.
We also have a listening center in our classroom. Each week, we change the book. We teach the children how to operate the CD player independently. We put a green star sticker on the play button to help them remember which button to push. We have two headsets at the table, and when possible, we put out two copies of the book. Sometimes, two children may have to share one book. Many children used the listening center, and were excited to find out what the new book was each week.
Read to Self
Most days, at the end of the day, our preschoolers have about 5 minutes of “independent reading” time. I have a box of “special books” that I bring from home. The only time this box is open for them to choose books from, is during that time. They get very excited about some of the books, as many of them are non-fiction books or have favorite characters (such as Dora) that I don’t always include in our reading center.
Read to Others
I love when the preschoolers play “teacher” and read to each other. There’s something about a reading center and/or the teacher’s chair that invites children to sit down and “read” to each other. These are some of my favorite moments in preschool (besides the hug attacks).
Word Work/ Work on Writing
My understanding is that “word work” is anything that works on letters, words, worksheets, or even other fine motor work (to prepare for writing). “Work on writing” would then be just writing during that time frame.
In preschool, we do lots of fine motor work. We have lacing cards and peg work, a writing center full of tools they can color, draw, cut and more. We have journals they can “write” in, and small groups with various activities that usually all link back to either math activities or a literacy activity.
This year, I plan on being more intentional about using the journals in our 4-5 year old class. I plan on at least once a week (we only have class 2 days a week), having them do something in their journals that directly links to the book we’re reading that week. We may draw pictures (which they, of course, would dictate to us to write down for them), or we may have them trying to write words (maybe character names, or key words from the story). The skills we will have them try will increase in difficulty as the year goes on. I would love some thoughts on this…
As I asked my kids about Daily 5, my son’s face lit up. He was able to tell me again what the 5 pieces were, and what they each mean. He had a look of fondness on his face as he said to me, “I like Daily 5. I hope we get to do it in 3rd grade too.”