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Posted by Casey

I often hear teachers talking about how they organise the rest of their class while they are doing guided reading with their students. In my classroom, we used the Daily 5 which worked beautifully! I’m going to write about how I introduced each part of the Daily 5 with my Preps so that you can see how  it worked in my classroom.

How to start Daily 5 in the early years classroom | book boxes | word work | read to self | work on writing | kindergarten and prep classroom |

Using the Daily 5 in my classroom has been an absolute game changer for my literacy block! If you’d like to learn more about the Daily 5, you can grab the book here over on the Book Depository.

The Daily 5

Book Boxes

Each student in my class had their own book box which we kept on the shelves.  At the beginning of the year, this is where we stored our writing book. As we learnt more about the Daily 5, we would add more resources. Eventually, the box would hold their Work on Writing book, writing goal booklet, list of sight words and 3 good fit books. At the beginning of any Daily 5 session, the students would go and grab their book boxes ready to go.

Daily 5 Book Boxes for Literacy Groups

Read to Self

Once we had settled into our new school year, I would begin thinking about introducing Read to Self to my students.  First we would have a discussion around selecting appropriate books for our book boxes. As we were beginning readers, students often picked books they couldn’t yet read, but that was okay because we knew there were lots of different ways to read a book (read the pictures, read the words, retell the story).

I would then model the right and wrong way to do Read to Self  which the students always found really funny. I would also select students to do this modelling for me. We would then get to work on building our reading stamina. I would set the timer and students would begin reading. Whenever a student starting displaying the wrong behaviours, we’d stop the timer and pack up. We would have a chat about what went well and then we’d set a goal for the next day. We used this chart to track our reading stamina which kept the kids motivated to try really hard.

daily 5 reading stamina-1

Eventually, we would do Read to Self every day after first break. As soon as the students entered the classroom, they would grab their book boxes and get started with reading all by themselves. I could then use this time to do some Running Records or just simply enjoy reading one on one with my students.

daily 5 read to self

Read to Someone

Read to Someone flowed on naturally from Read to Self. I would introduce this the same way as I introduced Read to Self. We’d sit in a circle and model what it looks like to sit Elbow to Elbow, Knee to Knee and how we could take turns reading and listening. This became a favourite in my classroom each time I introduced it.

daily 5 read to someone

After lunch, my students would then decide whether they wanted to Read to Self or Read to Someone. Sometimes a student might have wanted to Read to Someone but there was nobody left so they would pick a stuffed toy and read to that. I loved seeing my students read to one another, especially when a more able reader worked with a less able reader.

daily 5 read to someone 2

Work on Writing

Work on Writing was during our Writing Workshop block which was 30-40 minutes long each day. Students would grab their book box and come to the carpet for a modelled writing session. We would talk about writing strategies and they would share their idea with a partner. This was almost always a ‘free choice’ writing session where students could write about anything they wanted.

At the tables, students would write and illustrate independently but I encouraged students to ask a friend for help before asking the teacher.  Here’s an example of some writing from Term 2.

daily 5 work on writing

Each student also had a Writing Goals booklet in their book boxes. Here I would write a personal goal for each particular student. As students were writing, I could walk around and give mini lessons to students and also remind students of their goals.

daily 5 work on writing 2

At the end of our Work on Writing time, we would do some sharing on the carpet. I encouraged my students to give positive feedback to their peers. On the days we were short on time, students would share their work with a partner. It was really sweet to see the kids reading their work to one another!

daily 5 work on writing 3

You can read more about my Writing Workshop block here.

Word Work

We would do Word Work every day for 20 minutes while I met with my reading group. I had a teacher aide during this time who would monitor students and make sure they were on task but I often had her helping with testing during this time. Students had a little astronaut showing what words they were working on, and if they had mastered their current level, my TA would test during this time too.

daily 5 word work sight words

Students would collect their book boxes where they all had copies of the sight words they were working on. I would then have 5 students pick a Word Work activity from the shelves to set up on tables and on the carpet, then students could pick which of those activities they wanted to work on. Students were also free to move around to other activities during the 20 minute block. These activities were all hands on that could be used with any sight words. This meant that students weren’t disrupting me while I read with my group. It worked fantastically!

Below are a few of the Word Work activities that were quite popular in my classroom!

daily 5 word work 1
daily 5 word work 2
daily 5 word work 3
daily 5 word work 4

I made some Sight Word Task Cards which you can grab in my store. They are made to be laminated and placed on tables so that students can see what their sight word work should look like. You could also print them to use at home as well. The set is $3 and includes 17 different hands on cards which can be used for any list of sight words or spelling words.

I also sent home a Word Work folder with students that also outlined some hands on ways for parents to assist their children with learning their sight words. This folder only had the current words my students were working on which worked SO much better than the year before when we just sent the entire 100 words home.

Daily 5 Word Work Sight Word Folders

Listen to Reading

The final part of Daily 5 is Listen to Reading. I know a lot of teachers do listening centres for this but I just didn’t have access to the technology to do this in my classroom so this was usually when we read a big book as a whole class or a nice picture book after break time. It’s definitely a part of the Daily 5 that I need to explore some more and would love to hear your suggestions on how you implement this in your classroom!

Anyway, this post has ended up being a mega post! I hope you’ve found some useful ideas for running the Daily 5 in your classroom. I’d love to hear how it works for you too!


About the author

Casey is an early years teacher turned stay at home mum to three little learners aged 6 and under. She is passionate about supporting parents that want to use play as a vehicle to bond with their little learners and create magical memories of childhood! You can follow Casey on Instagram right here.


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  1. How purposeful and engaging. Thank you for sharing. Perhaps you could consider becoming a mentor to other teachers. Lots of practical strategies for developing a literacy block. ???

  2. Brilliant post- I’m very inspired and after returning to teaching after an 11 year break to have my kids this has given me so many ideas for when I do have my own class again! How do you timetable your day? I’d really love to see a visual if you could? Thanks again!

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