Daily 5

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the goal for implementing the Daily 5 in your classroom?   The goal of the Daily 5 is for students to work independently on meaningful reading and writing while the classroom teacher meets with individuals and/or small groups.  Students cycle through 5 tasks:  read to self, read to someone, work on writing, word work, and listen to reading.  Upper grades (5th grade and middle school) often do just read to self, read to someone, and work on writing. Children learn to read by reading, not through a series of worksheets.  This extended reading and writing time allows students to make significant progress in literacy as they take responsibility for monitoring their learning.  The Daily 5 model gives teachers ample time for small group work, as well as time to coach the struggling readers while the students establish independence and stamina.

 Who can help you reach the goals you will set?  Read The Daily 5, Fostering Literacy Independence in the Elementary Grades by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser.  The key is to have the children take ownership of their learning and behavior and ultimately reach the goals that you set together.  Your literacy coach and reading specialist can help you in terms of reading strategies and book selection.  Your school librarian and public librarian can also help with book selection, especially coordinating several copies of books on tape.  I recommend the online Daily 5 course through the Learner's Edge Course # 5044 (Learner's Edge).  

How much time do you estimate for each step to complete?  You must start off slowly and be very detailed about behavior and expectations.  The goal is for the teacher to not intervene by even praising correct behavior.  The teacher must explicitly teach the behaviors and have students practice until the behaviors become habits.  Spend at least 5 days mastering and focusing fully on each Daily 5 section, starting with a mere 3 minutes of practice.  It will take about a total of 25 days to implement this model fully, define and practice behaviors, build stamina, and assess individual needs.

How will you communicate each individual’s reading progress with administration, team members, and parents?  Purchase a very large binder, and have a section for each individual student.  In the binder, have reading conference notes on each child, running records, informal assessments, as well as Keeping Track charts of the Daily 5 rotations. A monthly calendar should be included with names of those students you plan on conferencing with, with sufficient time for the child to get much reading in to reach his/her individual goals.  You will be meeting with the struggling readers more often.  A Strategy Groups and Instruction chart should be included, so you will know who is receiving what strategy group instruction.  I highly recommend reading The Cafe Book  by the same authors, and follow their outline of record keeping.

How will you know when you have accomplished each step?  You will know when you have accomplished each step when the class is functioning independently.  The children are there to support each other, as they will have been given ample time to learn and practice the correct way of each rotation, and they have seen the incorrect way modeled.  Each student should not only demonstrate correct behavior but also articulate his/her goals and strategies.  The goal is to have the five 30-40 minute rotations, and children choose the order of their rotations.  Between each rotation, the teacher gathers the class together on the rug to do focus lessons in which the children should try.

Why should you incorporate the Daily 5 into YOUR classroom?  Instead of running off and correcting hundreds of disjointed and meaningless worksheets each day while you work with individuals or small groups, students spend their time READING to themselves, READING with others, and listening to fluent and expressive READING!  They are WRITING and working with WORDS that relate to their reading, not random words.  The Daily 5 also lends itself easily to differentiation of instruction.  

FIRST THINGS FIRST!  Before you begin the Daily 5 be sure you have:

  1. A meeting area to meet with whole class on the floor
  2. A meeting area to meet with small groups or individuals
  3. A well stocked classroom library
  4. Book boxes for each individual student
  5. Listening center areas, stocked with books
  6. Writing material center
  7. Anchor charts displayed (The following lists are your "anchor charts."  Brainstorm these together, and refer to them often.)


Teach students that there are 3 ways to read a book:

  1. Read the pictures
  2. Read the words
  3. Retell a previously read book

                           Use I PICK to find a good fit book:

I choose a book.

Purpose ~ Why do I want to read it?

Interest ~ Does it interest me?

Comprehend ~ Do I understand what I am reading?

Know ~ I know most of the words.

Follow the suggested lesson in the Daily 5 of bringing in a variety of shoes to demonstrate I PICK.  Try each shoe on in front of the class.  Which is the best fit for the purpose?  Some shoes fit fine, but are not for the right purpose.  For example, you would not wear winter boots in the summer, just as you would not read Goldilocks and the Three Bears to find information on bears!  Some shoes are too small (too easy books) or too large (too difficult books).  Children take off one shoe, and try on each other's shoes.  The most comfortable shoe, you will find, is your very own ~ the one unique to you. Shoes have different sizes and purposes; the right book for each individual varies widely, too! 

To teach each part of the Daily 5 we use MUSCLE MEMORY twice daily:

  1. Identify what is to be taught
  2. Set a purpose and a sense of urgency
  3. Brainstorm behaviors desired using an I chart (Students on one side/Teacher on other ~ the teacher side will always say "working with small groups or individuals") 
  4. Model most-desirable behaviors (1-3 students)
  5. Incorrect model ~ least desirable behaviors, then model most desirable behaviors (pick the 1-2 students whom you sense will have difficulty)
  6. Everyone practice and build stamina (starting with 3 minutes, less if necessary.  Never let incorrect behavior continue to be practiced.)
  7. Teacher stays out of the way, sitting at guided reading/assessment spot
  8. Check in signal (bell/chime) ~ come back to group
  9. Group check in ~ how did you do?  How did it go?  Review anchor chart.  What did we learn?
  10.  Repeat 1-9

Read To Self

What does this look like?

  1. Read the whole time
  2. Stay in one spot
  3. Read quietly
  4. Work on stamina
  5. Check for understanding
  6. Get started right away
  7. Put materials away correctly
FOCUS LESSONS:  3 ways to read a book, where to sit in room, how to choose good fit books.
Do "Muscle Memory."  Practice for 5 days (school days 1-5).  Increase time slowly each day.   The sense of urgency is to become a better reader, have fun, and to practice skills. 

 Read To Someone

What does this look like?

  1. Sit EEK (elbow, elbow, knee, knee)
  2. Stay in one spot
  3. Read the whole time
  4. Check for understanding
  5. Get started right away
  6. Put materials away correctly
FOCUS LESSONS:  How to sit EEKK, where to sit, 3 ways to read to someone, how to check for understanding, what to do when reading the same book/different books, how to choose books with a partner, how to coach.  Then, start to teach various skills and strategies.
Do "Muscle Memory." Practice for 5 days (school days 6-10.  Continue doing Read to Self).   Increase time slowly each day. The sense of urgency is to become a better reader, work on fluency, have fun, and to practice skills. 


Teach that there are 3 ways to Read to Someone.  Spend time modeling/practicing each one:

  1. Check for Understanding. When students are Reading to Someone, one partner holds a laminated check mark.  If the student is holding the check mark this means that he/she has the role of listener and word helper, or coach.  Once the partner has finished reading the passage or page, the partner holding the check mark asks the reader questions about what he/she read.   Then they switch, the other student reads as their partner holds the check mark and this time they "check for understanding".  As the year goes on aim for asking "thick" questions, rather than literal.
  2. I Read/You Read.  This is a great way to work on fluency.  The more competent reader reads a page; the 2nd reader immediately rereads it.
  3. Read 2 Different Books.  The 1st reader reads a page of his/her book.  The silent person tells what he/she has just heard.  The 2nd person reads his page, the silent person tells what he has heard, etc. etc.

How To Choose a Partner ~ What does this look like?

  1. Raise hand, mouths closed.
  2. Make eye contact with another student with hand raised.
  3. Walk over to that person.

How To Be a Coach:

  1. Silently count to 3.
  2. Ask:  Do you want time or coaching?
  3. If the partner says time, wait patiently, if they say coaching say:
  • Get your mouth around the 1st sound.  Sound it out.
  • Try skipping the word, and go back.
  • Do you see any chunks that you know?
  • Did your try look right?  Sound right?  Make sense?

Work on Writing

What does this look like?

  1. Write the whole time
  2. Stay in one spot
  3. Write quietly
  4. Get started right away
  5. Reread your story
  6. Put materials away correctly

FOCUS LESSONS:  Where to sit in the room, topics of what to write about, different forms of writing, how to write words when you are stuck, then move into various writing lessons

Do "Muscle Memory."  Practice for 5 days (Start day 10-15.  Continue with Read to Self and Read to Someone).  Increase time slowly each day. The sense of urgency is to become a better reader and writer.  We care about our writing and the people who read it.  We have choice in what to write, and it is fun. 


Word Work

What does it look like?

  1. Take materials of choice
  2. Set up in a quiet location
  3. Work the whole time
  4. Stay in one spot
  5. Work quietly
  6. Get started right away
  7. Try your best
  8. Put materials away correctly

FOCUS LESSON:  Procedures for material setup, proper way to use materials, and clean up.

Do "Muscle Memory."  Practice for 5 days (Start day 15-20.  Continue with Read to Self, Read to Someone, and Work on Writing).  Increase time slowly each day.  The sense of urgency is to become a better reader, writer, and speller.  We care about our writing and the people who read it.  It is fun. 

Listening To Reading

What does this look like?

  1. Follow along
  2. Listen to the whole story
  3. Listen quietly
  4. Check for understanding
  5. Get started right away
  6. Rewind tape
  7. Put materials away correctly

FOCUS LESSON STARTERS:  How to set up.  How to listen and follow along using words and/or pictures.

Do "Muscle Memory."  Practice for 5 days (Start day 20-25.  Continue with Read to Self, Read to Someone, Work on Writing, and Word Work).  Increase time slowly each day.  The sense of urgency is to become a better reader, have fun, and to learn and understand new stories! 



Araujo, Judith E., M.Ed., CAGS. "Daily 5 Overview For Teachers." Mrs. Judy Araujo, Reading Specialist. N.p., 7 July 2012. Web. <http://www.mrsjudyaraujo.com/daily-5-overview-for-teachers/>.

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