Daily 5 and CAFE

The Daily Five approach to reading instruction was developed by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser. This approach is a student-driven management structure that embeds a culture of expectations for high engagement, and meaningful, authentic reading and writing.

According to Boushey and Moser (2006), the Daily Five:

  • Rely on the teaching of independence
  • Manage the entire literacy block
  • Allow for three to five focus lessons and more intentional teaching
  • Provide students substantial time to read and write
  • Allow for integration of reading and writing
  • Incorporate a variety of clearly defined instructional routines that accelerate learning
  • Build stamina to ensure longer periods of time students successfully read and write
  • Articulate student behaviours that culminate in highly engaged learners
  • Teach students to understand and monitor their literacy gaols

 From The Daily Five Fostering Literacy Independence in the Elementary Grades, 2005, p. 13


Launching the Daily Five program requires a well crafted series of lessons designed to support the foundation principles. Beginning with establishing a gathering place, selecting good fit books (IPICK) and organizing book boxes, the structure requires additional thinking about using co-created anchor charts outlying what the students are doing and saying, and what the teacher is doing – and encouraging reflection through check ins and signals to ensure it is flowing.

The Daily Five is broken down into key component parts:daily_5_pstrs
Figure 1 Students are engaged in read to self, read to someone, and word work.
 daily 5 2Figure 2:Students check in and select their Dailies. Student names removed from the left of the list.
 Students have the choice to select which “Daily” they are going to work on for each approximate 20 minute section of the literacy block. Application of the Daily Five varies – some teachers find that the “Daily Three” is a better fit for the stamina of their students while others run all Five in one literacy block

Each session is preceded by a short gathering and reflection time, and a short mini-lesson intended to address a need of the class in reading or writing. While students are engaged in the Daily Five, the teacher is able to bring students together for small group instruction based on the mini lesson or other needs identified through observations and assessment. Guided Reading, Guided Writing, individual conferences, and Running Records can be accomplished during the Daily Five times.

daily 5 3 daily 5 4Figure 3: Guided Reading lesson based on Comprehension focus.

Figure 4: Guided Reading lesson based on Accuracy focus.

Boushey and Moser have also developed an approach to monitoring literacy in which students have a strong voice in identifying their learning needs, and are accountable for monitoring their progress and learning. Boushey and Moser organize reading skills into four main categories:

  • Comprehension
  • Accuracy
  • Fluency
  • Expanding Vocabulary

After building a common understanding of the meaning of these elements, the teacher and individual students collaboratively determine what area the student will focus on. This becomes the reading goal for the child over the subsequent period of time with which the student is accountable to respond to and be metacognitive of, as they read independently and with others.

Many teachers are basing their guided reading lessons on these four elements and are grouping students by CAFÉ need as well as by reading level.

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