The Daily Cafe

Never Use a Basal, Trying to Implement Daily 5 w/CCSS


I have read your book Daily Five (Second Edition) and teach 4th grade this year (I loop 4th and 5th). My reading block used to be separated into Shared Reading lesson (30 minutes) with 1 hr allocated to leveled Guided Reading (where I’d give my students a to-do list to complete at their seat). I am switching it up this year as I start a new loop and am wanting to try to implement the daily five using Word Work, Read to Self, and Work on Writing with a focus lesson and brain breaks in between. My reading block is 90 minutes each day after lunch (12pm-1:30). What are your suggestions on time? Also, how do you keep your lessons short at this age? I feel like I can never keep them short as I am not sure how to teach a modeled lesson and then move it to their independent reading book for applying it when relating it to CCSS such as differences in structures of text, etc. Suggestions?


First, I want to recommend that you look at the section of the website called “Brief Focus Lessons”. There are lessons there that focus on specific grade levels. Here’s a link to where you can find them:

If you look at the ones that have “Grade Level Specific” lessons, you’ll see how this author suggests you can intro lessons in the “brief, focused” way the Sisters discuss.

Also, here are a couple of other links to get some ideas:


As far as your time block, here are some tips I’ve heard the Sister discuss:

At your level, think about dividing the block into 2, or perhaps 3 rounds. One would be Read to Self, one for Work on Writing (with a small amount of that time for Word Work as needed at your level). If you have the third round, that one can be a choice of their own. Either say you do it is fine.


One more thing :). Have you looked at the CCSS menus on the site? The link below is to a matrix developed for grades 1-8 for those standards. You can get a particular grade level’s menu from that spot.



So word work is embedded in Work on Writing? I thought it would be a separate round. Each of those (RS, WW, WOW) I would do as student choice. In the book they had recommended giving students limited choice; like they have choice of what order they’d do things with, but were limiting them to doing one of the options given and committing to it before you let them go to their seats. So how long would you spend on each one for that grade level?[quote=“srea, post:4, topic:1889, full:true”]
One more thing :). Have you looked at the CCSS menus on the site? The link below is to a matrix developed for grades 1-8 for those standards. You can get a particular grade level’s menu from that spot.

I did look, but I didn’t see all the CCSS represented there, I’ll check again. :slight_smile:


Word Work is a separate entity, but at your level, most kids don’t need as long on that as Work on Writing or Reading. So, the Sisters suggest that the kids have 10-15 min of one writing round to do the Work Work required, and then move on to writing. If you look in your book on pages 16 and 17, you’ll see the structure that the Sisters suggest for primary/intermediate classroom. One shows three rounds, and one shows two (when the students have more stamina and can handle a longer time for each reading and writing session. Notice that on both pages, the Read to Self and Work on Writing are bolded, to show that they definitely must be done every day, and in the case of the two-choice sessions, would be the main choices. If your students need a bit of word work (but not a whole round), they can do 10-15 min then move on to Writing. Make sense? This is explained in the text, as well.

Yes, choice is imperative. After you have introduced them, students can choose the order they do them.

The CCSS standards on the menu can be found here:


Got it, yes I have that page already highlighted to look back at next week as I gear everything up. Yes, the 10-15 minutes during writing time makes sense. I hope I can make this transition nice and smooth. I’m still worried about the 7-10 min focus lesson…as my shared reading lesson always went to 20 minutes! Hopefully I can pull this off as I really like the scheduled time. Plus, reading comes right before our writing time (I have in addition to my 90 minute reading block a 45 minute writing block of time 3 days a week). So work on writing is in addition to my dedicated writing time. I’m not great with guided groups, so I am hoping this will help me become better at teaching and pulling guided groups, particularly my “higher reading” group.


Good luck to you as you get going! I think once you start doing brief-focus lessons, you’ll see the benefit of keeping it short in your students attention and focusing.

Since you mentioned the guided groups, I might also add that the Sisters, are hearing from many teachers around the country (and world, really) talk about how individual conferring for 5 minutes or so is more powerful for them and their students. Here’s a short article that Joan wrote recently: