The Daily Cafe

The Daily 5 and Words Their Way


I love Words Their Way in terms of teaching spelling in my classroom. This fall however I am very excited to implement The Daily 5. Does anyone out there have any successful tips for merging Words Their Way into the Work on Words portion of Daily 5? Thanks!


My school uses WTW and Daily 5. I will say that different grade levels vary how they incorporate the two. I’m most familiar with what our first grade teachers do, so that’s what I’ll mention.

WTW time is a separate bit of time from Daily 5 for the lessons in small groups, especially when introducing new sorts. The lessons are short, following the guidelines the Sisters and brain research tell us about. The first couple of days are spent really looking at the sort and making generalizations (or discovering patterns), sorting and resorting the words. After that, the kiddos write the words (as best they can) in their WW journals, read to a friend and practice “old” sorts. Our teachers have the kids keep the words from each of their old sorts in separate snack-sized baggies in large brown envelopes so they always have those available.

This last piece, the revisiting of “old sorts”, is easily transferred to Daily 5 WW time. Since the kiddos are familiar with the words in these, they can use WW manipulatives to practice during those rounds to cement the learning.

We also use a program for K-2 called “Phonics Dance” (not really a dance, but chants) to support both WTW concepts and Accuracy strategies. We feel that combination really is supportive of the CAFE strategies, and we see kids making great connections!


I teach first grade and use both Daily 5 and WTW. I don’t have as much time as I would like for my literacy block in my classroom so I try not to take away from any more reading time for word study than I have to. On Mondays I meet with every word study group during the rounds of Daily 5. We go over the sorts and do quick lessons. On Tuesday through Thursday, the students have a menu in their book bins and they need to do a writing sort, physical sort and glue their sort by Friday. They do this during Word Work and can do it in what ever order they want (obviously gluing the sort last), they just have to be able to cross them off on their menu. I am able to confer with students while they are working on their sorts as well if they need extra help. On Friday I meet with all the groups again and do a blind sort with them. This is a good assessment tool to see how they are doing. It works out nicely to make sure I am fitting in the WTW program but still giving students choice and TIME TO READ!


Do you give written spelling tests?


Some of our teachers say that they given a written assessment of whatever sort they were working on that week–mostly to make parents happy :). Those who do give the written assessments don’t only give words on the sorts, but other words that follow the same pattern.


My students cut the words and keep them in baggies for use during the week they are working on them. If they choose word work, they bring their baggie with them and one activity involves using banagrams or any letter tiles to spell as many of their words as they can. They like when I take photos of their arranged tiles.