Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Let the Fun Begin: The Beginning of Daily 5 in Kindergarten

I'm kind of a by-the-book kind of girl (well at least about things I want to do) so when I read in The Daily Five book that you should start Daily 5 on the very first day of school I just accepted it. So last year I dutifully filled my book boxes, printed out my stamina chart, and got ready for day one of read-to-self. But I admit I was skeptical. Really kindergartners reading? And surprisingly it went really well! I was so pleased- each and every day my kiddos were reading longer and longer. I loved hearing them say at the end of a practice session: "But I'm not finished reading yet!" By the end of the year my little readers were reading for 30-40 minutes every day,  and it was heaven! So this year I typed up my first day lesson plans excited for a new year of Daily 5. And you know what? It actually went pretty well. After seeing what kinders can do I'm just itching for us to get to long work periods and to have real conversations about books. We're not there yet (we got to 4 minutes today) but I have big dreams for this class. I know we'll get there!

So are you on the fence about whether or not to do read-to-self with your kinders? Jump in- you won't regret it! Are you not so sure about starting the first day? Do it- set the expectation the very first day that in this classroom we read EVERYDAY, and we are ALL readers!

I'm definitely not an expert but I thought I would share a few things I do for my first days of read-to-self. Your kids can do it!

What lessons do you teach the first few days? The first few days I really focus on good habits of readers. We review the expectations for read to self everyday with motions: Read Quietly (put finger over lips), stay in one spot (hold up one finger), read the whole time (make your hands into a book- palms together and facing up), get started right away (tap your imaginary wrist watch). The other big lessons I teach over the first few days is 3 Ways to Read a Book. This is super important for kinders because more than likely on your first day of D5 one of your little ones will cry, "But I don't know how to read!" Validate all kinds of reading: 1) Read the pictures. 2) Read from memory. 3) Read the words. We focus on each of these ways of reading the first few days. I use big books to model each way. The kids begin to really feel like readers the first day, and I LOVE that! Excuse the ugly anchor chart...I'm making a new one with picture prompts soon!

What do you put in their book boxes? I do not open my classroom library until the 2nd or 3rd week of school. I really want my kids to get to know how to take care of books, how our library is organized, and how to find/put back books. So for the first few weeks of school I place books in their book boxes. Because my first few lessons with my kiddos focus on the three ways to read I try to make sure to include books they can practice the different kinds of reading with.  For read the pictures I put in some great books with awesome pictures (favorite characters, I Spy!, and animal non-fiction are big favorites in my class). For read from memory I put a copy of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, or The Three Bears (check out your upper grades guided reading room for multiple copies!). For read the words I include very easy books with one or two words for page. I trade out books every day or so (just swap books from each book box) to keep the kiddos interested. Oh see the little dots on the bottom of the boxes? I use these to call the kids to put their boxes up. Eventually I'll use these to group the kids for leveled reading groups (They are velcroed on!).

How many minutes should you expect the first few days? 2-3 minutes the first day is a big victory! We practice for two sessions, and we always celebrate gains in our reading stamina. The kids get so excited to see their "reading tower" grow on our stamina chart!

I hope that helps! How do you manage Daily 5 in your classroom? What works for you?

Happy Reading!


  1. WOW! That's so helpful for me to read! I'm starting the Daily 5 (with kindergarteners) this year and I was like "first day? HA!" but now I'm thinking, "Mayyyyybeee???"

  2. You can do it Ashley! And really it's only 15-20 minutes or so(depending on how much you talk!)total time of your first day, and it makes so much difference in the long run!!

  3. Awesome post!! This is so helpful and positive! Thanks for linking up. I hope your year goes awesome!!
    Thoughts of a Third Grade Teacher

  4. I start Daily Five right away with my firsties. I teach struggling ELLs so quite a few of them are non-readers in the beginning too. I always include wordless picture books in their book bags. I model, model, model how to tell the story by reading the pictures. They love them! Mercer Mayer has a great set of wordless books. David Wisener does as well. Check them out! Your kinders will love them!

  5. @ Kate.Mich- I love those Mercer Mayer books! I really need to do better teaching my kiddos to really read the pictures. I'll have to check the David Wisener books your suggested!

  6. Hello! Thank you for your post! I am trying Daily 5 for the first time this year. I am struggling to start all the areas. Is there any way you would share your plans of how you do it? Thanks so much!


  7. Jessie:
    Could you please explain how the dot system works on the book boxes? Thanks. This a great information. We started Daily 5 for the first time last year. We teach kindergarten, but we did not get the Daily 5 information until March. So glad I did it last year to know what to be prepared for this year. I am excited to try it from the beginning this year.
    Laurie lbubenik@wcpss.net