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on January 17, 2007
I purchased this book and read it within a few hours. This book is cleary written, conscise, not full of jargon, and truly written for the classroom teacher to implement effectively. I teach 1st grade and can easily transition my students into this routine. The authors offer practical advice regarding teaching of behaviors, management, assessment, and references for further reading and research. What a refreshing change from dense, heady teacher-reading! An ASSET to any professional library (literacy teacher or elementary teacher)!
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on July 24, 2006
The ideas and lesson procedures discussed in this book are very beneficial to teachers who incorporate balanced literacy components throughout their daily curriculum decisions. The discussion of muscle memory and how to build the students' stamina for longer periods of independent work are clearly laid out for the reader. A sample schedule that shows how to include daily lessons in the beginning weeks of school to build this stamina are detailed in the appendix. I would recommend this book for any teacher who wants to improve students' independent work time.
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on July 21, 2007
Read and implement this! This would definately help you start you classroom off on the right pace to more independent learners without getting into the paper trap of worksheets, worksheets , worksheets! Gail's ideas to increase independence from gradual release of responsibility would help all students learn more and also permit you to teach in the smaller groups for greater differentiation.
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I've never had so many web visitors ask for my opinion on a book as I have with The Daily 5: Fostering Literacy Independence in the Elementary Grades. And as soon as I started reading, I realized why.

"The sisters" are obviously long-lost relatives of mine.

Let's run down the list of similarities here, shall we? Gail Boushey and Joan Moser were classroom teachers when they wrote the book and tell about systems they created with their own students, they don't advocate one `right' way to teach that requires you to throw out everything else you do, and they show you how to teach your students to run the classroom. Check, check, and CHECK. I'm totally on board.

Most of you reading this review are already familiar with the Daily 5 (it's been out since 2006), so I'll make this less of a book summary and more of an opinion piece. I loved how readable the book was. The tone was conversational and easy-to-understand. I loved the ongoing discussion of how their teaching practice has changed and evolved over the years. Not only does this make the sisters seem like real people who didn't start off as master teachers on day one, but it gives permission to the rest of us to grow and let go of ineffective practices we've become attached to. I also love how the book emphasizes the element of choice for children. This truly is a student-centered way to run your literacy block.

But mostly, I love the way the sisters emphasize modeling and practice for routines. This is something I've been droning on about for years, but I've never seen the concept so perfectly explained for the context of literacy routines. Even if you're not using the Daily 5, the procedures the book advocates for teaching children to be independent is applicable to whatever literacy tasks you have them regularly complete...and would work for math routines, too. The explanation of how to model and practice is definitely the crown jewel of The Daily 5.

There were two aspects of teaching routines in The Daily 5 that I had never thought about. The first is doing 3 minute practice periods to build stamina. My practice periods were usually starting at 10 minutes for 3rd graders, but the sisters point out that you must stop before any children have a chance to get off-task: start small so they can be successful and train their `muscle memories' to complete the procedure correctly. The other new concept for me is the premise of not managing with eye control or proximity (my two favorite techniques) when practicing literacy routines. This was a radical idea in my mind: What, no raised eyebrows and the `um-i-don't-think-so-buddy' glare when a kid starts picking at his shoelaces instead of reading? Not during the Daily 5 stamina-building sessions. Instead, you're supposed to stop the whole class and revisit the anchor chart so kids can reflect on their own practices. We're talking student ownership on the next level.

Obviously since I'm obsessed with teaching routines and procedures, I really keyed in on that aspect. As for the Daily 5 elements themselves (Read to Self, Read to Someone, Listen to Reading, Work on Writing, and Word Work)...I can get with those, too. The concepts aren't anything revolutionary, nor do the sisters claim they are-they're just best practices that focus on authentic reading rather than teacher-contrived busywork. These elements have been going on in classrooms for a long time under many pseudonyms, and they work. I found yet another commonality with my long-lost sisters in that I, too, started making the switch from assigning reading activities to having kids READ after studying Regie Routman's Reading Essentials. That book changed everything for me, and it heavily influenced the sisters, too.

The only downside of The Daily 5 being such a short and easy read is that it's possibly TOO short-personally, I would like to have read a lot more than 100 pages on this topic. The book left me with a number of unanswered questions. For example, the recommended daily schedule shows whole-group reading instruction being completed solely in four 5-7 minute mini lessons. How could that be possible, especially if you're mandated to use a basal or complete daily test prep practice? Wouldn't longer lessons be needed in the upper elementary grades in which skills are more complex? I headed over to the website to look for support, but was disappointed to find that the online resources are available only for members at the rate of $39 for a 3 month subscription or $69 annually (um, ouch.) So I started a Daily 5 discussion on Facebook and found, as usual, that teachers have all the answers I'm looking for. Not only did they explain that the Daily 5 Structure is highly adaptable and it's the teacher's choice how long the mini-lessons run, they explained just how they use the structure in their own classrooms and gave practical tips.

Wonderful, practical, and free advice from teachers on how they implement The Daily 5 is abundant on the web (especially on the ProTeacher message boards). I've researched their reviews extensively, and the overwhelming response from classroom teachers is that IT WORKS. The Daily 5 has an incredible following of teachers whose students can't wait for the literacy block each day because they've developed such a deep love of reading that's totally independent of adult direction. What more could we want for our students? Go `head, sisters.

[Originally posted on the reviewer's blog.]
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on June 12, 2009
Though this is a primary-oriented text, I found it working wonders in middle and high school. This is the MOST POWERFUL structure of creating reading and writing independence I've every seen. I've adapted this to my high school classroom, making it the Daily 3: reading to yourself, reading to someone, and working on writing. My older students needed the structure of reading and writing and I NEEDED the structure to conference on their work and process daily.

I thought I was going to get to teach process and content from this book, but the by product was exceptional classroom management self-regulated by my high school students - all this I credit to the "2 Sisters"!
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on February 5, 2009
WOW! I have been teaching first grade for 23 years and have been looking for a way to really engage my students in literacy activities while doing guided reading. I wanted them to really become independent during that time so that I wasn't answering their questions about the activities and trying to read with others. The Daily 5 has allowed me to do just that. Reading to self and others, writing, word work and listening to stories have taking the place of reading tickets that have to be created each week. The noise level in my room is now a hush with children working the whole time. I have even been able to get through my small groups with no distractions. I started this program mid way through this school year and I am so pleased with the results. Great program for any age.
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on July 28, 2006
This book is a wonderful resource for any teacher who has wondered what the other kids will be doing while you have reading conferences or small group instruction during your literacy block. Step by step, detailed lessons for the first 5 weeks of school will get your students working independently WITHOUT the need for you to create and plan an endless menu of center activities. The students will be doing what we need them to do most - reading and writing! This is a quick and easy read, with lots of classroom examples, and lessons for teaching your students to be independent withing the first 5 weeks of school. Get this book!
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on April 5, 2009
I bought this book last May, in hopes of implementing this school year (2008/2009). Despite some early and long lasting bumps in the road due to the personalities in my classroom, the Daily 5 has really helped my students.
Like anything you try as a teacher, be willing to make this your own and be patient. Many of my students had stamina issues. To make a go of it, we spent a long time just doing "Read to Self" and I gradually let students do "Read to Someone" as they showed they were ready for it. Even though I began the year with Daily 5, my second graders were only doing 2 out of 5 by December. By February, we finally were doing all 5!
I can honestly say, it was worth all the effort. It's so much easier for me to do running records and work with small groups and individual students. Now that I've had some experience, I can't wait to start a new school year with the Daily 5. I'm a member of Gail and Joan's Daily Cafe website and it's really helped me with reading instruction. I'm excited to purchase their new book this month and look forward to attending their workshops in the future. This book will change your teaching life if you put forth the effort!
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on July 4, 2009
I used the daily 5 with my students this past year. I have taught 1st grade for 3 years and this was by far the best group of readers. I never thought it could happen, but they learned how to sit and read to themselves, with a partner, write and listen to reading for 20-30 minutes at a time. Their reading scores went through the roof. A few teachers in our school used and loved this program and the principal was so impressed with the scores that we have been asked to introduce it to the whole school.

One thing the author said made total sense. How are they supposed to learn to read if they don't actually READ in school? Especially in the lower grades where silent reading isn't often part of the school day and it really is the most crucial time.

Lastly, this book offers a program that does away with centers. I know that Debbie Diller is a big advocate, and I used her book Literary Work Stations the previous year and thought it was great. What I don't like about centers is all of the work involved in changing them and then what to do with all of the work that they didn't really have time to finish and they only kind of half did it. This offers the children 5 activites that center around authentic reading.

I cannot say enough good things about this book.
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on January 27, 2008
This book is a must-have for teachers who do guided reading and are tired of the noisy, messy centers! I started implementing this program in Nov. and now my students are completely independent on it! I have more time to meet with my guided reading groups (I have 6 groups and I see them all EVERY DAY!) and my students aren't bothering me during group time. Plus, I know my students are actually being productive and I can already see a difference in my students' reading abilities. BUY THIS BOOK! You will not regret it!
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