This week, I took a leap and adopted more Daily 5 practices into my Kindergarten classroom. I definitely am not a huge Daily 5 groupie or anything, but I like some of the ideas and have incorporated them into our routines. In years past, independent reading was a center in my classroom that students visited during literacy centers. Then, last year, independent reading became a designated time in the day and the students read at their tables. I always thought it would be too difficult for kindergarteners to independently select a spot to sit in during independent reading time – I figured they’d wander around the room aimlessly, chat with some friends, and generally take forever finding a spot. Not being someone who likes to waste time, this didn’t sound like a good idea to me. So I had them sit at their tables last year. Over the summer, though, I got to thinking that spreading them out around the room might actually solve some problems for me. One, at the tables, the kids tended to get chatty after a while. I never really required them to build up too much stamina because I would end independent reading time once I noticed that they were getting chatty and restless. Two, it was hard for me to conference with a single child in such close quarters. The other kids at the table would listen to our conference, rather than continuing to read. So, this year, I decided to have my kids sit around the room to read – and so far it is working out great! Here’s how I did it, and it really worked well for me. 1. After school one day, I walked around my classroom and found 23 different reading spots (I’ll explain in a minute why the number is important). I took a picture of each and every spot. Here are some examples:
Yes, they can read in a laundry basket! It’s perfectly sized for a kindergarten and they think it’s so much fun!
2. After taking the pictures of the reading spots, I put them into a PowerPoint presentation – one slide per page.
3. During reading time the next day, we discussed how readers read in all kinds of different places, and I told them I thought it would be fun if we read in different spots around the room. I showed them the slideshow of reading spots and let them “ooh” and “aah.” Then, I went through, slide by slide, and asked: “Who would like this spot?” I had placed the more challenging reading spots toward the beginning of the PowerPoint (i.e. the spots where students would be most likely to be distracted or in close proximity to other students), so I could immediately match the calmer, quieter kids to those spots. The kids felt like they got to choose their spot, so they were more motivated to want to read there. Also – the reason why I took pictures of 23 spots is because I have 22 kids. I didn’t want the last child selected to have just one choice.
Now, the kids grab their book bags and settle down to read. If they talk or aren’t on task, they have to go back to their tables to read (which they see as being less fun). Now getting ready for silent reading time is so quick and easy – the kids know where to go, they love their special spots, and they actually READ! I see much less talking, I can conference much more easily, and they can already read longer than my kids could last year at the end of the year. Wish I had thought of this earlier!!
Our Kindergarten Daily 5 looks different than what The Sisters suggest in their original book, but I think that’s necessary to meet my kids’ developmental needs. Do you use the Daily 5 in Kindergarten? What do you think of it?