Monday, July 20, 2015

Daily 5- When to Launch The Next Task (Chapter 7 Book Study)

Welcome back to our Daily 5 book study!

In case you’re new to the Daily 5, there are 5 main tasks that students perform during the Daily 5 “rounds”:

  • Read to Self
  • Read to Someone
  • Listen to Reading
  • Word Work
  • Work on Writing

A big piece of the Daily 5 is to introduce the system slowly, and it starts with introducing Read to Self. After that, though, teachers need to know when to launch the next task, and that’s what chapter 7 is all about!

daily 5 chapter 7

The biggest question to ask: How do you know when they’re ready? The Sisters say, again:


One year, you may move on to the 2nd Daily 5 task in 3 or 4 days. With another class, it might be two weeks. What matters is not the specific timeline, but that you treat this like any other skillset to be learned.

“Every class is different.”

When YOUR class can demonstrate independence and stamina, they’re ready to move on- but the Sisters suggest different limits for different groups of kids.

daily 5 chapter 7

When I taught with the Daily 5, I waited to move on until my 3rd graders had about 15 minutes of stamina- but we continued to practice it until our graph reached 20 minutes. (We just alternated practicing Read to Self and Read to Someone.) Now, though, the Sisters suggest moving on to Work on Writing next.

(Yes, if you read the first edition, this is a change!)

Basically, they say that writing is too important to wait any longer- and it’s also something that most students should have a little stamina in. 

This summer I’ve been sharing some of my notes on Instagram, and people seem to like them… so I thought I’d share my notes from this section of the chapter:


Just like with Read to Self, we instill a sense of urgency and purpose in our students by telling them that Work on Writing is “the best way to become a better writer.”

Keep in mind, though, that Work on Writing is not replacing your writer’s workshop time!

In my classroom, I wanted my 3rd graders to be responding to text, so we switched “Work on Writing” to “Writing About Reading.” I had to add in a few extra foundation lessons and modeled journal entries to teach my students what this looked like- but then I gave them pretty free reign to write about their thinking as they read, because I didn’t want them to be worried about a formula. (You can read more about our reading notebooks here.)

notebook 1

For those students who weren’t ready yet, I conferred, led small groups, or wrote responses back in their notebook to help guide them in the right direction. It just meant they needed more teaching- not that they couldn’t handle it!

This chapter walks you through the 10 Steps to Independence for this specific task, including giving your students choice. Yes, it’s hard to give up choice- but it’s important. Why? Here’s another excerpt from my notes:


Once you start letting students choose which task they do, you need to give them a little accountability. The Sisters use check-ins for this. And while I can see the benefit of keeping an eye on where your kids are spending their time… I felt like I could usually keep an eye on this by watching my kids’ reading notebooks and glancing around the room. While they use check-ins to make sure an even number of kids go to Read to Someone, or to dismiss in smaller groups, I focused more on teaching my kids strategies for problem solving in those inevitable situations.

I do like the idea of having students set a goal and a strategy they will use to reach their goal- something about voicing a goal helps you make it there!- but taking even a couple of minutes out of each round seemed too much. With older kids, I think setting the goal could be done at the beginning of the week in their notebooks.

As the rest of this chapter focuses on launching the other tasks, the foundation lessons focus on identifying potential pitfalls and setting the expectations before you even get started. Here’s another glimpse at my notes…


If you feel like the Daily 5 takes too much time to get going, keep in mind that you are teaching each one of these things now, so that you won’t have to stop learning much later. I did have occasional times where we reviewed expectations, but it was so much less than in previous years- because we did it right the first time. This is really a case where slow and steady wins the race (and makes the teacher less crazy later!)

And please- if the idea of giving your kids choice is terrifying, read this post from a couple of years ago…  it can work with accountability- and work SO well!

daily 5 choice

I have so enjoyed revisiting the Daily 5 during this book study. I hope you are loving it as much as I am! You can see everyone linked up to this chapter at our host - Mrs. Price’s Kindergators- or check out the linky below!


  1. I love your notes! I'm all about using different colors while taking notes. It's so much easier to go back and follow your thoughts. Great post!!
    PS. Your handwriting is so pretty. :)

  2. I love your notes- I wish my handwriting looked like yours! I love your board too. I am so glad there were a few in this book study who have already implemented D5 because I'm getting lots of great ideas from you! :)


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