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Saturday, July 27, 2013

Indiana Goes Back to School- Organizing My 90 Minute Reading Block

Back to school, for me, has always been an exciting time of new beginnings- and new chances to be better organized! Read on to find out how I organize my 90 minute reading block, and to snag a data organization freebie as part of the Indiana Goes to School freebie hop!

Indiana requires teachers to use a 90 minute, uninterrupted reading block every day. I organize my block by using an adapted version of the Daily 5 (which of course belongs to the Sisters, not me, and they have not endorsed this adaptation).


(Oh my goodness- I just realized my times should say 11, 11:30, 12:00. That was wrong ALL YEAR in my lesson plans!)

Anyway, you can see in my lesson plans (your free lesson plan template here) that my 90 minute block is broken up into 6 sections, so they each last about 15 minutes. I alternate between a mini-lesson and a “reading round.” Here’s what I do during the reading block:

Mini-Lesson 1: almost always a read-aloud to teach a skill, but this alternates between picture books, parts of our current chapter book, news articles, and non-fiction selections. Each week we are usually focused on one or two specific strategies, which we add to our CRAFT board (an adaptation of the CAFÉ program created by Kristen at Ladybug’s Teacher Files).


Round 1: usually a small guided reading group. I don’t get to meet with every small group every day, but I generally meet with groups every other day or so.


Mini-Lesson 2: my phonics/ phonemic awareness lesson, working with our spelling and reading pattern of the week to find examples and non-examples, or sometimes doing fluency practice (often including that pattern).


Round 2: Another small group. Usually, these are homogeneous groups based on student level, but I keep in mind their skill needs and interests too, so occasionally the groups make more sense heterogeneous. My groups are very flexible!

Mini-Lesson 3: always starts with quick vocabulary work. You can read more about my vocabulary routine here. From there, we usually spend some time digging into text together- either the weekly basal story or a common text, like our Time for Kids magazines.

Round 3: This one is usually cut shorter because mini-lesson 3 almost always takes longer than 15 minutes- but that’s okay. Round 3 is usually when I pull students aside with their book box and reading notebook for 1-on-1 conferring and assessment. I like to use their numbers in my plans for anonymity but also space purposes!


I’ll post soon about what my kids are doing during the rounds, but in case you’re thinking…

There’s no way my kids could do that! The Daily 5 doesn’t start on Day 1, or sometimes even in Month 1. Setting up the Daily 5 takes a lot of time and patience, but it’s possible! If you need information on how to get started, please please please go to the source and read the original books!

Isn’t that a lot to fit in? ABSOLUTELY. But teaching in “mini-lesson” format with time blocks forces me to cut my lesson down to the most important parts, the short time frame helps my students pay attention the whole time, and what’s happening during the rounds is so important that it’s absolutely been worth it in my classroom.


Does it happen every day? Heck no! This is the general schedule, but sometimes we do two rounds, one round, or even no round on a super busy day (but students do get upset when this happens)! Occasionally we fit in an extra reading round, which most of them LOVE!

Is the Daily 5 even worth it? Running the Daily 5 has really simplified my reading preparation because I’m not creating and setting up new centers each week, but even better?

My students aren’t just doing “reading activities”- they are really READING!


If another teacher questions the program, ask them if their students are spending 45 minutes a day reading. My kids are. The Daily 5 has made them better readers because they are reading so much and I am getting so much time to differentiate instruction. I wouldn’t be able to do that, though, if I didn’t keep my data in my teacher binder.

how to create a teacher binder ~ luckeyfrog's lilypad

Both schools in which I’ve taught used DIBELS as a quick indicator, especially for reading fluency. It’s not near as useful as a student’s book level for comprehension, but DIBELS Next makes a great quick check and helps me formulate small groups- when the data is organized.

To help you this year, I’ve created DIBELS Next Organization Charts for grades 2-6. The charts list the tests in order and the goal for each test to hopefully help you organize your data to guide your reading block, no matter how it’s set up!

Blog- DIBELS Cover Preview

The best news? They’re FREE! Visit my store here to see charts for 2nd grade, 3rd grade, 4th grade, 5th grade, and 6th grade. Each one includes a chart for BOY, MOY, and EOY with grade level goals listed for each test section.

Blog- DIBELS Doc Preview 1

If you’re a new friend, make sure you check out some of my other freebies both on the blog and in my store before you click on the button below to head to Primary Inspired for the next freebie!

(Did I mention there’s a $75 gift card giveaway at the end? I bet you ALL could use $75 to help with your back to school shopping (or help make up for it! :) Happy blog hopping!


  1. Great ideas, thanks so much. I started Daily 5 last year and I'm getting ready to work on my schedule so this was very helpful!

    Teaching Little Miracles

  2. I'm going to be referring back to your page regularly! I am figuring out how to correctly put together my reading block. Loved the freebie! Glad to see other Hoosier Bloggers on this blog hop.

    Happy Saturday!

  3. Hello! I am so happy to have found you through this blog hop. I am getting so many fantastic ideas! I love your organization tips!. It's funny...I am having a week long linky next week and the first topic is lesson plans. I would be honored if you link up to share! I am happy to be a new follower!
    The Teacher’s Chair
    Share the Bloglovin’!

  4. great ideas will definitely pin this blog...I'm new to first grade and new to implementing Daily 5....ugh what have I taken on???


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