The Daily 5: Read to Someone, Listen to Reading, and Word Work

Nov 17, 2023
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Over the past two weeks, we have looked closely at defining the Daily 5™, shared strategies for rollout of the first two components, “Read to Self” and “Work on Writing,” and collected useful teacher resources on our Pre-K–6 Reading & Literacy Pinterest board. This week, as we close out this series, we turn to the remaining three rotations—“Read to Someone,” “Listen to Reading,” and “Word Work.”

As the final components of a balanced literacy framework, these three elements also leave room to be reinterpreted and leveled appropriately to meet the needs of your students. Keep reading to uncover best practices about how these three components can take shape in your classroom.

Read to Someone

Often a Daily 5 favorite, “Read to Someone” offers children the opportunity to pair up and share a book of their choosing. This rotation is sometimes referred to as partner reading, buddy reading, or read with a friend. No matter what you choose to call it, “Read to Someone” provides a meaningful time for developing readers to increase their comprehension, fluency, and accuracy. Explore a few ways to set up this round successfully:

  • Become a good reading partner

Setting expectations for good reading partners in your classroom involves defining what it sounds and looks like. Because volume control can often feel like an uphill battle, we’ll start there. Research shows that the loudest voice in the room is the one that often regulates the noise level. Keep your voice down when conferring with students to set the appropriate tone and expectations in your room.

Hand in hand with voice level, our primary learners often need direction as to what “Read to Someone” should look like. WIth “EEKK” (elbow to elbow, knee to knee), a model subscribed to by the Daily 5 creators (Gail Boushey and Joan Moser), students are taught to sit side by side to easily share their text and read aloud together.

  • Check for understanding

It’s not enough to practice fluent reading during “Read to Someone;” your students also should be concentrating on comprehending text. To check for understanding, set a standard practice for readers to restate aloud the “what” and “who” of what they just read or heard. Additional comprehension questions can be added for older students. Check out a few examples of how this strategy can be brought to life on our Pinterest board.

Listen to Reading

“Listen to Reading” can take many different forms, including online audiobooks and Web-based solutions. For emerging readers, time spent listening to fluent reading models is invaluable to building reading pronunciation and expression. Struggling readers also find this rotation beneficial, as it allows them to access texts that meet their listening comprehension level, even if that exceeds their reading level. Keep these strategies in mind when incorporating this rotation:

  • Ensure smooth technology rollout

If you find yourself among one of those lucky few with a set of state-of-the-art devices for class, adding “Listen to Reading” to your daily rotation should be fairly straightforward. If a set of four to five “cross your fingers and hope they work today” computers is more in line with the current state of your classroom technology, rest assured that there’s no reason to lose hope! Between audiobooks from your campus or city library and your school’s computer lab, you can still give your students the opportunity to experience this rotation regularly.

Additionally, make the most of time spent at this station by ensuring that your students have the technology skills to log in quickly and treat equipment appropriately. Early on, it’s also a good idea to appoint a student to be your “tech-support helper,” so that you aren’t pulled away from working with students to assist with technology issues.

  • Determine appropriate activities based on reading ability

Listening to reading is often so engaging for children, that most have no problem building stamina. You can keep this rotation exciting by providing your students with a wide variety of books to enjoy. 

For those no longer in need of “Listen to Reading,” “Computer Time” is often substituted to focus on other reading skills in an engaging environment. 

Word Work

The “Word Work” component of the Daily 5 focuses on spelling and vocabulary by creating a print-rich environment and offering learning manipulatives for students to experiment and develop an interest in language. Students are able to select from a variety of materials to play with words, word patterns, word families, and so on to hone their knowledge and increase their writing skills. Consider several suggestions below to make your “Word Work” area a success:

  • Define procedures for materials

With such things as sand, playdough, markers, and glitter glue, the variety of materials involved in “Word Work” is often tailored to meet the needs of your kinesthetic learners. The activities in this rotation also involve a fair bit of rule following and sometimes even a watchful eye to keep them running smoothly.

Gauging the maturity of your learners is a good place to start, followed closely by rolling out new materials one at a time. Model how each is used in the context of “Word Work,” and ask students to help demonstrate proper application to build letters, words, and sentences. Making it clear that each new manipulative is a privilege in your classroom can help keep even your most active learners in line during this rotation.

  • Motivate learning with focused, yet fun, activities

“Word Work” can provide excellent practice of manipulating words and developing language skills, but when involving enticing materials, it can also quickly descend into anarchy. Incorporate a variety of “Word Work” activities that motivate students to stay on task.

Students can practice phonics skills, content vocabulary, and sight words when using online solutions that provide a game-based environment. Leveled activities align content to individualized ability levels, while gamification entices students to stay motivated. 

Ready to start using the Daily 5 framework in your classroom -or take your current use to the next level? Check out our Pinterest board of useful literacy resources, and make the Daily 5 a classroom success this year! Interested in finding out more about Edmentum's foundational literacy solutions? Learn more about our Reading & Comprehension solutions.

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