Friday, March 11, 2016

Reader's Workshop vs the Daily 5 Dilemma and a Freebie

Reader's Workshop vs The Daily 5

My Dilemma

Our school has done the Daily 5 for many years and I absolutely love it!  My second grade students are really able to work on their own within the different components of the CAFE.  I am amazed at how independent they become!  Along with the Daily 5 we have always used a traditional reading series to make sure we target the comprehension strategies and have a program that spirals from one year to the next.  However next year that will all change!  Our district is taking away our reading series and replacing it with Reader's Workshop.  YIKES!  It is like pulling a safety net out from underneath me. I have been doing some research on what is "Reader's Workshop."  It seems like a more structured version of the Daily 5.  Please leave comments for me and steer me in the right direction if I am off base.  I am looking for feedback!   If you have a preference and would like to share which model you prefer using in your classroom please comment below.  Thank you so much!

When I do my guided reading groups in the Daily 5, I structure the groups based on the student's Fountas and Pinnell reading level.  The leveled readers are from our traditional reading series so they go along with the comprehension skill that we are teaching that week.  The comprehension skill is taught with the Big Book on Monday in a whole group setting and each story throughout the week focuses on that skill.   In the guided reading groups I can reteach the comprehension skill or expand on it depending on the needs of the group.  Students are assigned to work on the different stations while I meet with small groups.  They Read to Self from their leveled book boxes.  The Working with Words station address the phonics skill of the week.  The Work on Writing station starts off with a mini lesson that I teach to the whole class. Then the students receive an organizer, rubric, draft paper and instructions to complete their writing task throughout the week.  I also have built in conference time for students as they finish their organizer and their draft.  Maybe I am doing Reader's Workshop and don't even realize it!!!  I hope so ....   I will find out when I go for training in April!

The research I have done seems to indicate that Reader's Workshop Philosophy incorporates a Mini Lesson, Guided Practice, and Independent Practice.  The teacher then uses the independent practice time to pull mini guided reading groups based on reading level of the students.  They use a different time in their day to teach Writer's Workshop and phonics instruction/word work.  My biggest concern is ... Will there be enough time after Reader's Workshop to fit in the other components of ELA instruction?  The Daily 5 design along with the spiraled curriculum, leveled readers, and ready made materials from our traditional reading series made it manageable to fit everything in and see wonderful results! Our district is in the top 5 of the 197 districts in our area.  It is just so SCARY to CHANGE when we have had such great success and things are going so well!  When they take it all away, I will literally be creating everything we need to address the Common Core Standards with no ready made materials.........FRIGHTENING!   Feel free to give SUGGESTIONS:)

In preparation for the BIG CHANGE I have been thinking about how I will teach comprehension strategies without having a skill of the week from the traditional series to focus on.  So I created my own comprehension strategy pack for my second grade class.  I have structured it in the same way as Reader's Workshop:  Mini Lesson, Guided Practice, and Independent Practice.  When I finished the packet, I had addressed 19 Comprehension Strategies and ended up with over 200 pages of materials ready to use in whole group and small group instruction.  I would love to share my Story Elements strategy packet with you to thank you for helping me sort through my Reader's Workshop vs. Daily 5 Dilemma.  I will be posting the entire packet soon!  Thanks in advance for all of your comments and wonderful suggestions!

Story Elements FREEBIE

Thanks a Bunch!
Kelly Kennedy


  1. We were doing Daily 5 and made the switch to Reading and Writing Workshop....I hate it! I'm curious how things are going for you!?

  2. I've taught in 2nd and 3rd grade and done Reading Workshop and Writing Workshop with a separate time also for phonics (used Fundations program). I loved it because although it's great to show students how all of this is connected - having it separate allowed for more time for each. We had I think 1.5 hrs or something like that for Reading Workshop, 30 min for writing, and 20 minutes for phonics. That seems like more time than given for Daily 5. I loved how we taught a lesson, whether it was reading, writing or phonics and then the students had time to practice it and then work independently while I conferenced or saw groups. I'm moving to a school that uses Daily 5 and I'm curious to see how it works. It seems like you'd have 3-5 small group times during it and I don't understand how that's enough time to get in guided reading (which can need 3 groups a day) as well as reading/writing conferencing. Can you explain how you find time for all the small group/individual conferencing?

  3. I love love Reading and Writing Workshop. It's very different from Daily 5. I wonder how you are doing?

  4. I much prefer Readers Workshop as there is far more opportunity for students to learn from each other. But it depends on how you run it. There is a new one coming out which combines the best of both.

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