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Daily 5 in Kindergarten- The Basics

Hey everyone!  It's Katie from Miss Kate's Desk.  Today I want to give you a little peek of how I do Daily 5 literacy stations in my classroom.

Let's back up to my first year of teaching.  I had 10 stations.  Yes, you saw that correctly...10!  I was overwhelmed.  I was constantly having to change activities in the different stations, find room for all the stations, and nag nag nag at kids not on task.  I always had at least one or two at my table for a break to calm down and try again.

I felt like Arnold some days after stations.  Key word, felt.  I hope I didn't look like that!

After my first year I just knew I couldn't do that again.  I started doing Daily 5.  It is one of the best decisions I have made the past 3 years of teaching.  The only station I have to change activities in is Word Work, and that usually isn't a whole lot.  The others stay the same all year.  I am also not having to nag at kids and it's pretty stinkin' rare to have a student at my table to take a break and try again.

Now, I do not conference with students during this time.  If you read the Daily 5 book, she talks about conferencing.  I just keep doing my normal small groups.  I conference for writing and this year will start in Math.

Here's the 5 main Daily 5 stations:
Read to Self
Read to Someone
Work on Writing
Word Work
Listening to Reading

Now I'll show you some pictures of those areas the students work and also some that shows some activities or how I organize it.

I let my students choose for each of the 3 or 4 rounds we do (depending on our schedule that day) where they want to go.  Daily 5 is big on choice.

Yes, you read correctly up there...they choose!  I have some posters from Kristen Smith (A Day in First Grade...she's now in kinder!) that are a freebie in her store that I use for students to take a clip and clip it to a sticker on the poster.  That means they are working at that station for that round.  If all the stickers are full of clips, that shows the kids that station is full and to find an open one.  When we switch and do another round, the students go back to the carpet with their clips and I call tables to go find a new station to put their clip at.  They can't visit the same area again if they've already been there that day.  Also, they are reminded every day to think about a station they haven't been to in a day or so and try it.  If I notice someone is never going to a certain station I may call them up to chat and encourage, but that's rare.

You can see to the right the poster (it's cut off some) and the green stickers.  That's where the kids would put their clip with their name to show they are working there.  

Don't let choice scare you! It may make you a little nervous at first, but they are SO MOTIVATED BECAUSE THEY CHOSE THAT STATION.  Before Daily 5 I was constantly stopping my groups to give a bunch of warnings, or call kids up to talk about what they were doing.  Now, it's rare.  Maybe once a week...sometimes less.  

Think about us as adults, if someone tells you to do something and doesn't give you may do it but not well or to the extent if you decided to do it without being told.  You'd be more excited about what you are doing and put in more effort.  It's the same with five and six year olds.

I store the clips on a poster hung up with magnets on a file cabinet. I just made a background and put Daily 5 and that's where the clips live when not in use.  

Alrighty!  Here's the stations!

Read to Self
 Students find a book and read in this big carpet area.  They can read on the bench, on those red back pillows, or sprawl out on the floor.  We practice the week we learn procedures our reading stamina as a class.  I start a timer and when someone isn't reading or starts talking we start over.  They love doing this and trying to get a higher time.  It helps in the long run with practicing reading the pictures, reading words (if we can this early on), or telling a story (in our heads of course).  The beginning of the year our rounds are about 6-8 mins each and gradually work up to about 15 mins each.  This helps build stamina too!

We always talk at the beginning of the year about getting comfy because readers read in all sorts of places and ways.  I tell them I do in the bathtub but that's dangerous if I drop my book in the water.  :/  They get a kick out of that and I'm sure tell their family that I read in the tub.  

Read to Someone (or Read With a Friend)
Students can grab the cushions under my desk and read anywhere in this large area in the front of the room.  We go over EEKK (elbow to elbow knee to knee) with the book in the middle so both can see.  We model and practice a lot how to do this and share the book in the middle.  Both students pick a book.

Pretty decent EEKK.  This year I'm going to have a tub by the cushions of books that I have that are doubles if they choose.

Listening to Reading

I use LeapReader pens.  I've slowly invested in these the last 4 years as well as the books that go with them.  I have tried CDs before but it's always been a huge problem regardless how many times I teach how to use the cd players.  They are much more focused with these pens and books.  If you've never heard of them, go on Leap Frog's website and check them out.  I use headphones so the kids do not hear the pens reading.

Work on Writing

At one of the tables is the writing station.  Students grab paper of their choosing (changes throughout the year and the variety) off that little writing center by the file cabinet, a pencil, and a container of crayons. I let them choose what they want to write about. 

We had a major Fly Guy obsession last school year. 

Word Work

This is just one little snapshot of the area in the back of my classroom.  Students can sit at this counter and play word games (in those drawers), write word lists (on the Boogie Boards), or not pictured I have 2 large pocket chart stands and also a big whiteboard to play word games on or practice writing words on the whiteboard.  This year I've put up sight words (like usual), but added CVC word lists.  I plan to staple up some more words as well.  This is the only station that I put new things in the drawers, maybe once every few weeks.  

If you're one who has 10 stations like I had, bless you.  :)  Haha!  It just didn't work for me and my kids.  This year will be my 3rd year of doing Daily 5 stations and I love it.  It just always amazes me how quick they catch on to how stations work (after a week), how I can easily do my small groups, and how focused the students are at their station.  

Giving students choice is scary at first but it's amazing.  They work so much harder and enjoy it!

Sorry for the LOONG post.  I could go on and on.  Hope this gave you a little bit of insight into what Daily 5 looks like in K.  Feel free to email or comment if you have questions!  I'll be doing a more in depth look at each of the 5 stations soon on my blog.

-Katie : Miss Kate's Desk


  1. I love this! I've been wanting to try Daily 5 for years, I think I'm going to give it a go this year! Have you ever used technology (besides for Listen to reading) in your rotations? My school is big on having kids use technology during centers.

    Thanks so much for sharing!
    Mrs. Garcia's Super Scholars!

    1. No I haven't, I have pretty limited access in my room. But you could definitely do word apps or websites with word games or videos for Word Work. I've seen some apps that could be used for Work On Writing. Or even I suppose ebooks or book apps for Read to Self. :) So I think you could fit in technology pretty much at any of the 5 stations. I've never thought about that till now.

  2. Your classroom is adorable, Katie! Thanks for sharing your success with Daily 5!\

    Carlee Van Ness
    The Kindergarten Press

  3. Great post about Daily 5! I love it too, and introduce pretty much the same way. I love that you can make it work for you, and the 2nd edition of the book really goes into that. We have matching rugs too :)

  4. Hi Kate! I love your Arnold video! There are days I "feel" like that too & hopefully don't look like it LOL! Your pics of your classroom are super cute! Great job on your Daily 5 post! Thanks for sharing!
    Annie @ The Learning Studio Bug