The Importance of Choice


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When you enter a classroom that uses the Daily 5 structure, you see children Reading to Self, Reading to Someone, Listening to Reading, Working on Writing, and doing Word Work. These are all happening simultaneously. The order in which children participate varies and is greatly driven by choice, which is one of the foundational principles of Daily 5. Giving children the ability and opportunity to choose increases engagement and helps create self-motivated learners. The Daily 5 literacy structure incorporates choice in several ways. After building stamina, students choose which Daily 5 they will do during the round that follows. In addition, they choose where to sit, what to read, what to write, which Word Work materials to use, who their partner will be for Read to Someone, and what to listen to during Listen to Reading.

Teachers who embrace choice discover that it enhances both motivation and performance. When we allow students to choose a literacy task that is research-based and assists in developing readers and writers, it communicates that we respect student needs and preferences. Choice builds responsibility and commitment and helps prevent disruptive behavior.

This trust we put in students isn’t a blind trust. We explicitly teach them behaviors of independence for the Daily 5 tasks using the 10 Steps to Teaching and Learning Independence.

Once we have introduced two of the Daily 5 activities and students have built behaviors of independence and stamina, we offer them choice between the two. We want the process to be efficient, smooth, and fluid. 

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