We add another layer of focus and urgency along with raising the level of accountability by having students articulate their reading goal and strategy when they check in with their Daily 5 choice.
This happens after we have assessed students, determined which of the CAFE goals will best meet their needs, and taught a strategy to help them achieve the goal. Once their goals are identified, students declare their goal by placing a sticky note under that heading on the CAFE board in the classroom. This makes it easy to refer to when they are checking in.
After teaching them how to state say their goal and strategy, even our kindergarten students are able to do this successfully. Stating Saying them for everyone to hear has a couple of benefits. It makes it clear that we are all working to grow as readers and writers with goals and strategies that are designed specifically for each of us. Secondly, it helps to seal a purpose for their plan as they set off to work independently.
Here is an example of what it might sound like (these are true examples of first graders checking in):
- Simpranpreet—“I am going to Read to Self. I am working to expand my vocabulary, and I am going to tune in to interesting words and use them in my speaking and writing.”
- Taylor—“I am going to Read to Self. I am working on fluency, and I am going to use punctuation to help me read with expression.”
- Kevin—“I am going to Read to Self. I am working on accuracy and will cross-check to make sure the word I say matches the word in the book.”
- Angela—“I am going to Read to Someone. I am working on fluency, and I will read only good-fit books.”
- Samir—“I am going to Read to Self. I am working on comprehension, and I am going to check for understanding after each page.”
- Katie—“I am going to Work on Writing. I am going to add details to make a clearer mental picture for my audience.”
- Tarnpreet—“I am going to do Word Work. I am working on fluency by practicing my sight words.”
As with reading goals, the writing goals come from assessments and one-on-one conferring.
Students continue with a single goal and strategy until they are doing it consistently and independently. We celebrate by layering on another strategy that will help them grow as readers, thinkers, and learners, and they will express the new goal when they check in.