If I’m asking my students to choose good-fit books to read independently, what books am I using when I meet with small groups and individuals? Am I working from books that have been introduced during a guided reading session? How do I nudge a child forward if they’re already reading a book with very high accuracy (98%…isn’t that what Richard Allington says about the level at which students should be reading independently)?

Another post suggested starting with guided reading books yet being mindful of the different needs of the students in the group (some may need fluency practice, some may need more support with comprehension, etc.). If I do that, am I then mostly working with the student using the guided reading book? I’m confused about the books used when I confer with a student. What kind of books should those be? Instructional?

And here are some logistical questions…

  1. How many little books (guided reading and picture books) do students typically need in their book boxes to take them through a round of Daily 5? I know that some children will read faster or slower than others (and some will be reading longer books, perhaps even chapter books) so a general suggestion would be helpful.
  2. How do you guide children in choosing books? What’s everybody else doing? I understand that once Daily 5 is up and running, I’ll be able to help children choose their books during one of the rounds. But how to get started in the beginning? It seems very time-consuming to help every child choose books and I’m overwhelmed at the thought, even though I appreciate how important it is.
  3. Many of my students aren’t choosing good-fit books (despite the shoe lesson), and I worry that they’re not building stamina because they don’t have enough books, or they’re tired of the books they have because they’re not changing them often enough. I can only think that I haven’t taught them well enough how to choose the right books.






You have A LOT of good questions. I will respond with what I do and you can determine if it is helpful or not The VERY first goal I set with my students is that I want them to find good-fit books. I should point out that I am a reading intervention teacher, but I am also a Lead Teacher and with that job I support teachers in Daily 5 practices.
For the first goal, I choose my lowest readers and begin there. I meet with them in small groups and have a large quantity of low level books, that I think would be a good-fit for them. I review the I-Pick and then have them select books from the ones I have provided them with. I remind them that our purpose at this time is to find books that are going to help them to become a better reader. They each then take time looking through the books and I sit with them one at a time listening to them read to determine if they know most the words. If they do, we determine this to be a good-fit book and I put a sticky note on the front. I continue to do this process, for several meetings, until they have quite a few good-fit books in their bookbags. Depending on the age of the students, we set goals on what they are to do during Read to Self. For the younger kids (first grade), I tell them I want them to read each of their books five times before trading in for a new one. To keep track, they put a tally on the front of each book. After, they have read each good-fit book one time in their bookbag, they can choose other books to look at and read the pictures or retell. For the students reading longer books, I have given them a timer and tell them to read their good-fit book for 10 min, then they can look at a magazine or other book they are interested in. This has been very successful for our lower/reluctant readers. Sometimes they keep reading their good-fit books the entire time!
I think the key thing to remember is that it is a process. You just have to start somewhere and we chose to begin with our lowest students first! I use to determine the level of the books, so I know which ones to suggest for a good-fit.
Hopefully, this is of some help!


Here’s a link to a video of Joan taking about book boxes and what’s in them.
From this page, you can see a link to another article with ideas for book shopping.

Suggested Topics

Title Category Replies Views Activity
Is CAFE going to be aligned with the Texas TEKS? CAFE 7 1.7k 6 months 2 days
Alignment of Daily 5 & CAFE with Cambridge Learning Outcomes CAFE 0 190 7 months 1 week
CAFE strategies book list CAFE 10 4.8k 7 months 2 weeks
Alignment with Australian Curriculum CAFE 4 873 9 months 3 weeks
Lesson Planning CAFE 0 1.1k 2 years 6 months
Question about Comprehension--Use Prior Knowledge to Connect with Text CAFE 0 564 2 years 7 months
Sharing Videos Online CAFE 2 771 2 years 7 months
Daily 5, small groups, and conferring 6 feet away CAFE 4 1k 2 years 7 months
New Ready Reference guides CAFE 6 1.8k 2 years 7 months
Mini Lesson Variety CAFE 1 1.1k 2 years 7 months

All-Access Member Exclusive Content

This content is reserved for All-Access members. Consider upgrading your membership to access this resource.

Sign Up Now

No Thanks.

Already a member? Log In