I am moving to a brand new division, which uses Daily 5 in most of their classrooms. I have purchased both the second edition of the Daily 5 and Café book, and am working my way through reading them. Although, I am really struggling with when/how to begin daily 5. Meaning, I plan to test my grade 1 students to see where they are with basic letter and sound recognition, but after I obtain this information I don’t know how to work phonics into my daily 5 time. I know in the beginning you introduce students to “read to self” followed by “read to someone”, but when is there time to teach my grade 1 students basic letters, sounds and sight words? I understand that once all my stations are up and running I will have time to work with students, but how long is this going to take? I worry about my students falling behind, by possibly not being introduced to basic letters, sounds and sight words until October.

Please help!!






You are going to love using Daily Five and CAFE with your students. I will be starting my 7th year using Daily Five this September. I would begin Daily Five on the first day of school. You will see that this will set a great tone for the whole school year and help with classroom management. All of the behaviors that are taught in Daily Five work in all areas of your day (getting started right away, working the whole time, staying in one spot, etc.) I follow Daily Five as suggested in the book and it works for me. I begin using it even though I have not tested my students yet. Once they get a few minutes of stamina I may start pulling a child at a time, or I sometimes do my testing outside of my literacy block, I do not wait until word work is up and running to teach phonics. I incorporate phonics instruction throughout my day with my first graders. I begin my day with a morning message where we look at letters, sounds, sight words, punctuation. I also teach phonics in my focus lessons between rounds of Daily Five. Phonics can also be incorporated into shared writing and writer’s workshop. I hope this helps you. Good luck.

Ashley Livingston

Thank-you so much, you have given me some real clarity!


I’m going to send you a link to a couple of articles that discuss the difference between the first day in a couple of different classrooms. This article may help you see how starting Daily 5 from the very beginning will help you get that most needed time to assess your students It may take me a few minutes to find it, but I will send the link.

Gwen Goins

I read the above question and posts. I was wondering if the2sisters ever replied with the link that was referred to in the last post. I am a Kindergarten teacher and this will be the first year that our district is using the Daily 5 and CAFE. Trying to figure out how to incorporate the Daily 5 and CAFE with required ELA Units and Phonics from the district has become very overwhelming and confusing, especially with little kindergarten students. I have read the books but confusion still exists.

Ann Welch

Hi. Could you please post any links or information to help me begin the year with Daily 5 and CAFE with phonics instruction being incorporated in the first few weeks of school? Should phonics be taught during the focus lessons? The majority of my students are six year olds.


If you look at the Accuracy strategies on the CAFE menu, you’ll see that phonics falls into that area. I’d suggest going to the Interactive CAFE menu
At that link, you will find the resources on the website related to each strategy for your accuracy/phonics lessons.

Ann Welch

Thank you, Suzanne. The interactive Cafe does help.

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