My administrator is dragging his feet to allow me to use the CAFE Daily 5 model. His one big question is, “Where is the research that says the model works for low functioning students.” Anyone have some help out there?






There is no research study directed specifically to your question. However the “What Works Clearinghouse”, which evaluates educational programs for the government and recommends researched-based educational practices has looked at over 100 studies. Their findings point to Reading Recovery as the most effective researched program for early reading.
Daily 5 and CAFE incorporate many of the principles of Reading Recovery as a whole class model, along with other researched supported best practices.


In regards to your question on a personal basis, I’m a reading specialist working with the lowest first graders on our campus. I work in the first grade classrooms that do Daily5/CAFE with their whole class. It is definitely the way to differentiate for all of your students. You can introduce strategies needed for specific student needs, insure that your students have “good fit books” on their level and confer with individuals and groups.
I hope this helps a bit, and also hope that others will chime in with their ideas. S Rea


I have been using Daily Five in my classroom for the past 6 years will all levels of students and one of the best parts the Daily Five is that all students can be successful because it is just the framework that supports your instruction. Each choice is differentiated for each child’s needs. They read and write on their own level. One of the things that I love best about using Daily Five in my classroom is that my students gain so much confidence with themselves as readers no matter what level. As my one first grader told me he can’t believe he is such a “boracious” reader. I hope your administrator changes his mind. I actually began using Daily Five on my own and when my principal come for an observation my first year using it she told me that watching what was happening in my room made her want to get back in the classroom. She then actually had me do a little presentation on Daily Five for our staff and was very supportive in ordering DVDs and copies of the book for our professional library. Good Luck.


Great response. I feel a lot like you state–if we just get the management of Daily 5 going and invite the administrators in, they’ll see the amazing learning going on, and want to know more. Since Daily 5 itself holds no content, you can use your present reading program in the format. As you get into CAFE, you’ll see how the strategies in the CAFE menu are best practices in any core reading program (or should be :)). Sometimes it’s that “grass roots” movement and its success that converts others. S Rea

Stephanie Beatty

Hi! I am a trained/experienced Reading Recovery Teacher who used the Daily5/CAFE (modified to fit each classes and my own needs:) in Grades 1, 1/2, for 3 years and in a Spec-Ed class of grades 1-4 for 5 years. I found it to be extremely beneficial to the students and was able to demonstrate the progress they made by doing benchmark assessments near the beginning of the year and showing growth at the middle and end. Some of the modifications I did included fine motor work (Handwriting Without Tears, other activities recommended by Occupational Therapists) replacing a “Daily” for applicable students as well as reducing it to the Daily 2 or 3 depending of the needs/challenges/strengths of the students. Some of my students did their writing using a computer program which translated their voice into print and/or supporting their reading by “speaking” to the children.
Any model that expands your ability to tailor to an individual child’s needs is a good model for children who are struggling. It is a framework but their is freedom within.
Hope your admin supports you and your students!

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