Implementing The Daily 5 – Read to Self

In my previous post about implementing The Daily 5, I outlined my weekly and daily schedule to provide some perspective on the block of time dedicated to Daily 5 in my second grade class. If you missed it, you can read my first post.

The schedule I outlined was tweaked several times during the process of introducing each Daily 5. As recommended in The Daily 5, Second Edition, the first routine I introduced was Read to Self.

In addition to the three recommended foundation lessons (found in the book):

  • Three Ways To Read A Book
  • Choose A Successful Spot
  • IPICK Good Fit Books

I added on a few of my own foundation lessons to match our classroom routines and support students in the successful use of our Read to Self supplies:

  • Keeping My Book Bin Organized
  • Shopping In Our Classroom Library
  • Using My IPICK Bookmark
  • Using A Whisper Phone


What You Need: Daily 5 Book Bins

This is my fifth year using IKEA’s Flyt Magazine Files as book bins. The kids are thrilled when they received their own blank canvas to decorate and personalize with markers during the first week of school. Not to mention, they are a classroom budget dream come true! They do tend to get a little tattered but you can always refresh them mid-year if needed. I’ve always wanted to but never have…one of those things you can add to the bottom of your to-do list. 🙂

Student decorated book bins.

The Lesson:
This visual lesson is a moment for me to show my students how to store books inside a book bin, how to carefully add and remove books from book bins and how to use book marks to keep track of reading in a way that keeps books in strong condition.
I also teach a lesson to focus on how many books a reader needs to satiate their reading appetite before their next visit to the school or classroom library. We discuss proper library etiquette: check out only as much as you can read until your next visit (typically about two chapter books and a handful of picture books per week for my second graders) so there are plenty of books to go around.
Some of my greedy readers take a lot of convincing reminders before this etiquette concept sticks (just today I found a bin filled with 15 books…didn’t…even…think…that was possible).
I give my kids the freedom to check out books from our classroom library every day (after finishing bellwork, when getting ready for Daily 5 before recess and any time they finish an assignment early). This helps with book hoarding tendencies and helps build a habit of visiting the library frequently.


What You Need: An Organized Classroom Library.

The more organized and visually appealing your classroom library is, the harder it is to keep young readers away from it! Taking time to label each book in your classroom library and grouping similar books in easy-to-use bins and baskets makes your classroom library inviting and fun for kids to navigate.

Core Inspiration Classroom Library

In my fifth year of having my own classroom, I can finally say I am with my classroom library. Each book is labeled with a full-color genre label.

Core Inspiration book bin labels.

These book labels match a larger full-color label card attached to the outside of each book bin, basket or shelf. This organization system is a breeze to teach kids because it is 100% visual. Interested in transforming your classroom library? My Library Labeling Kits in chalkboard or white can help you get the job done in a jiffy!

The Lesson:

I introduce my students to the labeling system mentioned above, model the process for finding the genres that match their interests, model browsing the books within each bin or shelf and using the colorful labeling system to return books safely to their rightful place in the library when they are done reading.
I also include reminders about removing bookmarks, placing books on shelves spine out, right side up and tidying up any shelf they explore.


What You Need: IPICK Bookmarks

My IPICK Bookmark FREEBIE is a handy way to provide your students with a quick reference of the IPICK process and the Five Finger Rule. I provide each student with two bookmarks for the classroom. This is a visually supports my encouragement to read no more than two books at a time so they can keep their story lines and characters straight.

IPICK Poster and Bookmarks
Each student’s bookmark has a mailing label with their name stuck to it so there are no excuses for orphan bookmarks laying around our room.

They get an additional “Special Edition Bookmark” for home…it’s special because it’s laminated. So. Schnazzy.

The Lesson:

I introduce these bookmarks the day after I finish my IPICK lesson series outlined in The Daily Five Second Edition.The students and I came up with a list of ideas for using the bookmark. These included using it to mark their spot in their book (loved their enthusiasm for this obvious function), to remind them how to use the Five finger Rule when checking books out of the library and to help them double-check the books they are interested in are gen-u-ine IPICK books that meet all the requirements.


What You Need: Whisper Phones

There are plenty of options for pre-made whisper phones that you can buy, but my crafty side was inspired by Teacherific in Second Grade’s post on these whisper phone made from PVC pipe and duct tape.

Daily 5 Whisper Phones in a bin.
The Lesson:

To teach students how to whisper, I have them place their fingers over their throats near their larynx. First, we speak in a regular voice saying something like “This is my regular
voice”. We briefly discuss the vibration that is felt when we speak in a regular voice.
I then have them place their hand back over their larynx and have them whisper “This is my whisper voice”. We discuss the difference between the vibrations felt when we changed the volume of our voice.
I then challenge them to lower their voice even further so the vibration they feel disappears all together. This is what we call our “teeniest tiniest voice”.
Students are encouraged to use their teeniest tiniest voice when reading into the whisper phones. Any time I need to remind them to lower the voice during Daily 5, I accompany the reminder with a tap on my throat near my larynx as a visual reminder of what a whisper “feels” like.
Watching my second graders use their whisper phones for the first time tugged on my heartstrings. They are in absolute awe as their barely-heard whisper is amplified when they hold their phone to their ear. Love it!
These extra foundation lessons have totally personalized the Daily 5 Read to Self experience for my class and I plan to use all four of them again next year.


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  1. I teach my kids to make their book box look like the side of a mountain, from tallest item to shortest. I try to remind them to organize it once a week, but also tell them if they always book each item back where it goes, they never have to “reorganize” it. For some kids, the lesson sticks but others need several reminders because they’ve never been taught to keep things tidy before.

I’m Laura Santos

I’ve been an elementary teacher for ten years, and love sharing tips and resources that make differentiated learning more manageable for you. Thank you for visiting.

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