As I have been re-reading The Daily 5 and The CAFE Book, I have been thinking about how I can integrate these fabulous programs with some of the components discussed in the Day-to-Day Assessment in the Reader's Workshop book. In the past when I thought about Daily 5, I really pictured it working with younger children best. However, recently I have seen evidence of other teachers, even a teacher of 6th/7th graders, using the program and the students aren't bulking that it is "babyish".
That has given me a bit more confidence in my desire to try this out. I really wanted to give it a go this past year but multitudes of crappy circumstances just made it near impossible. I'm determined to do it this upcoming year and get it off on the right foot. In thinking about how our district's balanced literacy model is designed, I have to ensure that all of these pieces are interwoven so I'm still doing what they want, but in a way that best benefits the wide range of needs in my classroom. I got a real glimpse at this range my first year teaching when after a round of assessments discovered my 4th/5th graders ranged from late kindergarten to 8th grade in their reading levels....all in one room. That was when I first began to realize there is just no way to meet the needs of all of those children using a one-size-fits-all basal reader.
At any rate, as I've been thinking about this, I've spent a lot of time thinking about the Listen to Reading component. The Sisters state that upper grade teachers may choose to leave this one out because the read aloud takes care of it. But then I remembered something a long-term sub at our school did this year. She had a pretty rough group too (not as rough as mine but pretty close) and one thing she did that made even the most obnoxious and crude children turn into complete angels is let them take books on tape into the hall and listen to the story while they followed along. These were 5th graders and I was astounded at the transformation of some of those kiddos when it was their turn to be in the hall with the books. It's such a simple thing but for children who are struggling to read on their own, this truly opens the door for them to read books they are interested in but that are way too hard. So as always, I put this in the back of my brain to let it simmer, knowing an epiphany would eventually happen.
I awoke in the middle of the night, from a pretty fabulous dream actually, to my epiphany. The best store ever (read: Lakeshore Learning) has read-along CDs for a lot of really popular titles. So after taking The Littles to school this morning, I jumped online and looked them up. Be still my heart, I am in love yet again. There are 90 read-along products, everything ranging from PreK-6th grade. This is definitely the answer to my conundrum with this.
And then I realize how amazing Donor's Choose has been to me in the past. I have received some great products and materials through the amazing donors. When I taught 2nd grade, I wrote a grant for some take-home pack books and within just a couple of days I had the grant fully funded and my book packs were on their way. So I am searching through the Read-Along sets at Lakeshore and making notes of the sets I am going to write into a new proposal. I have to wait to submit it until I know what school I will be in next year (and what grade for that matter!) but I am excited about it. At the very least, they have a box with 12 different books with CDs which would at least get us started. I think this is going to be fan-freaking-tastic.