Yesterday I posted a blog by Simply Skilled in Second by a 2nd grade teacher named Anna. Her 3 Easy Steps to Streamline Your Guided Reading Instruction had me thinking. (This is a 5 part blog that will help teachers implement the Answers to the following questions. A, sort of, step-by-step guide on creating a student-centered […]
The CAFE wall seems to be one of the most difficult tasks to take on for a classroom teacher. It is a juggling act; strategy collection, student differentiation, student autonomy, flexible group guided reading, and goal setting all in one. These ideas are difficult by themselves, but when a teacher is asked to put them all together it can seem daunting. It is SO worth it because it gives your guided reading purpose, focus, differentiation, and allows every student to become goal-oriented and mindful reader. Without this, it may feel like you are turning your wheels, working harder than the students, and working mindlessly.
Decide if you want a CAFE or CRAFT wall.
Take a second and think about who is in your classroom.
Are you a k-3 grade teacher or a special education teacher ? If so, then go with the tried and true CAFE Menu. To become a proficient reader, student must be able to Comprehend the text, read the words accurately, read fluently, and understand the strategies to understand new vocabulary.
Are you a 4-6 grade teacher or a gifted- talented teacher? If so, add the ‘R’ to your menu board to create CRAFT. It is important that these students practice strategies to ‘Respond to Reading’. This is a higher level ability that is required of them later in their schooling careers.
Find a resource that will help guide your Strategy Menu board.
Here are a few author’s/books that I have used that have helped me create a board that fits my style, my students, and my knowledge of reading. * Choose 1 text
Boushey and Moser ‘The Sisters’- The CAFE Book– This IS the book to start with. The Appendix gives you the Launching Sequence Day by Day for the CAFE. It brilliantly lays out how to Conference with students, set goals with them, USE the Menu as a goal setting wall and NOT just wall paper, and helps the teacher Coach her way through a conference with a student. If you are new to this idea- THIS is where to start!!!
- If the CAFE menu is an established classroom habit, here are a lists of books that can help your students become successful autonomous learners, provide assistance with strategy transfer, and target YOUR instruction even further.
Jennifer Serravallo- The Reading Strategies book. If you do not own this book- Stop right now and order it on Amazon. I will tell you, this is the ONLY book you will ever need. The structure of the book fits right in with the Two Sisters’ CAFE menu. She has great anchor charts, great questions, and teaching lessons that fit into the format of the CAFE wall.
Linda Hoyt- Interactive Read Alouds– If you prefer to take a little bit more time with the frontload and strategy instruction, this is the book for you. Linda does an amazing job introducing students to picture books while using the authentic, high interest reading as the background of her strategy instruction. There are great graphic organizers and genres of every kind. This was one of the books that started my career.
Lori Jamison Rog- Struggling Readers– This is book focuses on teaching and texts that target the needs of struggling readers. It has four or five strategies of Comprehension, Accuracy, Fluency, Expanding Vocabulary, and Writing that are quick and easy to follow. The book’s Appendix is filled with resources that any student can use.
Stephanie Harvey & Anne Goudvis- Strategies that Work– This is one of those books that MUST be in your book repertoire. The book focuses on the Metacognitive thinking of students while using authentic picture books of all genres as the teaching text. * As a new teacher, this was difficult for me to weed through to gain ‘bang for my buck’. I did not find the value in this book until after my teaching philosophy was established.
‘The Sisters’ encourage The Daily Five and The Café Menu to be used congruently. I have seen teachers use these ideas separately, and I have seen it work brilliantly. If you are wanted a student-centered classroom with autonomous learners, these must be brought together. The CAFE book teaches you how to integrate the two by showing you a ‘Typical’ schedule in the Appendix. Unfortunately, I never had the luxury of more than a 90 minute Literacy block, so I had to play with the schedule a little bit.
The most important points…
- A strong, productive classroom management system must be in place BEFORE starting the CAFE menu.
- Practice, practice, practice – allowing students to make their Daily 5 choices without interruption. NO student-teacher conferences or guided reading should occur until students are well versed in making their own choices.
- The whole group strategy lesson should not take longer than 15 minutes. *This is very important. You are just frontloading students with the idea of the strategy through a guided practice NOT teaching every student EVERY CAFE strategy!!!
- Start the One on One Assessments with students (some may call this progress monitoring) within the first five days of launching the CAFE/Daily 5. This will allow you to begin your flexible groupings and conferences with informed information.
- Review whole group strategies Over and Over again. Review, repeat, and add on.
- It is important to figure out what strategies you truly believe every student needs to have to be a proficient reader. I am a firm believer in the Close Reading Strategy: preview, read (stop and think), and summarize strategy.
- Allow students to Choose their books– try not to get bogged down on student Lexile or reading level. If a student is interested in dinosaurs or WWII or the Dystopian genre, let them use these books to practice their strategies.
The greatest thing about The CAFE menu is that it is Student-Centered. Teachers become facilitators and coaches through this approach, mindful instructors, and set all students on the path toward proficient reading (on their terms).
Want to work Smarter and NOT harder? This is how.