I will forever be indebted to Gail Boushey and Joan Moser, the authors of The Daily Five and The Cafe Book for showing me how it was possible to organize a primary classroom to have an individualized reading program. I have, of course, taken their ideas and adjusted them to fit with my students and my curriculum, but the classroom organization basics have come directly from their ideas.
The part of the Cafe that did not seem to be working well for my students was the terminology on the bulletin board. The students themselves write out the reading strategies as each one is taught, and these strategies are then posted under one of the menu four categories–comprehension, accuracy, fluency and expand vocabulary. If you take the first letter of each category, the letters spell cafe. Thus the title. It’s a great visual reminder, and encompasses the basics of what we teach in reading. These headings make perfect sense for older students, but not for my six and seven year olds, some of whom do not even know what a cafe is.
While I was musing about this, Laura Komos posted on Twitter that she had changed the headings on the bulletin board in her classroom to fit with a theme. I immediately knew that this was the answer. I wanted to change mine to make it more kid-friendly as well.
I wanted a word that made sense to my students, and nothing I could think of made more sense than READ. I also wanted the accuracy aspect to come first on the board, as this is the first focus in my classroom each year. This is what I came up with. (Click on the picture to go to a larger version if it is too small for you.)
Accuracy has become “right words”. Comprehension is now “explain what you read”. Fluency was changed to “able to read smoothly”. Expanding vocabulary has become “discover new words”. The first letters of each category now spell “read”. It still has the four reading components of the cafe menu, but the language used is better suited to younger students.
Feel free to use it if it is useful to you. While I’m pretty confident that this will make more sense to my students than the last bulletin board did, I’m not totally happy with a couple of those headings. If you have a better idea about how to phrase any of them, change it. If you do modify it, I’d love to hear how you adapted it.
Thanks for the inspiration Gail and Joan!