Sunday, November 6, 2016

The CAFE Book: Chapter 1

I am a Reading Specialist at an elementary school that consists of kindergarten through second grade students. I am helping teachers implement Daily 5 and CAFE. We are currently embarking on a book study that will take us through The CAFE Book. This week I am reading and reflecting on Chapter 1: Introduction: The beginnings of the CAFE Menu Assessment System. 

How do we (teachers) create “strategic, independent, thoughtful readers” (p. 11)

One of the ways we create strategic readers is by setting up our literacy blocks using The Daily 5 structure. Through The Daily 5 structure, teachers teach students the behaviors that support and build successful, independent readers. It is WHAT students are doing while the teacher is teaching. The second way to create independent readers is by using The CAFE system of assessment and instruction.
            Gail and Joan have taken the best research on effective teaching practices and have bundled them under The CAFE Book: Engaging ALL Students in Daily Assessment and Instruction (2009). There are three core elements of CAFE: record-keeping; students and teachers meeting for assessment, explicit instruction and goal-setting; and the teacher is planning effective whole-group, small-group and individual conferring lessons. The goal of CAFE is to meet “each student’s need with tailored instruction” (p 10).
            CAFE is strongly supported by research (p. 9). Gail and Joan have leaned on the top reading researchers in the field, like Richard Allington, Regie Routman and Michael Pressley, as they developed The CAFE system of assessment and instruction. The research says that students must spend their day with materials that they can read – “Good-Fit Books” (p. 9). Additionally the most effective classrooms are structured with “whole-class, small-group and side-by-side instruction” (p. 9). Not only does The CAFE incorporate this research into their system of assessment and instruction, they teach teachers how to implement the research effectively.
            I am in love with Gail and Joan and their contributions to quality instruction for all students. I’ve been to their Daily 5 and CAFE workshops (in sunny SoCal). I’ve taken their graduate class and seen them present at the ORA Institute in Portland. I’ve read and re-read Daily 5 and CAFE and follow The 2 Sisters on twitter (@gailandjoan) and on Facebook (The Daily CAFE). Finally, I have had the pleasure of presenting my own PD to colleagues. As teachers, we have to teach and develop a classroom structure that supports the love of reading. Daily 5 and CAFE are my answer to WHAT and HOW I teach students.

Participating in this book study is evidence of professional practice as defined by Charlotte Danielson's Framework for Teaching. This week's participation is evidence of 
Domain 4: Professional Responsibilities -
  • 4a: Reflecting on Teaching
  • 4d: Participating in a Professional Community
  • 4e: Growing and Developing Professionally
Boushey, G. &  Moser, M. (2009) The CAFÉ Book: Engaging ALL students in Daily Assessment and Instruction.

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