First grade is a crucial age when it comes to learning to read. Many students need one on one or small group help with words or phrases.
That's why Mark Twain Elementary School in Sioux Falls is implementing the Daily 5 program.
It gives students extra help, but also independence.
Reading doesn't come easily to all kids, and working as a whole group isn't the answer for many.
"When you put them into smaller strategy groups you can focus in on one strategy at a time and you can group those kids accordingly," Mark Twain teacher Missy Raak said.
Raak is using that small group strategy in her first grade classroom with a program called the Daily 5. Students start out as a group working on a reading lesson, and then move into more independent studies.
"From there, students get to pick which activity they work on while I'm working with a small group of students," Raak said.
"We have word work, and listen to reading, and read to self," Lauren Holte said.
The Daily 5 gives students five different options to choose from when it comes to working with their spelling words, or learning to read, the choices keep students interested.
"The variety keeps them interested, I think they feel like they have control over what they're doing," Raak said.
While it allows students to pick their favorite activity to work on, they do have to focus on all areas throughout the week.
"You can't choose one twice, so like I can't choose to read to someone twice," Jennings said.
Since the beginning of the year Raak says she’s seen a noticeable difference in her students' reading levels and progress they’ve made. She also sees they're able to focus a lot longer.
"It's amazing to see how long they can be engaged in reading and writing when they know exactly what's expected of them, they know why they're doing it and they see the benefits of it," Raak said.
Raak says the students get so engrossed many times they don't even realize they're learning. That tends to have the greatest impact.
The program is used in other schools throughout the district.