In Chapter 3 of The Cafe Book, we finally get down to the nitty gritty. What do you teach those first days of school? This chapter has a fantastic book list for first week read-alouds and scripted commentary from The Sisters on how they would teach the first important mini-lessons.
Before school starts, teachers should set up their Cafe bulletin board. I've had mine on a whiteboard at the side of my room (see photo below), on a brick wall, on a small bulletin board...and this year I'm toying with having it on my back cupboards. It can go anywhere and take up any amount of space.
The headings at the top are CAFE: Comprehension "I understand what I read," Accuracy "I can read the words," Fluency "I can read accurately, with expression, and understand what I read," and Expand Vocabulary "I know, find, and use interesting words." You can see mine in a photo from two years ago.
I have heard that some teachers switch up the letters and talk about the "FACE" of a reader instead of the "CAFE." There are two reasons why I personally use Cafe. First, I think comprehension is the most important so I like having that one first. Second, our cafeteria is called "The Lake Cafe" so my kids understand what a cafe is and how it can relate to a menu, etc.
In the book, you can read all about how The Sisters use read-alouds beginning on the first days of school to introduce important strategies. They usually teach Check for Understanding, Cross Checking, Tune In to Interesting Words, and Back Up and Reread for the first few days and constantly revisit them while they are reading to the class.
When you introduce a strategy, The Sisters suggest you have a student write the strategy on a sentence strip and add it to the Cafe menu. There are about a million adorable printables that you can find to print out the strategies if you'd like, but I love having the kids write them. It gives them a sense of ownership.
I'm not sure if you can get to this page on The Daily Cafe site if you aren't a member but there is an interactive Cafe Menu with lots of helpful links/ideas for each strategy.
The next part of the chapter is about assessing individual students. You can use whatever reading assessments your school uses to read with students. Then you discuss your findings with that students after hearing them read. One of the most important things that you should say to students is "Tell me about yourself as a reader." They even had us star that at the Daily 5/Cafe workshop. When the child looks at you like you are crazy (or they might offer an answer- bonus!) then you can tell them the strengths that you discovered while they were reading. With the student, you choose a goal and strategy for them to work on. Start with one or two things. They write their name on a sticky note and put it up on the Cafe board. You can see my kiddos' goals on the stars in the photo. While they are putting their sticky notes up, you can fill out the Individual Reading Conference Form in the child's tab and begin a list of students who should be in a group together on the Strategy Groups form at the beginning of your binder. I keep a running list as I assess students so I don't forget which students should be in the same group. When the student comes back, ask them to remind you what their goal is so they can remember, too!