Daily Routines

The Daily Routine includes Daily Read-Aloud, Daily Oral Language (DOL), Phonics (Grades 1-2), Focus on Words (Grades 3-8), Handwriting, and Spelling. These routines are designed to be quick mini-lessons that can be taught with whole-class or small-group instruction. Most teachers find that Daily Routine works best as part of small-group instruction.

The overall outline of the Daily Routine is found in the Daily Lesson Guide (DLG) for each theme in the Word Study section. Information on specific content for individual Daily Routines can be found after each session’s overview chart.


Daily Read-Aloud is the time set aside each day for the teacher to model fluent reading to the students. The teacher should select a book, or encourage students to assist in the book selection, and read aloud for 10-15 minutes every day. Book selections should be on topics that are interesting and enrich the listeners’ vocabulary, experience, and knowledge. Some Daily Lesson Guides (DLGs) provide suggestions of books that will enhance the understanding of the theme book study. It is important to read the text fluently and with expression. Teachers can demonstrate comprehension strategies by thinking aloud. When appropriate, pause to invite student responses or predictions, or to offer clarification.




Daily Oral Language (DOL) is a strategy for teaching capitalization, punctuation, language usage, and common spelling in a concise manner, utilizing around 10 minutes per day. Daily Oral Language begins with Theme 4 of Grade 1 and is included in every Daily Lesson Guide. Students build strong oral language and proofreading skills as they correct the given sentences. The Daily Lesson Guide includes two sentences per week for Grades 1-4 and one sentence per week for Grades 5-8.

The Daily Oral Language format, as seen in the sample below and found in each Daily Lesson Guide, provides student sentences (with the errors), the corrected sentences, and the concepts to be taught or reinforced. Each week’s Student Sentences are also available as a Blackline Master. Each day the sentence(s) should be placed on the board, an overhead transparency, or PowerPoint. At the beginning of the year, DOL sentences should be completed as a class. As students progress through the year, more independence can be encouraged. However, it is important that the corrected sentences are reviewed as a class and the concepts discussed. Correct grammatical terminology (noun, verb, etc.) should be utilized during this time. When editing sentences, students should use the appropriate common editing marks found as a Blackline Master in each Daily Lesson Guide.

The vocabulary used and concepts covered in DOL sentences are grade-level appropriate and are often connected with the theme book. However, multigrade teachers may choose to combine grades and teach concepts common to all grades in one presentation.

Although there are a variety of ways to use Daily Oral Language, one common procedure follows:

  1. Provide each student with a copy of the sentence(s) to be corrected.

  2. After students have edited the sentences, display an overhead, or PowerPoint, of the original sentence(s) with errors.

  3. Select responses from the students and place the editing marks on the overhead, verbalizing why the correction is needed.

  4. Continue until all corrections are made.

  5. Acknowledge acceptable responses, as there may be multiple reasons for the editing (e.g. needing a capital I as the first word in a sentence could either be “capitalize sentence beginning” or “capitalize the pronoun I”)


PHONICS (Grades 1 and 2)

Chall-Popp Phonics, a systematic, explicit phonics instruction program, had been selected for use in grades 1 and 2. There is a consumable text for the student and a Teacher’s Edition for each grade. In addition to the student book, Chall-Popp provides phonics readers to assist with instruction. Early Phonics Readers cover all short-vowel sounds. Phonics Readers cover the long-vowel sounds.

The Teacher’s Edition contains content teaching strategies, additional games and activities, intervention strategies, library books for read-alouds, and suggested remedial activities. The Daily Routine in each Daily Lesson Guide outlines the specific phonics content to be covered during the session. Specific page numbers from the Chall-Popp books have been listed to easy teacher reference.

 Some of the Daily Lesson Guides incorporate additional activities to augment phonics instruction that typically involve students in group activities. Teachers may choose to include these as time allows and need arises.


FOCUS ON WORDS (Grades 3-8)

Beginning with Grade 3, instruction does not focus exclusively on phonics. This segment of the Daily Routine builds on the phonics, mechanics, and spelling instruction taught previously, with an additional focus on grammar. It is through this content that students will receive direct instruction in the language arts skills typically identified in an English textbook. Specific word study concepts have been identified for each session. Each session may have instruction provided under Focus on Words that can be delivered in a quick mini-lesson or longer activities may be included as a session activity (i.e. Grammar) The goal is to provide students with the knowledge needed to be proficient in grammar and mechanics, along with the time for practical application during reading and writing.



Handwriting legibility is important to communication. Because handwriting is such a personal activity, it is important to assist students in correct development. It is essential that students focus on the goal of clear communication. Students can be assisted in their personal communication development by clear instruction and the practice of sound handwriting techniques. The teacher can help students by making handwriting practice a pleasurable and creative activity. This can be done by emphasizing success as students learn and by an emphasis on quality rather than speed or quantity. Cursive writing is introduced in third grade and continues in fourth grade.

In grades 1 and 2 there are eight handwriting blackline masters per theme. This allows for the use of two blackline masters per week. Grades 3-8 provide one blackline master per session and other additional handwriting activities. The handwriting program provides students with practice activities using words and sentences from Focus on Words, spelling, thematic literature, and Scripture.



The basic principles of Pathways spelling are:

  • Spelling instruction should help students focus on the patterns in our language

  • Spelling is closely tied to word recognition

  • Spelling instruction must reflect the student’s development level

  • Students should spell words on their instructional levels

  • Students should learn how to spell words they meet frequently in their writing and reading

Spelling instruction begins with Theme 3 in Grade 1. Two spelling lists (A and B) are provided for each week. The lists support the phonics study or Focus on Words taught as part of the Daily Routine. Both lists contain words at grade level. Students can also be challenged with additional words from the theme book. Suggested methods for students to study their words are located in the Teacher Manual.  Students can also go to to practice and study their words.