I used the book A Crazy Day at the Critter Cafe to introduce the idea of the CAFE board. We talked about how a Cafe was another word for a restaurant. We also talked about how when we go to restaurants we order our food from a menu. I gave my students the opportunity to share some of their favorite foods that they like to order when they go out. We talked about how menus at some restaurants are on paper but others are on boards on the wall. I explained that our CAFE menu would be that type of board.
We talked about how restaurant menus show you foods you can order and the CAFE menu shows you reading strategies you can use. We discussed how when you order at a restaurant you do not order everything on the menu because that would be too much food to eat and it would not all fit on your plate. I related that idea to choosing one or two strategies to try out at time because trying to use too many at once will slow down your reading. We also talked about how we don't always order the same foods at restaurants so we may not always want to use the same strategies to figure out a word. Sometimes we might like a particular food and sometimes we might not. Sometimes one strategy might work for us when another might not. It is important to emphasize that the CAFE menu is the board they will use all year long to remind them of the strategies that all readers use. We will put strategies up on the board that they can look at and try out as they read. Chapter 3 of the CAFE book does a great job of explaining how to introduce the board and the strategies.
I chose "identify front and back of book" as the first strategy because we have practiced it a lot. I told my students that this strategy was important because it helps us to start reading in the right place. I did not introduce or explain any of the other headings today. I will focus on this strategy and refer to it on the board for several days before adding a new one.
My CAFE signs came from Ginger Snaps. They are not based on the emergent menu though. I am using picture cards to go with each strategy to help out my less advanced readers. You can download the first three strategies I plan to introduce here. I am moving this weekend but plan to make a sign and picture card for each strategy and post them soon.
Here are the emergent menu categories-
Comprehension ( I listen to and understand stories that are read to me)
Accuracy (I hear, work, and play with spoken language)
Fluency ( I know letters, sounds, and words)
Expand Vocabulary (I am aware of print and how to handle a book)