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Hawker Brownlow

The Cafe Book - Engaging All Students in Daily Literacy Assessment and Instruction


In The CAFE Book, Gail Boushey and Joan Moser present a practical, simple way to integrate assessment into daily reading and classroom discussion. The CAFE system, based on research into the habits of proficient readers, is an acronym for Comprehension, Accuracy, Fluency and Expand vocabulary. The system includes goal-setting with students, posting of goals on a whole-class board, developing small-group instruction based on clusters of students with similar goals and focusing whole-class instruction on emerging student needs.

Boushey and Moser developed the CAFE system to support teachers as they:

  • organise assessment data so it truly informs instruction
  • track each child’s strengths and goals, thereby maximising time with him or her
  • create flexible groups of students, all focused in a specific reading strategy
  • help students remember and retrieve the reading strategies they learned.

The CAFE system does not require expensive materials, complicated training or complete changes to current classroom literacy approaches. Rather, it provides a structure for conferring with students, a language for talking about reading development and a system for tracking growth and fostering student independence. The CAFE system’s built-in flexibility lets teachers tailor the system to reflect the needs of their students and their curriculum standards.