At the Firehouse with Dad

By Tina Athaide
Illustrations by Shachi Kale


  • understanding the author’s message
  • connecting personal experiences/background knowledge with a story
  • using informational text to prepare for possible real-life experiences

Supportive Text Features:

  • familiar words and concepts
  • narrative sentence and text form
  • predictable sequential events

Essential Components of Reading Instruction:

Phonics: initial /s/ consonant blends and digraphs; long /e/vowel sound
Vocabulary: firefighter, stripes, smoky, alarm, ladders, hoses, siren, earmuffs,matches, electrical sockets, escape, emergencies, clothes; compound words;plural nouns: adding “-s,” “-es”
Fluency: reread the story independently or with a partner Comprehension: determine what is important, make connections, ask questions

High-frequency Words: is, your, to, day, I, am, go(ing), with, my, he, a, put(s), out,all, over, the, me, his, and, has, in, they, see, when, it, or, there, are, of, where, can,on, here, so, if, like(s), too, big, their, them, have, we, after, for, one, from, now

Getting Ready to Read

  1. Introduce the concept and vocabulary by asking open-ended questions:
    • What places have you visited with your father or other adults?
    • What might you see if you visited a firehouse?
    • What might you be able to do while visiting a firehouse?
    • What might you hear at a firehouse?
  2. Connect children’s past experiences with the book vocabulary:
    • Call children’s attention to the title. Read: “At the Firehouse with Dad.” Talk about the kinds of occupations parents might have.
    • Ask children to use the title and picture on the cover to predict what might happen in the story.
    • Show the back cover and read the copy. Ask children what the boy might do during his special visit.
    • Have children suggest some words they might encounter in the story.
    • Give children the book and have them look at the pictures. Ask them to tell what happens in the story as they turn the pages.
  3. Remind children of the strategies they know and can use with unfamiliar words:
    • Ask them, “What will you do if you come to a word you don’t know?”
    • Encourage children to look for chunks of words they know and to blend the sounds quickly.
    • Suggest that children read on past an unfamiliar word in order to use the context of the story to unlock the meaning of the word.
    • Tell children to think about words that would go with a story about visiting a firehouse and begin with the letter of the unknown word. Then encourage them to choose a word that makes sense in the sentence.
  4. Be aware of the following book and text features:
    • The book contains numerous high-frequency words and many other familiar words.
    • The story is written in narrative form.
    • The story events are predictable relative to visiting a firehouse.
    • Compound words are used.
    • Quotation marks are used on page 3.
    • The illustrations support the text, but much of the story is contained in the text.
    • An informational section on pages 15 and 16 offers practical fire safety tips as well as an example for writing charts.

Reading the Book

  1. Set a purpose by telling children to read about what the boy does while he isvisiting the firehouse with his dad.

  2. Have children read the first few pages silently. Each child should read at his or her own pace. Check comprehension with a simple comment such as: “Tell me how the story begins.” Then direct children to continue reading. As they read,watch for indications of comprehension: changes in facial expressions, giggles,audible comments, rereading, turning back to a page. You may want to record these “noticings.”

  3. Look for these reading behaviors during children’s first reading:
    • Do they rely on the print while reading?
    • Do they have a strong sight vocabulary?
    • Do they use known sound chunks to read unknown words?
    • Are they monitoring meaning and rereading when they lose meaning?
    • Do they easily move from page to page?
    • Are they using punctuation to gain meaning?
    • Do they make accurate predictions?
    • Can they connect the text to their own experiences?
    • Do they react to the text even though they are reading silently?
  4. As children read, note what they are doing. Help them build independence by being available, but not intervening too quickly.
    • Watch for changes in children’s facial expressions and use these as signals to ask questions such as: “What made you smile?” or “Where do you need some help?”
    • Encourage children’s attempts by making comments such as: “I like how you are using a different strategy when the first one you tried didn’t work.”
    • If children are struggling with deciding which strategy to use, suggest a specific strategy that would help them get meaning in the most efficient way, such as, “Did you think about chunking that word?”
  5. Possible teaching points to address based on your observations:
    • Review how to find a known part or sound chunk in an unknown word.
    • Show children how to use analogies to move from the known to the unknown when encountering new words.
    • Work with suffixes and prefixes.
    • Review using grammar (syntax) to unlock words by considering the sentence structure or parts of speech in the sentence.
    • Explore the story grammar—characters, setting, and so on.
    • Review how to determine what is important in a sentence or story.
    • Model asking questions or making “I wonder . . .” statements to extend comprehension.
    • Review using punctuation marks to guide the meaning-making process.Point out the quotation marks on page 3 and talk about why they are used.
    • Point out the following compound words: firefighter, firehouse, earmuffs,upstairs. Review how compound words are formed and how this is sometimes a clue to their meanings.
    • Work with words from the story with initial /s/ consonant blends and digraphs: sleep, slide, smoky, stripes; shows. Explore other words with these sounds.
    • Work with the plural noun endings “-s” and “-es” using words from the story. Distinguish these words from present tense singular verbs ending in“-s.”
    • Work with the long /e/ vowel sound and explore the various spelling patterns that can represent this sound: “e” as in me, ”ea” as in eat and each, “ie” as in piece.
    • Discuss the informational text on pages 15 and 16. Review the fire safety tips and discuss how they are presented as a list or chart. Point out that this is one way to present nonfiction information in a book.
    • Model how to revisit the text to find specific examples or ideas in the story.Revisit AT THE FIREHOUSE WITH DAD to compare what the father in this story does with the work children’s parents or caretakers do.

After the First Reading

1.    Have children confirm their predictions about what happened in the story.
2.    Ask children if they had difficulty with any words or ideas, and what specific strategies they used to make sense of the story. Encourage children to be specific about showing the parts that gave them trouble and telling how they went about sorting things out.
3.    Elicit children’s ideas about how the boy might have felt while visiting the firehouse. Let volunteers tell about visits they may have taken to family members’ places of work.
4.    Talk about why the boy may have enjoyed his visit to the firehouse.
5.    Ask children to talk about anything that surprised them or was a new piece of information that they didn’t know before they read the story.
6.    Discuss information in the story that could help children in their real lives.
7.    Brainstorm with children what might happen after the end of the story.

Second Reading

  1. Have children reread the book silently or to a partner.
  2. This is a time for assessment. Keeping notes on children’s progress during guided reading session will be a helpful resource for giving children on-going feedback about themselves as readers as well as helping you record how they develop over time.
    • While they are reading, watch what children do and what they use from the teaching time.
    • You might also take a running record on one child as an assessment of the child’s reading behavior.
    • You might also listen in on each individual reader, observing as children use appropriate or inappropriate strategies. This information will be valuable for any additional strategy discussions after the second reading.

Cross-Curricular Activities

Art: Children can create their own fire safety posters to take home and share with their families. Children may use construction paper or large poster boards, if available, and colorful markers, colored pencils, crayons and/or paint.

Music: Using familiar songs, encourage individuals or groups of children to create a song about a day at a firehouse, or perhaps even a fire safety jingle. Model this through a shared writing experience.

Science: Talk about the process of combustion and how some fires are started by human carelessness. Discuss the concept of pressure and how water is pumped out of a fire hydrant into the enormous fire hose to extinguish a blaze. Explore how weather can help or hinder a group of firefighters when trying to put out a fire.

Math: Have children explore the amount of water it takes to extinguish a large fire. Estimate how many gallons may have to be pumped to put out that fire.Discuss measurement in relation to the length of fire ladders, hoses, and trucks.Talk about how a fire chief decides how many fire trucks and firefighters are needed to fight a fire.

Social Studies: For Fire Prevention Week, or any other time during the year, plan a visit to your local firehouse, or invite a firefighter to visit the class and give a presentation. Talk about fire safety and what to do in case of a fire. This website has several links to fire safety sites for children, teachers, and families. Help children learn how to make fire escape plans/maps for their own homes. Encourage children to work with their families to create their escape plans and then post them at home in easily visible places.

Writing: Invite children to write thank you notes or letters to their local firefighters thanking them for their bravery and hard work keeping the community safe. Mail the letters or deliver them in person during a visit to the firehouse.

Guided Reading with

Guided Reading: H EDL/DRA: 14 Intervention: 13
16 pages, 247 words, plus Note

Children reading at guided reading level H are moving into an early fluent stage of reading. All the directions given for the introduction, first reading, and second reading of the English edition can be used with the Spanish edition of the book.The focus of the teacher’s support should be on building comprehension, fluency,confidence, and independence. To read the book successfully, children need the same kinds of support as their English-speaking classmates. Second language learners often benefit from acting out new words, seeing pictures, and talking about them using concrete examples.

Phonics skills to focus on include: initial /b/consonant sound; /ch/ consonant blend; exploration of the/y/ sound for “ll” (double L) and “y;” and the hard /g/sound represented by the “gu” spelling when used with vowels “e” or “i,” as in manguera, while the “u” is silent.

The Spanish edition contains numerous high-frequency words and many familiar words. New vocabulary may include the following: bombero, rayas, humo, oscuridad, escaleras, mangueras, sirena, auriculares, fósforos, enchufes de electricidad, escape, emergencias, lámpara. Unfamiliar words may be presented along with synonyms, such as “fuego” for “incendio,” to help deepen children’s comprehension of the words and the story. You may also use real objects to support the learning of new vocabulary.

For dual-language children, cognates may also be used, such as: estación/station, alarma/alarm, hamburguesas/hamburger, ensalada/salad, sirena/siren,lámpara/lamp, emergencias/emergencies.

The story is written in narrative form. The present-tense narrative of the story changes to a familiar command-form voice for the fire safety guidelines on pages15 and 16. Point out this change to children and talk about why the author made this change. Also explore the plural noun endings “-s” and “-es.”

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About This Title

Guided Reading:




Interest Level:

Grades K - 2

Reading Level:

Grades 1 - 1


Comparing/Classifying/Measuring, Vehicles In Motion, Responsibility, Occupations, Mentors, Heroism, Friendship, Fathers, Families, Childhood Experiences and Memories, Asian/Asian American Interest, Gratitude, Leadership, Realistic Fiction, Respect/Citizenship, Pride, Collaboration


Emergent Dual Language, Emergent English, Bebop English Guided Reading Level H, Bebop Realistic Fiction Collection Grades PreK-2, Bebop Asian American English Grades PreK-2, Dual Language Levels D-I Collection, Asian American Collection English 6PK, Diverse Backgrounds Collection English 6PK, Reading Recovery Bebop Books collection, At Home Learning Collection for Grades PreK-2, Bebop English Fiction

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