Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog

At-Home Reading Session with Fiction (1st Grade)

This blog is part of our series aimed to help parents augment their child's education while they are away from their classrooms. To see more more blogs from this series, click here   

Today’s post is a typical guided reading lesson that a K–1 teacher might do with a small group of children.  Parents don’t need to have any previous teaching experience to lead their children through this activity. They can use our digital fiction book, Dirty Hippo, and follow some of the lesson ideas below for working with their child before, during, and after reading.

This title is appropriate for children reading at guided reading level D (early first grade).  You can see our leveling chart here.

*Please note that any scripts provided are not intended to be prescriptive. These are only intended to be suggestions for parents. 


Things you can do before you read the book together: 

  • Read the title out loud and display the cover.  
  • Ask your child to make some predictions about the story based off of the cover image and title.  
    • EX: Where do they expect the story to go? Do they believe the dirty hippo will find a way to get clean?  Where do they think the story will be set?   

Things to Do While You Read: 

  • When you come across an unknown word, encourage children to use the illustrations to decode any unfamiliar words. 
    • Prompt them with questions like: What do you see in the picture? Can you describe what’s happening in the picture? 
  • Direct children to read aloud with you when they recognize common sight words.  Some common sight words are: look, with, all, the.     
  • If they stumble over a sentence, have them go back and reread the sentence or passage, so they can become comfortable with self-correcting. 

You’re Finished Reading, What Now? 

  • Ask children to compare and contrast where they believed the story would go based on the title and cover to where the story did go.  
  • Invite students to retell the story! This is an easy way to check for comprehension.  
  • Review any new vocabulary. 

Activities that Build Comprehension: 

  • Begin a story chain! This activity works with any group of two or more. Invite kids to create a story together, you can help them begin by giving a prompt like “Today, I went to the zoo...” or “When I woke up this morning…,” ask them to continue the story by completing the sentence. Go around the group or back and forth, until each child has contributed to the story, or the story ends naturally. 
  • Invite your kids to create their own stories! For lower-level readers, this might be drawing a picture and coming up with a story to accompany it. Encourage higher-level readers to explore advanced storytelling by creating a story from the hippo’s point of view.