Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog

Meeting Common Core Standards with Books About Helping [K–1]

By Cindy Price, First-Grade Teacher, Guest Blogger

Are you having trouble incorporating Common Core reading standards into your guided reading lessons? Keep reading because, in today's blog post, I am going to share some ideas and activities to use with students during guided reading lessons with informational texts about helping others.

Helpers is a level C nonfiction book for kids that we can use with our students who are having difficulty with reading. The simple sentence structure will not only increase their self-esteem but also their reading fluency. Students can make real-world connections with photos and simple text.

Have them share their schema or prior knowledge about helpers they would find in their community. Make a list. As you read the story, refer back to the list and add any helpers they did not already have.

You can talk about the pronoun I . This is a great lesson to help students understand that they do not need to refer to themselves by their names. Explain that this pronoun is always capitalized because it takes the place of their names.

Using this leveled book also provides a great time to enhance students' writing skills by talking about proper sentences. To begin this, take a sentence from the text, such as The mailman is a helper , have them cut the words out, mix them up, and put them into the correct order. Then have them glue the words and illustrate them.

Discuss the parts of a sentence. Have them circle the subject and underline the predicate. Have them draw a box around the punctuation. Stress the fact there are spaces. You can click on this free downloadable packet of tools to help students practice all the ideas mentioned in today's blog post about community helpers.

Another great book to use in your guided reading groups is Service Dogs . This is a level F reader with detailed photos and easy-to-read sentences. I would use this with a mid-level group. To begin, have them share their prior knowledge of service dogs. After they have shared this, this would be a great time to review your five senses.

Turn to a random page in the informational text and have them look at the photo. Stress that they are to look at the photo not read the page yet. Encourage kids to talk about what they see in the photo. You can ask if they know anyone who has a service dog or if they have ever seen a service dog before.

Then read the sentences on the page. Talk about whether or not they match the photo. After reading and discussing the text, you can use this book as a great resource to review or introduce pronouns. Write the words he , she , and they on your whiteboard and have students read the words.

Ask them if they know what words like he , she , and they are called and what their purpose is. Have them search for these words in the book. When they find them, have them read the sentence out loud. Have them use a pipe cleaner to circle the pronoun and then discuss the pronoun.

Little Helpers Can do Big Things is a nonfiction level H guided reading book with easy to read sentences and detailed photographs. With this book, you can focus on many of the Common Core reading standards, such as vocabulary, text features, compare and contrast, as well as text-to-self connections.

To begin, have them take a picture walk. You can ask them to look at a particular page in the book and tell you what they see. The children should then describe what they see. Use the following questions to help students with making inferences: What do you think we will be reading about? What makes you think that?

Make an inference chart to prompt students to talk about the page they looked at. After they make their inferences, talk about what they think they know about the topic. Write down their background knowledge. To improve vocabulary, have them think about what the bold words mean. Then read the story together.

Another idea for a lesson to use with this book could be to talk about nonfiction text features. There are several in this book, so it's best to take time with teaching each one that this book offers, such as the table of contents and how to use it. You can also facilitate a discussion about the difference between photographs and illustrations.

As an activity, have your students use the table of contents to find the section about helping at home on page 14. Have them read it and compare and contrast with a Venn diagram what they do in their homes to the information on the page in the book.

In another guided reading lesson, discuss bold words and the glossary. Read the story and stop at the bold words and show them how to find them in the glossary. Choose a vocabulary word and have them write the word, find it in the glossary, write the definition, and illustrate it. This would be a book you would use with a higher guided reading group.

Guided reading is such an awesome time to spend with your kids. During this time, all of your kids will receive focused, Common Core-aligned instruction that is fun and interactive. Your kids will soon look forward to this time of day and want to read! Look for more tips in future posts that will help you increase the use of leveled readers throughout your curriculum.


Cindy Price is a first-grade teacher from Delaware. If you like what you read here, take a look at her blog at Mrs. Price's Kindergators , and be sure to check back here for more of her guest blog posts!