Community Helpers
Level D

About the Book

Text Type: Nonfiction/Informational
Page Count: 10
Word Count: 108

Book Summary
Community Helpers is an informational book that presents photographs of a diverse group of people in various occupations. Most, if not all, of the occupations will be familiar to students. The book helps students understand that many kinds of workers and jobs are important to a community. The repetitive sentence pattern reinforces key vocabulary words.

About the Lesson

Targeted Reading Strategy

  • Connect to prior knowledge


  • Use prior knowledge to understand ideas and words in the book
  • Identify main idea and details
  • Blend phonemes
  • Associate the letter Cc with the sound /k/
  • Identify nouns
  • Identify, write, and correctly use high-frequency words a and an


  • Book -- Community Helpers (copy for each student)
  • Chalkboard or dry erase board
  • Main idea and details, initial consonant Cc worksheets
  • Word journal (optional)

Indicates an opportunity for student to mark in the book. (All activities may be completed with paper and pencil if books are reusable.)


  • High-frequency words: some, them, this, lives, too
  • Content words: community, important, police officer, construction worker, doctor, teacher, firefighter, baker, service

Before Reading

Build Background

  • Have students describe the community in which they live. Prompt with questions such as: Which things can we see in our community? Which things can we buy? Which people help us in our community? Where can we go to have fun?
  • Expand the discussion by talking about ways each student can be a helper in the community (be courteous, pick up trash, help a neighbor or friend).

Book Walk

Introduce the Book
  • Show students the front and back covers of the book and read the title with them. Ask what they might read about in a book called Community Helpers. (Accept any answers students can justify.)
  • Show students the title page. Discuss the information on the page (title of book, author's name, illustrator's name). Ask students who the people in the pictures are and how they might help in a community.
Introduce the Reading Strategy: Connect to prior knowledge
  • Explain that good readers make connections between what they already know and new information they read. Remind students that thinking about what they already know about the topic of the book will help them understand what they read.
  • Model connecting to prior knowledge using the information on the covers.
    Think-aloud: When I look at the front cover of Community Helpers, I see a girl seated at a desk. She is looking at a book. I know that students often sit at desks and use books to learn new information. Someone is standing next to the girl in the picture. He is pointing at the book. I know that when I am learning something new, I often have questions. I know that I can ask the teacher for answers to my questions. This person might be the girl's teacher. I know that good readers think about what they already know about the topic of the book as they read. This helps them read new words and understand what is happening in the story. I will think about my own community as I read this book and see whether I recognize the helpers in the book. This will help me understand the book and it might also help me read some new words.
  • Have students preview the pictures on the covers and title page in the book. Have them tell about their experiences with the helpers they see in the pictures.
  • As students read, encourage them to use other reading strategies in addition to the targeted strategy presented in this section. For tips on additional reading strategies, click here.
Introduce the Vocabulary
  • Use the book walk as an opportunity to introduce unfamiliar vocabulary to students and to model any difficult language patterns. For example, on page 4, ask: Who is this helper who lives in our community? That's right, she's a police officer. She is an important helper, isn't she?
  • As vocabulary words are mentioned, have students point to the corresponding word to help them make the picture/word connection. For example, on page 4, say: I know this word is important because I can read the first part, im. I also see parts I know in the word: or, ant. Point to the word parts as you talk about them. You may want to also pre-teach the following vocabulary words: construction worker (page 5), firefighter (page 8), service dog (page 10).
  • Encourage students to add the new vocabulary words to their word journals.
  • For additional tips on teaching high-frequency words or word-attack strategies, click here.

Set the Purpose

  • Have students read to find out more about community helpers. Remind them to think about what they already know about community helpers as they read.

During Reading

Student Reading

  • Guide the reading: Give students their copy of the book. Have a volunteer point to the first word on page 3. Read the word together (Who). Point out where to begin reading on each page. Remind students to read words from left to right. Point to each word as you read it aloud while students follow along in their own book.
  • Ask students to place a finger on the page number in the bottom corner of the page. Have them read to the end of page 5, using their finger to point to each word as they read. Encourage students who finish before others to reread the text.
  • Model connecting to prior knowledge.
    Think-aloud: On page 4, I saw a picture of a police officer. I know that police officers help to keep the community safe. I've seen police officers pull cars off the road when they are speeding. They give the speeding cars tickets and remind the drivers that speeding is not safe.
  • Invite students to share how they connected with what they already know as they read.
  • Have students read the remainder of the book. Remind them to use what they already know about helpers in the community to help them understand new information as they read.

Have students make a small question mark in their book beside any word they do not understand or cannot pronounce. These can be addressed in the discussion that follows.

After Reading

Reflect on the Reading Strategy

  • Ask students what words, if any, they marked in their book. Use this opportunity to model how they can read these words using decoding strategies and context clues.
  • Think-aloud: On page 8, I saw a picture of a firefighter. The firefighter has a special jacket and helmet on. I know that these clothes protect firefighters. Looking at this picture reminds me of times I've seen fire trucks race down the streets with their sirens on and their lights flashing. These signals warn people to get out of the way so that the firefighters can get to a fire as quickly as possible. Using what I already know about community helpers made it easier for me to read the book. I could recognize the people in the pictures and this helped me read the words.
  • Discuss how using what they already know about community helpers helped them understand what they read. Invite students to share how they connected to prior knowledge as they read.
  • Discuss additional strategies students used to gain meaning from the book.

Teach the Comprehension Skill: Main idea and details

  • Discussion: Ask students to tell some of the helpers they read about in the book. Ask which of these they have seen before. Ask who can become a community helper. Discuss the types of training that these helpers need to have.
  • Introduce and model the skill: Explain to students that books they read have a main idea that tells what the book is about. The title of the book and the pictures can be clues to identify the main idea. Discuss the main idea of this book. (There are many different people who help us in our community.) Make a large web on the board and write the following words in the center circle: Many people help us. Explain that there are details in the book that tell about the main idea.
  • Think-aloud: On page 4, I read about a police officer. Police officers are important helpers. They help keep people safe in the community. This is a detail that tells about the main idea. Write police officer in the first outer circle on the web.
  • Check for understanding: Have students point to another detail in their book that tells about the main idea. Observe and discuss their responses.
  • Independent practice: Introduce, explain, and have students complete the main idea and details worksheet. When they have finished, discuss their responses.

Instruct students to use the last page of the book to draw a picture of the community helper they would most like to be. Ask students to share their pictures with the group and tell why they would like to be the helper they chose.

Build Skills

Phonological Awareness: Blend phonemes

  • Say the word help by segmenting it into its individual phonemes: /h/ /e/ /l/ /p/. Tell students that you can tell what the word is by blending the sounds together to say the whole word: help.
  • Say the following words by segmenting them into their individual sounds: dog, food, plane, stick, sing, tack, chick. Have students blend the sounds together to say the word.

Phonics: Initial consonant Cc

  • Write the letter Cc on the board and ask students to name the letter. Tell them this letter sometimes stands for the /k/ sound they can hear at the beginning of the word community. Have them turn to the cover of the book and put their finger on the letter that stands for the /k/ sound. Point out that the letter is capitalized because words in book titles are capitalized.
  • Write the words cat and cap on the board, leaving off the initial consonant Cc. Say each word aloud. Have volunteers come to the board and add the initial consonants to the words. Have them say the words aloud.
  • Ask students to name words that begin with the /k/ sound. Students will most likely name words that start with Cc and with Kk. Write the words in two columns and explain that both letters can stand for the /k/ sound. Have students come to the board and circle the letters in the words that stand for the /k/ sound.
  • Independent practice: Introduce, explain, and have students complete the initial consonant Cc worksheet. If time allows, discuss their answers.

Grammar and Mechanics: Nouns

  • Ask students to tell the job of Mr./Mrs./Ms. _______ (principal). Reinforce that the word principal is a naming word. Repeat with the names of other teachers. Remind students that words that tell the names of people, places, and things, are called nouns.
  • Ask students to turn to page 4 and find the word that names a helper on this page (police officer). Point out that the words helper and community are also naming words.

Have students circle the naming words in their book.

Word Work: High-frequency words a and an

  • Explain that some words are found in many of the books they will read. Write the word a on the board and read the word aloud. Then have students say the word aloud.
  • Ask students to write the word a in the air with their finger as you spell it aloud with them. Repeat the process with the word an. Have students practice writing both words on a separate piece of paper.
  • Show students page 4 in the book. Read the sentence aloud to them. Point to and say the word a. Explain that the word a is a word we use to refer to one of something.
  • Read the sentence She is an important helper. Ask students to tell how many people the sentence is about (one). Point to the word an. Explain that the word an appears before words that begin with a vowel sound. Say the word important, emphasizing the initial short /i/ vowel sound.
  • Draw the following objects on the board: eraser, pencil, apple, book. Have students use the words in an oral sentence with the following phrase: This is a/an ________.

Build Fluency

Independent Reading

  • Allow students to read their book independently. Additionally, partners can take turns reading parts of the book to each other.

Home Connection

  • Give students their book to take home to read with parents, caregivers, siblings, or friends.

Extend the Reading

Writing and Art Connection
Write the following sentences on the board: This is a _____. He/She is an important helper. Brainstorm a list of community helpers (sheriff, minister, bus driver, TV newscaster, newspaper reporter, and so on). Ask students to choose one, write the sentences, and illustrate their picture. Display on a bulletin board titled "Our Community Helpers."

Social Studies Connection
Make a diagram showing how community helpers work together. For example, label a piece of poster board "Community Helpers." Tape a labeled pictured of a teacher (or write Teacher) at the top. Ask students which helper the teacher would ask to build a school (construction worker). Ask students whom the construction worker would go to if he/she got hurt on the job (doctor). Ask students whom the doctor might call if there was a fire in his/her office (firefighter). Ask students whom the firefighters would ask to help control traffic so they could fight the fire (police officer). Ask students who would have made the bread the police officer ate for breakfast (baker).


Monitor students to determine if they can:

  • use what they know about community helpers to help them read unfamiliar words and understand the topic
  • correctly identify the details that support the main idea of the book
  • orally blend sounds to say whole words
  • recognize that the letter Cc can stand for the /k/ sound
  • correctly identify the nouns used in the book
  • read, write, and understand the use of the high-frequency words a and an

Comprehension Checks

Go to "Community Helpers" main page