Lesson Plans for FIREFIGHTERS Level J

Text Type:
Fact / Informational Text

Reading Level:

Word Count:


Text Summary
Firefighting is serious business. Children will learn about the many challenges firefighters face and the kind of equipment and machines they use to do their job. It’s a challenging job and a very important one. Firefighters work to keep people and property safe. 

Reader Supports

  • Simple sentence structure 

Reader Challenges

  • Limited picture support of text
  • Fact-based text and vocabulary 

Lesson Objectives

Reading Strategies
Children should use a variety of strategies to decode words and bring meaning to print. The target strategy for this lesson is: Decoding using context clues. 

Word and Print Skills

Phonological Awareness
long i
igh word family
Word Work
High Utility Words:
they, many, summary, index
Content Words:
siren, firefighter, danger, prevent, inspect, factory, skyscrapers, protect, fire extinguisher, fire engine, ladder truck, tanker truck, fireboat, helicopter, fire-proof chemicals, fitness test, rescue, injuries, destroy
These are words that children may find difficult. You may want to review and discuss these words and have children add them to the classroom word wall or dictionary.


You will likely address a number of comprehension skills as children work to understand the text. The target comprehension strategy for this lesson is: Making a connection between what they read and what they already know.
Before children read the text, have them brainstorm what they know about firefighters. After reading the text, create a second list of what they now know about firefighters and compare it with the first list. 

Visual Learning
This book contains a table of contents and an index. There are headings for each section and photographs with captions and labels. These may present challenges to children. Discuss these book features during the book walk and model reading. 

Before Reading

Introduce the Book
Show children the book and have them read the title and scan the pictures to make initial predictions about the information in the text.
Ask and say: What do you see on the cover? What do you think this book is about? What do the photographs tell you about firefighters? Share anything else you can guess from the photographs. Is this book fiction or nonfiction? (Nonfiction) What clues tell you that?  

Build Background
Ask questions that uncover what children already know about the topic. Have they had any experience with firefighters?
Ask: What is a firefighter? Where do you find firefighters? Have you ever met or visited a firefighter? What do firefighters do?
Have children brainstorm a list of things they know about firefighters. This may also naturally bring up some of the content words

Book Walk
Go through as much of the book as you feel is necessary, pointing out things you feel will challenge children when they read. Look at the pictures with children and discuss what they see. Write the content words they list on the board or piece of paper. This step helps reduce the anxiety some children feel when they are faced with a book with unfamiliar text.
Cover and title page
Say and ask: This is a book about firefighters. Listen for the sounds in the word firefighter. The first sound I hear is /f/. What is the next sound you hear? Help children sound out the word firefighter and compare it to the letters in the title.
Page 3
Say and ask: This is the table of contents. What do you think it is for? (Lists the contents of the book) How could you use it? (Look up a specific topic or information)
Page 4 and 5
Ask: What does this photograph tell us about these pages? What do you notice about how the print is typed on these pages? (Bold face type on the headings Introduction and Types of Fires. Photographs with captions.)
Pages 14 and 15
Ask: What does this heading tell us? What is a summary?
Page 16
Say and ask: What is an index? How might we use it?

Reading Strategies
Remind children to use any or all of the following strategies to help them read:

  • Segmenting the sounds in the word. Model using your fingers or strips of paper to isolate word segments, and sound them out.
  • Predicting words based on the context, then using letter sounds to confirm the prediction.
  • Rereading any sentences or pages that were difficult, to ensure understanding

Ask children about the strategies they think they will use if they get to a difficult word. You may want to act as a model to show them how it might look or sound when they read. Pretend to read, getting stuck on a word, and model a strategy that could help children decode the word or phrase. 

During Reading

Model Reading
Read the story aloud in order to model the proper intonation and fluency. Pause periodically to discuss what the text and to ask questions that require comprehension. Pause on words that children can predict from the picture or context, and then confirm using sounds in the word. As the book continues, you may have children participate in the reading. 

Think Aloud
As you read, talk about your experiences with firefighters. Talk about how the text is organized and where you look to find information. Do you read the captions under the pictures first or last? 

Student Reading
Hand out the books to children and ask them to read quietly at their own pace. If some finish before others, they can read the book again with a partner or go back through the book and make a list of difficult words, important words, or words with specific sounds. 

Using the Worksheet
Introduce and explain the worksheet. Have children start work on the worksheet as they finish reading the text. 

After Reading

Comprehending the Text
Bring the children together again and discuss what they have learned about firefighters.
Say and ask: Let’s talk about what we know about firefighters after reading this book. Who would like to share something they learned? Record responses on the board or a piece of paper. Compare the list with the brainstormed list from Building Background. How did the author and the photographs show you things you may not have known before?  

Building Skills

Phonological Awareness
Have a stack of cards with pictures of things that are spelled with the ight or ite endings. Have other pictures mixed in as well. Play a version of rummy. Children are dealt three cards, and the rest of the cards are put in a pile. Children take turns drawing cards. For each card they draw, they must discard one. The object is to find pictures of things that rhyme with light. Once they have three, they put them down and say the three words. 

Discuss the /ite/ sound in firefighter. Ask for suggestions as to how it should be spelled. Write the word fighter and underline igh for the long i sound. Tell children this is one spelling pattern for the long i sound. Look through the text for other /ite/ words or brainstorm others. 

Word Work
High Utility Words:
they, many, summary, index
Talk about difference between the words children were able to read fluently or knew by sight and the words they had to decode by segmenting and sounding out. Lead them to understand that many of the words are easy to read fluently if they have them memorized to sight, such as they, many, summary, index, etc. Have children share some strategies they use to remember these words. 

Pronouns are words used in place of names or specific nouns. Instead of always writing the firefighters in the text, the author uses the pronoun they. Have children make a list of other pronouns. Read through the text and look at each pronoun, identifying the word it replaces. 

Expand the Reading

Writing Connection
Letter Writing
Say: We have learned a lot about firefighters in this text. Many of you still have questions about firefighters. One way to answer those questions is to talk to a firefighter. Because firefighters are very busy and must always be ready to fight a fire, they are not always available. We can write to a firefighter and share some of the interesting facts we learned and ask him or her questions about his or her job. Show children the main parts of a letter, including the date, salutation, body, closing, and signature. Have each child write a short letter with a question for a local firefighter. Mail them or drop them by a local firehouse and ask if the firefighters will respond. Children will have a great time making a real-life connection. 

Safety Connection
Discuss fire safety with children. Practice your classroom evacuation plan. Ask children to make posters or signs about fire safety. 

Reading Independently
Invite children to reread the book Firefighters independently or with a partner.

Home Connection
Invite children to take the book home to read with their families. Families can write out their fire evacuation plan and return a copy to school. 


  • Monitor children’s responses in the Comprehending the Text section to assess how well they understand the text or story.
  • Monitor reading to see if children are using the effective reading strategies.
  • Assess children’s knowledge of decoding using context and segmenting the sounds in the word.

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