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Fire Engines by Anne Rockwell

Enhance reading abilities with an activity that enriches and expands children's language and emergent literacy skills.
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Intro and technique

Fire Engines by Anne Rockwell

Summary of the Story

A Dalmatian puppy explains why he likes fire engines and fire fighters. He describes the different kinds of fire engines and the work they do.

Introducing the Story
  • Read the title of the book from the cover, while pointing to each word. Say the title together as you point to each word. Ask: Have you ever seen a fire engine? What color was it?
  • Point to the fire fighters on the cover. Ask: Are these people or dogs? (They are dogs called Dalmatians, which are often found at firehouses.)

Reading the Story for the First Time

  • Read the words to the story on each page, moving your finger under the words as you read.
  • Give the child enough time to look at each of the pictures. If needed, point out the parts of the fire engines named in the book: for example, the pumps, hoses, and ladders.

Reading the Book Again and Again

  • Each time you read Fire Engines, leave more of the "reading" or retelling to the child. Give open-ended prompts on each page. For example, say: What is happening here? What are the fire fighters doing? (They are washing the fire engines.)
  • Give prompts about objects or activities in the pictures. For example, ask: What is the fire fighter holding? (He is holding a hose.) Use your finger to point to what you are asking about. Evaluate the child's response. Expand it by giving more information. Ask the child to repeat the answer. If he or she needs help in answering a question, ask that question again the next time you read the book. Be sure to talk about objects and actions the child brings up, too.

Building Literacy

  • Watch for fire engines in your neighborhood. With your child, point out the ladders, hoses, and pumps.
  • Talk about ways to be safe: for example, by not touching matches and being careful around the stove
Read Together, Talk Together

Excerpted from

Pearson Early Childhood

Excerpted from Read Together, Talk Together, the Pearson Early Childhood research-based program that makes reading aloud even more effective!