Karen Helps Out
Reading Comprehension Activity

Karen has always loved to watch her father fix things around the house. Usually his jobs are too big for kids, but one Saturday Dad needs help painting the porch. Will Karen be up to the task? Students will read the story and answer follow-up questions about vocabulary, plot, and other story elements.

Topic(s): Realistic Fiction. Skill(s): Summary, Context Clues, Story Elements. Genre(s): Prose

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Karen sat at the kitchen table. She finished her last bite of cereal as she watched Dad fill a bucket with tools. “What are you working on today?” she asked.

“Last week I fixed the porch railing,” Dad said. “That means today it’s ready to paint.”

“Can I help?” asked Karen. Dad usually said no, because his tools were sharp and too heavy for Karen to pick up. Karen usually just watched Dad work.

“Yes,” said Dad. “Painting is a safe job for you to try. Go put on some old clothes and meet me out front.”

Karen found play clothes from last summer that were a little small. Next year they wouldn’t fit at all. It would be okay if she dripped paint on them by mistake. Karen was planning to be very careful.

“Ready!” called Karen. She sat down on the top porch step.

Dad dipped his paint brush into a can of white paint. Karen watched as he carefully wiped the edge of the brush on the side of the can. “That’s what you do to get rid of extra paint. See? No drips.” Then dad made one long smooth line of paint along the porch railing. “Remember to paint in just one direction so things stay neat,” said Dad.

Karen was very excited to try painting herself. She dipped her brush in the paint and wiped the edge, just like Dad. Then she tried to paint a stripe on the railing. Her paint line started out nicely, but she soon ran out of paint.

“That’s a good start,” said Dad. “Now dip your brush in again and continue your line.” Karen tried again. Soon her paint line was almost as long as Dad’s. She watched as Dad went over her line one more time. He smoothed it out and connected it to his line.

“Painting is fun!” said Karen. She and Dad kept working together. Soon the whole railing was painted white. It looked fresh and clean.

“Great job, Karen,” said Dad. “When it’s dry, we can show Mom what we did today.”

Karen smiled. She felt very proud. She couldn’t wait to show Mom all her hard work later.

Comprehension Questions

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