I have always been a big fan of the Bear book series by Barefoot Books for many years. When my children were young, I would bring them to story time at FAO Schwartz, which is a very large and famous bookstore in NYC. Immediately, when you walked in the section of Barefoot books, it was like entering into a land of beautiful, colorful and inviting books. I loved all of the books but gravitated most towards the Bear books for many reasons. I loved the colorful and inviting colors of the illustrations and the simple bold text which made it stand out. As my children got older, I decided to use these books as a tool to practice reading. Whether your child is a beginner reader in kindergarten or 1st grade and/or your child has a reading disability, these books can be an excellent tool. Here are five ways to use the text to work on reading with the emergent/beginner reader.
1. Read the book first and use print referencing techniques. Point to the word as your reading it.
2. Describe what is occurring in the picture and how it relates to the picture. For example, in this picture, read the text together and discuss how the bear is blowing up the balloons before his guests arrive.
3. Write down all of the sight words that your child is working on at school. For example, words such as “the”, “has”, “his”, etc should be words to focus on so that your child can recognize them in other contexts. For a full list of sight words for your child’s grade, click here.
4. Engage in a carryover activity! For example, download this Bear activity for Bear in a Square and write a short sentence about the picture.
5. Have your child read the story to you. If your child has trouble reading all of the text, read together or point to the visuals if your child has trouble. For example, in Bear in a Square if your child can’t read heart, point to the heart to give him or her a clue.
Bear Books are also available in other languages which makes it an excellent activity for the classroom if you have students who are bilingual.