With simple text and beautiful illustrations, I Know a Bear, tells the story of a little girl going to the zoo and imagining what life might have been like for the animals if they were free to live as intended. At the end of the story she thinks about her own pets and how they are meant to live.
This book has unique and strong vocabulary that is repeated throughout the book. It can take kids about thirty times of hearing a new word before it becomes a part of his vocabulary so books that introduce new words and repeat them help build a large repertoire for the future. The concepts might be too abstract for the young age. Children are very concrete so extrapolating what he sees in a zoo and putting it in the world might be hard for them to grasp.
What skills your child builds reading this book:
Questions to ask while reading:
- For children 3-5, point to the front cover of the book and ask your child what she thinks the book will be about. For younger children point to the picture on the cover and in the pages and help her name the objects.
- Flip through the pages without reading the text and have her make a guess about what will happen. For younger children, flip through the pages and make a guess about what the story will be about. This helps children draw context and meaning from the pictures while building narrative skills, being able to tell the story on his own.
- Talk about feelings. Look at the expressions on the girl’s face. Ask your child what he thinks the girl is feeling. For older children you can ask them how they might feel.
- Discuss what animals your child has seen at the zoo.
Take it further:
- Go to the zoo with a world map. Go to the different exhibits and place a dot for each of the animals and where they live in the natural world. Label it with the animal name. This will help build vocabulary through the naming of animals and the countries and continents of the world.
- Research bears! Go to your local library or bookstore and find a book on bears. Add the different types to the map.
- Find ways to use the unique words from the book in your conversation because repetition equals learning. Lush and vast are not words we use everyday but make an effort to find ways to include them in your conversations.
What activities have you used to enrich the reading experience with your child? Post suggestions in the comments to share ideas.