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How to Make Mini Bear Books with Preschoolers

written by: Tracey Bleakley • edited by: Amanda Grove • updated: 6/6/2012

Finding good books for children who are just learning to read can be a challenge. One solution is to let beginning readers illustrate small books that they can keep and read over and over again. Preschoolers can make these easy-to-read, mini books as part of a larger unit about bears.

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    Making these mini books with children is a fun and engaging craft. Copy the pages of the books, fold them into a book and staple them together. Use these mini bear book ideas to help children learn to read color words and to organize the facts that they have learned about different types of bears.

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    Bear Colors

    This is a super easy book that preschoolers can make to help them practice reading color words.

    Materials

    A book about colors to read to the class

    Bear Colors book, one per child

    Die cut bear shapes in red, blue, green, yellow, purple, orange, brown, and black, one set per child

    Glue

    Pencils or crayons

    Procedure

    color bears Begin by reading a book about colors to the class. Two good choices are Color Bears by Judy Palaferro and Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr.. After reading the book and talking about the different colors, tell the children that they are going to be making their own color book about bears.

    Give each child a pre-stapled copy of the Bear Colors book and a set of colored bear shapes. Have the children find the cover of the book and read the title to them. Then let them write their names on the line under the title. Open the book to the first page and read it to the class, red bear. Ask the children if they can find the word, red on the page. Say the word slowly and ask what letter they would expect to see at the beginning of the word. Have the children point to the word and read it. Then do the same with the word bear. Have the children find the red bear shape and hold it up. When all of the children have found the correct bear, show them how to glue the red bear onto the first page of the book. Continue reading the rest of the book and gluing the matching bears to each page.

    Once the books are finished, read through them again as a class. Encourage the children to point to the words as they read. Stop once or twice and ask the children to point to a certain word. "Can you point to the word green?" Let the children keep the books to practice reading. The colored bears will give strong support to the simple, repetitive text to help the children begin to learn to read both color words and the word bear.

    Assess

    Ask each child to read his book to you. Notice which children can point to the individual words and which ones are only looking at the bear shapes. Have the children point out specific words or count the words on the page. Another assessment idea is to show them a list of the color words from the book and ask them to read the list. How many words are they able to read out of context?

    Extension

    As a fun, math follow-up to the lesson, give the children candy gummy bears or bear counters to sort by color. Make sorting mats with the colors written on them for the children to put their bears on. They can also count how many of each color they have.

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    Types of Bears: Fact Book Activity

    Preschoolers can make these fact books to help them remember a few basic facts about the different types of bears.

    Materials

    Book or information about one type of bear

    Fact book for the type of bear you are reading about

    Crayons, pencils

    Procedure

    polar bears Choose one type of bear for your preschoolers to learn about. Make the mini fact books by copying the appropriate page, cutting the four sections apart and stapling them together to make a book. Give each child a book and read over the pages together. Explain that this is the information that they need to be listening for, so that they can record it in their books.

    Next read a book or share information with the class about the bear type you have chosen. Books by Gail Gibbons, like Polar Bears and Giant Pandas, and magazines, like Your Big Backyard and National Geographic Little Explorer, are great resources for finding information about the types of bears. You can also print up information from the internet to share with your students. Many zoo websites have fact sheets about the different animals.

    As you read the children will be listening for information about what the bear looks like, its diet and where it lives. To complete the books, stop as you encounter the information and let the children draw a picture on the appropriate page of their book. You can also just discuss the information while you are reading and allow the children to illustrate the book after you have finished reading.

    Over the next few days, teach your preschoolers about other types of bears and let them make mini books about them. They will love having their very own set of books about the different types of bears.

    Assess

    Ask each child to choose a type of bear, draw a picture of it, what it eats and where it lives. You can also choose to have them do this activity orally.

    Extension

    For older children add more pages with information such as size and habits. Older children can also add their own writing by labeling their illustrations or adding interesting facts. Extend the writing and reading on each page by making sentences to complete. Change "Food" to "Polar Bears eat _____________." and have the children fill in the blank as well as drawing a picture.

    These preschool mini bear book ideas will make great additions to a bear theme. Children will love reading these small books that they have made themselves.

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    Resources

    Source: Author's personal classroom experience

    Gibbons, Gail. Giant Pandas. Holiday House, 2004

    Gibbons, Gail. Polar Bears. Holiday House, 2002

    Martin, Jr, Bill. Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? Henry Holt and Co, 2008

    Palaferro, Judy. Color Bears. Umbrage Editions, 2010

    Book Cover Photos: Amazon.com

Growl! Preschool Bear Lessons and Crafts

Find ideas for crafts and activities to each young children about bears. Preschoolers will have fun reading and making bear books and learning about the different types of bears.
  1. Preschool Lesson Plan: Make a Bear ABC Book
  2. How to Make Mini Bear Books with Preschoolers
  3. Two Cute and Fuzzy Bear Crafts for Preschoolers
  4. Preschool Literacy Activities with Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?