Big Brown Bear – A Leveled Reader, Sight Word Practice, & Fun Activities


Back to School Leveled Reader for Kindergarten StudentsI’m sharing how I use a Big Brown Bear unit to kick off the school year, introduce the sight words like and me, start labeling, researching nonfiction, and more. It is perfect for the back to school season with kindergarten, preschool, and first grade students!

So… years ago I had (okay I STILL have) dreams of being a children’s author. I attended several conferences & workshops and wrote at least 10 manuscripts. At one of the conferences I went to, there was an editor looking for leveled readers. I wrote several and now, many years later, I’m dusting them off and finally seeing them in print with the help of Chirps Graphics. (SHE IS FABULOUS!)

I created a new resource for TPT that includes this leveled reader and tons of activities and wanted to share a little more about them here. If you want to check out the resource in my store, you can click on the product below.

See… I told you Chirps Graphics is amazing! I love her illustrations!

With my kindergarteners we started by looking over the words on our word wall which are of course included in this resource!

Ya’ll! I almost cried when I read the class book to my students and they started reading it by themselves. They were so excited that they were reading and even my struggling readers gained so much confidence with this text and it was so special to see a story that was just a thought in my head years ago go to a manuscript form and FINALLY a printed form for students to enjoy. If you don’t follow me on Instagram – please add me! You can see a video of my students reading this to me!

So… after reading students the class book, I gave them each an individual reader. There are colored and black & white printer-friendly versions included. I printed the large class book in color and laminated it to use every year. Then I printed the ones for my students in black and white.

The students I created this book for should already recognize some beginning and ending letter sounds, have print awareness, and may tell a story from memory. They may invent text, can detect rhymes, have some syllable awareness, and are aware of the relationship between letters and sounds.
This and the other leveled readers I have written have between 32-100 words, predictable sentence structure, predictable story and spelling patterns with simple vocabulary and mimic speech. The most important thing is that these stories have word repetion which helps students build fluency, comprehension and a love for reading. In order to ease frustration, I have avoided compound words and contractions.

My kids loved coloring “Big Brown Bear”.

The next day students worked on rearranging letters to complete the book with the words “like” and “me”.


Later we created these adorable headbands. I loved how creative my students were!

Isn’t she adorable???


Each day we revisited the text. My students were so proud that they could read it by themselves.

I overheard one of my struggling readers exclaim, “I CAN READ NOW BY MYSELF!!!”

I included printable where students will finish the sentence to say what Big Brown Bear likes to do with each of them. They loved them!

There are lots of other activities like a labeling worksheet…

I also included activities to assess comprehension – like this sheet where students will color in the words or pictures that Big Brown Bear likes.


We did the cutest craftivity where students color in a picture of Brown Bear holding one of the writing templates… but of course, I forgot to take pictures!


I hope your students enjoy this as much as mine did. It was truly magical to see all of those struggling readers get so excited about reading! I created this resource as our year was coming to an end, but next year I plan to use this earlier… maybe in October. It could work for any month but I love the idea of giving my students confidence in their reading abilities early in the school year.

You can grab the resource by clicking on one of the pictures below! As always, I love to hear from you whether it be in feedback on my TPT store or in the comments below. Thank you for your support! Happy Teaching!

Happy Teaching and Mommy-ing this week friends!

Author: hilarystatum

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