About the Book
Text Type: Nonfiction/Informational
Page Count: 16
Word Count: 1,171
Bears is a book about the eight different types of these powerful animals found around the world, including polar bears, brown (grizzly) bears, giant pandas, sloth bears, and spectacled bears. Sections are dedicated to informing readers about cub rearing, bear survival, and where in the world each species lives. Photographs and maps support the text.
About the Lesson
Targeted Reading Strategy
- Use the reading strategy of summarizing to understand text
- Identify details to compare and contrast different types of bears
- Identify and use hyphenated compound adjectives
- Identify the meaning of and use suffix -est
- Book -- Bears (copy for each student)
- Chalkboard or dry erase board
- Index cards, world map
- Compare and contrast, hyphenated compound adjectives, suffix -est worksheets
- Discussion cards
Indicates an opportunity for students to mark in the book. (All activities may be completed with paper and pencil if books are reused.)
- Content words: biologists, carnivore, comparative, conservationists, diverse, exclusively, extinction, hibernating, muzzle, omnivores, solitary, spectacled
- Show students photos of different types of bears, for example: polar bears, giant pandas, grizzly bears, and Asiatic black bears. Ask them to describe what they see in the photos, comparing and contrasting the bears' physical characteristics.
- Post the world map and ask students to tell what they know about the continents where each bear lives. Have students write the names of bears on sticky notes and post them on the continent where they think each bear is found. Keep the map posted for later reference.
Preview the Book
Introduce the Book
- Give students their copy of the book. Guide them to the front and back covers and read the title. Have students discuss what they see on the covers. Encourage them to offer ideas as to what type of book it is (genre, text type, fiction or nonfiction, and so on) and what it might be about.
- Show students the title page. Discuss the information on the page (title of book, author's name).
- Ask students to turn to the table of contents. Remind them that the table of contents provides an overview of what the book is about. Ask students what they expect to read about in the book based on what they see in the table of contents. (Accept all answers that students can justify.)
Introduce the Reading Strategy: Summarize
- Explain to students that one way to understand and remember information in a book is to write a summary, or a brief overview, of the most important information in a section. Point out that a summary often answers the questions who, what, when, where, and why.
- Create a chart on the board with the headings Who, What, When, Where, and Why. Read page 4 aloud to students and model summarizing.
Think-aloud: To summarize, I need to decide which information is the most important to remember in a section. To do this, I can consider who and what the section is about, what happens, and when and why it happens. Then I can organize that information into a few sentences. This section is mostly about bears and hibernation. The author explains that bears are intelligent, curious, powerful animals that are known for hibernating, or sleeping, often for months at a time. I will write intelligent, curious, powerful animals under the heading Who, and known for hibernating for months under the heading What. Bears hibernate to survive the cold winter when food is scarce. I will write to survive the cold and when food is scarce under the heading Why. Bears that live in warmer climates where food is plentiful year-round do not hibernate. I will write hibernate in cold climates and don't hibernate in warm climates under the heading Where. When I organize all of this information, a summary of page 4 might be: Bears are intelligent, curious, powerful animals that are known for hibernating. Bears that live in warm climates where food is plentiful year-round do not need to hibernate. Those that live in cold climates eat enough food during the warm months to sleep through the cold months.
- Write the summary on the board. Discuss how you used the information in the chart, along with your own words, to create the summary.
- As students read, encourage them to use other reading strategies in addition to the targeted strategy presented in this section. For tips on additional reading strategies, click here.
Introduce the Comprehension Skill: Compare and contrast
- Explain that one way to understand concepts in a book is to tell how the information is similar and different.
- Cut out pages 6, 7, and 9 from an extra copy of the book and point out to students the polar bear and the giant panda. Model how to compare and contrast using clues from the photos.
Think-aloud: In these photos, I see a polar bear and a giant panda. I see that some things about them are the same and some things are different. I notice that the giant panda is smaller than the polar bear. The polar bear has white fur, while the giant panda has both white and black fur. However, I know that both are bears and both have fur.
- Model how to compare and contrast information using a Venn diagram. Draw a Venn diagram on the board. Label the left circle Polar Bears and the right circle Giant Pandas. Explain that information telling how a polar bear and a panda are similar is written where the circles overlap. Information that is only true of a polar bear is written in the left side of the left circle. Information that is only true of a giant panda is written in the right side of the right circle.
- Have students identify other similarities and differences between polar bears and giant pandas. Add this information to the Venn diagram.
Introduce the Vocabulary
- Write the following words on the board: Alaska, Asia, China, India, North America, North Pole, and South America. Read each word aloud with students. Ask them to share what they know about each location.
- Show students a world map. Locate and label each place on the map.
- Write the following vocabulary words on the board and on index cards: American black bear, Asiatic black bear, brown (grizzly) bear, giant panda, polar bear, sloth bear, spectacled bear, and sun bear. Read each type of bear aloud with students. Ask them to share what they know about each type of bear. Explain to students that these phrases name different types of bears from around the world. Match each index card to a location labeled on the world map.
- For tips on teaching word-attack strategies, click here.
Set the Purpose
- Have students read the book to find out more about different bears around the world. Remind them to answer the questions who, what, when, where, and why in their mind after reading each section.
- Guide the reading: Have students read to the end of page 8. Encourage those who finish before others to reread the text.
- Model summarizing important information in the second section, "Growing Up."
Think-aloud: I made sure to stop reading after the second section to summarize what I'd read so far. First, I thought about the information that answers the questions who, what, when, where, and why. Then, in my mind, I organized the important information into a few sentences. In this section, the author explains that adult bears are solitary, except during the mating season and when mothers care for their cubs. I will underline solitary, except mating, and mothers care for their cubs in the book. Bear cubs are very small, blind, and helpless at birth. They stay with their mother for up to three years. Male bears do not help raise the cubs. I will also underline this information in the book. Based on what I underlined, a summary of the section might be: Bears are solitary, except during mating season or when mothers are caring for their cubs. When the cubs are born, they are small, blind, and helpless. Males do not help raise the cubs, which stay with their mother for up to three years.
- Have students turn to page 6. Have them work with a partner to underline important information in the book about kinds of bears. Remind them to answer the questions who, what, when, where, and why. Point out that not every section will supply answers to all five questions. When students have finished, create a summary as a class. (Polar bears are the largest type of bears, weighing up to 700 pounds, while sun bears are the smallest type, weighing up to only 80 pounds. There are eight different types of bears, also including American black bears, Asiatic black bears, brown (grizzly) bears, giant pandas, sloth bears, and spectacled bears.)
- Review with students the underlined information they marked in their book as they read pages 7 and 8 about polar and brown bears. Discuss similarities and differences between these two types of bears (similarities: bears, eat fish, found in Alaska; differences: polar bears eat mostly seals and walruses, brown bears eat an extremely varied diet). Write this information in a Venn diagram on the board.
Check for understanding: Have students read to the end of page 12 and underline important information about each type of bear. Invite them to share the information they underlined. Divide students into pairs. Assign each pair one of the following sections: "Giant Pandas," "American Black Bears," Asiatic Black Bears," or "Spectacled Bears." Have students create an oral summary of their section with their partner. Invite pairs to share their summaries.
- Have students work with a partner to compare and contrast brown bears and giant pandas, and write the information on a Venn diagram on a separate piece of paper. Discuss their responses.
- Have students read the remainder of the book. Remind them to answer the questions who, what, when, where, and why in their mind after reading each section.
Have students make a question mark in their book beside any word they do not understand or cannot pronounce. Encourage them to use the strategies they have learned to read each word and figure out its meaning.
- Ask students what words, if any, they marked in their book. Use this opportunity to model how they can read these words using decoding skills and context clues.
Reflect on the Reading Strategy
Divide students into small groups. Have each group discuss and underline important information in the section "Sun Bears." Have them use the information to write a summary of the section. When students have finished, share and discuss their summaries aloud.
- Think-aloud: I know that summarizing keeps me actively involved in what I'm reading and helps me understand and remember what I've read. I know that I will remember more about the many different kinds of bears because I summarized as I read the book.
- Ask students to explain or show how the strategy of summarizing helped them understand and remember the information in the book.
Reflect on the Comprehension Skill
- Discussion: Review with students the similarities and differences between brown bears and giant pandas. Discuss how the information is organized on the Venn diagram.
- Have students provide examples of how American black bears and Asiatic black bears are alike and different. Write this information on a Venn diagram on the board.
- Independent practice: Introduce, explain, and have students complete the compare and contrast worksheet by comparing spectacled bears with another kind of bear in the book. If time allows, discuss their answers.
- Enduring understanding: In this book, you learned about eight different kinds of bears. Although bears seem to be abundant in many different parts of the world, some are reaching threatened or endangered status. Now that you know this information, what does this tell you about the need to protect these animals? What do you think you can do to help?
Grammar and Mechanics: Hyphenated compound adjectives
- Review or explain that adjectives are words that describe nouns or pronouns. An adjective tells which one, how many, or what kind.
- Write the following sentence on the board: This small bear has a long, shaggy coat. Have individual students come to the board and circle the adjectives in the sentence (small, long, shaggy). Then have them underline the noun that each adjective describes (bear, coat).
- Tell students that some adjectives are hyphenated and that they are called hyphenated compound adjectives. Write the following sentence on the board: The polar bear is the largest land-dwelling carnivore on Earth. Circle the noun carnivore. Have a volunteer come to the board and underline the words that describe the noun (land-dwelling). Explain to students that these two words are an example of a hyphenated compound adjective. Explain that in a hyphenated compound adjective, neither adjective alone accurately describes the noun.
- Check for understanding: Have students work with a partner to identify and circle all the hyphenated compound adjectives on pages 8 and 11. Then have them circle the noun that each adjective describes. When students have finished, discuss their answers.
- Independent practice: Introduce, explain, and have students complete the hyphenated compound adjectives worksheet. Discuss answers aloud when students have finished working.
Word Work: Suffix -est
- Write the following sentence on the board: The largest bear is the polar bear. Point out the word largest. Discuss with students the meaning of the word.
- Erase the suffix -est from the end of the word and create the root word large. Discuss with students how the meaning of the word changed. Write the suffix -est on the board and discuss its meaning (most).
- Write the following sentence on the board: The biggest task for a cub is to learn how to find food. Point out the word biggest. Ask students to explain the meaning of the word.
- Erase the suffix -est from the end of the word to write the root word big. Ask students to explain how the meaning of the word changed. Point out that the consonant g was doubled before adding the suffix -est.
- Check for understanding: Write the word small on the board. Have students identify the meaning of the root word. Then have them add the suffix -est to the word (smallest). Have students identify how the meaning of the word changed.
- Independent practice: Introduce, explain, and have students complete the suffix -est worksheet. Discuss answers aloud when students have finished working.
- Allow students to read their book independently. Additionally, allow partners to take turns reading parts of the book to each other.
- Give students their book to take home to read with parents, caregivers, siblings, or friends. Have them discuss with someone at home how to summarize as they read.
Extend the Reading
Informational Writing Connection
Have students choose one of the eight types of bears to learn more about. Provide print and Internet resources for them to research their chosen bear. Have them write about the bear's habitat, life cycle, diet, whether it is endangered, and any other interesting facts they may find. If time allows, invite them to illustrate a cover for their report and read the report aloud to the class.
Visit Writing AZ for a lesson and leveled materials on informational report writing.
Social Studies Connection
Give students a blank copy of a world map and have them identify and label the states, countries, and continents mentioned in the book: Alaska, Asia, Canada, China, Europe, Greenland, India, Mexico, North America, North Pole, South America, and Sri Lanka. Next, have them write the name of the bear(s) that can be found in each region next to the name of its geographic location.
Discussion cards covering comprehension skills and strategies not explicitly taught with the book are provided as an extension activity. The following is a list of some ways these cards can be used with students:
- Use as discussion starters for literature circles.
- Have students choose one or more card and write a response, either as an essay or a journal entry.
- Distribute before reading the book and have students use one of the questions as a purpose for reading.
- Cut apart and use the cards as game cards with a board game.
- Conduct a class discussion as a review before the book quiz.
Monitor students to determine if they can:
- accurately use details from the text to create section summaries during discussion and on a separate piece of paper
- compare and contrast nonfiction details within the text during discussion and on a worksheet
- identify compound adjectives with hyphens used in the text during discussion and on a worksheet
- correctly identify the meaning of and use suffix -est during discussion and on a worksheet
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