Reading Together

Storybook guide Based on Shirley Parenteau and David Walker’s “Bears on Chairs”

Explore math while reading and talking about this storybook.

Topic:

Activity Summary

Use this storybook guide with the book “Bears on Chairs.”
Many public libraries have this book.

Reading guide

About the Story

 Four small bears fit perfectly, each sitting on one of four small chairs—that is, until Big Brown Bear shows up! Can Big Brown Bear share a chair with one small bear? Not quite. Big Brown Bear feels left out without a chair of its own! But the four small bears are clever and work together to find a way for all five bears to share the four chairs. This is a charming book with rhymes that young children will enjoy.

Words to Learn

NUMBER WORDS
one, two, three, four, five, more, each, second, last, pair, share, fair, whole, double

SPATIAL AND SIZE WORDS
small, big, long, beside, near, off, up

About the Math

This story is about counting, number comparisons, fair sharing, and size relationships. While reading, children can learn:

  • To count and compare the number of bears and chairs: Each bear needs one chair. When there are five bears, there are more bears than chairs!
  • To name the ordinal positions of the chairs, such as the first chair.
  • Size relationships: Big Brown Bear is taller and wider than the small bears. A small chair can’t fit Big Brown Bear, but four chairs together are long enough to fit all five bears.
  • Fair sharing: How the five bears can share four chairs, and then each bear will have slightly less than one full chair.

Math Talk During Reading

  • COUNT AND COMPARE THE NUMBER OF BEARS AND CHAIRS
    “Are there the same number of bears and chairs? Does each bear have its own chair? How many chairs would you need so every bear has its own chair?”
  • NOTICE THE ORDER OF CHAIRS
    “When Calico Bear moves its chair to the end, which chair is first and which is last?”
  • EXPLORE SIZE RELATIONSHIPS 
    “Which bear is the tallest? Are the chairs wider than the bears? What size chair does Big Brown Bear need?”

Try to come up with some of your own questions and comments, too!

Activity After Reading

  • SHARING FOOD
    Make pretend food, such as a sandwich, out of playdough. Tell children, “If you want to share your ‘sandwich’ with a friend, how would you split it so you both get the same amount?” Then practice sharing with three or more friends.