Reading Together

Storybook Guide Based on Stella Blackstone’s “Bear in a Square”

Explore math while reading and talking about this storybook.

Topic:

Activity Summary

Use this storybook guide with the book “Bear in a Square.” Many public libraries have this book.

Reading guide

About the Story

Bear introduces different shapes on each page of the bilingual story, “Bear in a Square.” Whether he’s at home or in the park, there are squares, circles, and other shapes hidden in each scene. The number of shapes increases from one to 10, making this a good story to talk about both shapes and numbers.

On the left a bear waves through a window. There is also a cat and dog looking through two other windows on the right side. Illustration from “Bear in a Square.”

Words to Learn

SHAPES
square, heart, circle, rectangle, moon, diamond, zigzag, oval, star

OTHER WORDS
queen, pool, cave, crown, clown

About the Math

When talking about the different shapes, your child can learn:

  • Each shape has its own name, such as rectangle, oval, and circle.
  • Shapes have specific properties that make them different from other shapes. For example, a rectangle has four sides, but an oval has no sides.
  • We can recognize shapes that are of different sizes and in different positions. For example, if we turn a rectangle on its side, or every which way, it’s still a rectangle.
  • Shapes are all around us!
A bear swims on his back in a pool with two circular inflatable tubes. Illustration from “Bear in a Square.”

Math Talk During Reading

  • TALK ABOUT THE CHARACTERISTICS OF SHAPES
    How many sides does a square have? What about a star?
  • NOTICE THE DIFFERENCES AND SIMILARITIES BETWEEN SHAPES
    How do you know this is an oval? How is it different from a circle?
  • TALK ABOUT THE OTHER SHAPES IN THE PICTURE
    What other shapes do you see, besides the hearts?
  • PRACTICE COUNTING THE NUMBER OF SHAPES ON THE PAGE
    How many circles can you find?

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

Activity After Reading

  • FIND SHAPES AROUND THE HOUSE OR ALMOST ANYWHERE ELSE
    Let’s look around. Do you see any triangles? What do you notice about this one? Why is it a triangle?
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