Share Bears is a parent & child programme designed to engage disadvantaged families in reading together for pleasure, and to help teach early literacy skills. So far the programme has been trialled in three different primary schools in Year R, with more than 40 families completing the programme so far.
Each week, children and families are given a story sack, that contains a book for the week. Books have been carefully selected from lists of recommended stories for young children.
Within the story sack, parents are given a booklet containing questions about the story that can be asked verbally. Question styles match the foci from the National Curriculum (Content Domains). The programme leader models and explains the question types to parents (such as inference or prediction) and highlights discussion points within the story, prior to children joining the session.
Parent & child read, enjoy and explore the story together within the session, supported by the question prompts and programme leader. Afterwards, there is an art activity based on the book for the family to complete together (pre modelled).
Children are then given the book to take home in their story sack, to read to their ‘Share Bear’ (teddies given out at the start of the programme) and families, with ‘at home’ tasks to complete, around the topic. These include ideas for crafts, role play, and further reading, as well as word searches, colouring and curriculum based activities.
In Week 3, we read ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ by Eric Carle . Check out our fabulous paper chain caterpillars! We had a competition to see who could make the longest caterpillar! The winning caterpillar had 67 links in the chain! Share Bears was featured in ‘Lifestories’ magazine by Save the Children, highlighting how the programme has had impact on families within the Southampton community.
Most children are familiar with Julia Donaldson’s ‘Gruffalo’, but not all of our families had heard of ‘The Gruffalo’s Child!’ We enjoyed exploring the story together, highlighting the use of rhyme in the story.
Families then created their own Gruffalo bags using craft materials to take on their own adventures!
Rumble in the Jungle, by Giles Andreae (of Commotion in the Ocean fame) was less well known to our parents and children before the programme. Families explored the use of rhyme in this book to help tell the story, and we learned lots about different jungle animals on the way.
Children created their own lion masks using coloured card and lollipop sticks as the art activity for the session.
We got messy again this week, using finger painting to represent the different animals within the zoo! Although the book is an ‘easy’ read for parents and children, thought provoking and inference questions were used to create good discussion between families and the group.
We made some stunning crowns to be our own princes and princesses whilst reading ‘I Want My Potty!’ This was a great text to use with Year R children who were starting to read confidently by themselves.
The home activities with this book linked well to developing early numeracy skills.
After exploring Janet and Allan Ahlberg’s ‘Funnybones’ together, children used cotton buds on black card to make skeletons! Luckily their skeletons were very smiley!
A personal favourite from my own childhood- it was great to share this story with a new generation. Many parents remembered the story themselves (and the television show from the 90’s!) This was a great choice of text for parents to read aloud to their children – after discussing together how to focus on the repetition of words and how to build suspense.