Teaching Reading with a Polar Bear Theme – Differentiated, and Leveled Instruction and a FREEBIE

Hi everyone!  We are in the middle of a blogpost series in which we are sharing coordinated, differentiated, and leveled reading resources for themes you may be teaching this season.  This time, we are sharing resources for Polar Bears.  So, if you are teaching Polar Bears or Polar Animals, you will definitely want to check out these resources.

Here are two great books for your whole-group, instructional readaloud time,  Polar Bears by Jacqueline S. Cotton is a non-fiction book, and The Polar Bear Son by Lydia Dabcovich is a fictional folktale.  They are perfect for teaching the following CCSS:
RI and RL 2 – Identify the main topic/main idea and key
RI 3 – Describe the connection between two…ideas or pieces
of information in a text.
RI 4 – Determine the meaning of words and phrases in a grade
level text on a relevant topic or subject.
RI 5 – Know and use various text features to locate  key facts or information
RI 6 – Distiguish between information provided by
pictures…and information provided by words in a text.  Identify the main purpose of a text, including
what the author wants to answer, explain, or describe.
RI 7 – Use illustrations and details in texts to describe
its key ideas.  Explain how specific
images contribute to and clarify a text.
These texts are wonderful mentor texts to add to your resources.  You can build schema, model reading and thinking strategies, teach vocabulary and teach the CCSS all at the same time.
Then, when you move to your small group teaching, you can use these Polar Bear, Polar Bear non-fiction, leveled passages for guided reading practice.  This set includes passages for levels A – I, and Text-Dependent and Thinking Questions for responses to reading.  It also includes high-frequency word cards for each passage, and vocabulary cards, vocabulary learning activities, and vocabulary assessment slips as well.  Even better, the vocabulary used in the leveled passages is also found in the instructional readalouds listed above.  So, you can use the vocabulary activities and cards to teach the vocabulary to the class in whole-group teaching, then they can practice it in their leveled passages during guided reading time.  You can check out the leveled passages here.  We use the passages in guided reading groups for several days.  We believe in teaching our students close reading, so we may spend a whole week on the passage, each time re-reading for a different purpose.  Teachers often tell us that they use the leveled passages for partner practice and for sending home for extra reading practice, too.
To accelerate your students reading improvement, you can also start them at their “independent level passage,” then move them to the next level up, and after several practices with that, they can move up even another level.  We use the passages this way to help our students get “over the hump” at one level, and to rev up the rate at which they can read increasingly more difficult levels.  When doing this, it is important that they reread each level several times before they move up to the next level. There are so many ways to incorporate these passages into your reading instruction.
And now….howzabout that FREEBIE?  We have a polar bear book response activity for you here.
Two versions are included.  One is for a retell of a fiction readaloud such as The Polar Bear Son, and one is for writing facts learned in a non-fiction book such as Polar Bears.
So there you go!  Themed, coordinated, differentiated and leveled instructional reading resources for your Polar Bear Theme.
Stay tuned for more Themed Coordinated, Differentiated and Leveled resources next week!  And of course we will have another FREEBIE.
Happy Teaching!

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