July 20, 2024


Education, What Else?

Reading Bear: Free Phonics and Vocab Lessons to Help Kids Learn to Read

3 min read
Reading Bear: Free Phonics and Vocab Lessons to Help Kids Learn to Read

Reading Bear, an educational project of WatchKnowLearn.org, helps kids develop reading and vocabulary skills through presentations, review activities, and quizzes. The site contains over 50 presentations (playable either as video or interactive slide show) covering different phonics principles. 

Reading Bear

Besides helping students learn to decode, Reading Bear also helps with developing reading comprehension skills using beautiful illustrations of over  1200 vocabulary items. Given its importance in helping kids and students develop their reading, I added it to the list of the best reading websites for kids and students.

As students go through their presentations, they are offered a wide variety of quizzes and review activities to help them test their knowledge and consolidate their learning. Quizzes are randomly generated and can be taken over a single presentation or over all presentations.

There are various ways Reading Bear can help you in your teaching. You can use it as a classroom supplement for phonics program to help students practice and further develop their decoding and comprehension skills. Reading Bear can also be used as a classroom supplement for a whole language program to help with the introduction of systematic phonics or as a resource for remedial work.

While kids of all ages can benefit from reading resources offered by Reading Bear, most of the materials provided in the site were designed with children ages 4-7 in mind. The site does not require registration to access its materials, however, registered members are able to track the progress of their presentations, see which parts they have watched and how many words mastered. Also, members are able to save their quiz scores. Teachers can create accounts for their students using the ‘sub-accounts’ feature.

Reading Bear

How does Reading Bear work?

The way Reading Bear works is simple: Each presentation tackles a number of phonics rules. ‘a word is sound out slowly and quickly, then blend it slowly, and finally (after an optional prompt) blend it quickly. As sounds are pronounced, the corresponding letters are highlighted.’ After this phonetic drill, a visual illustration of the word is presented followed by an explanatory video showcasing the usage of the concept or word in a sentence.

Reading Bear activities

Each presentation comes with seven choices. The first three choices constitute ‘intensive teaching’ modes and are :

  • 1. Sound it Out Slowly: This is ideal for students who have no clue what the phonics rule in question is about. Words are sounded out slowly so the learner can internalize their pronunciation.
  • 2. Sound it Quickly: This is the next stage after learners are familiarized with the phonics rules. Words are sounded in a faster way with no slow blending version.
  • 3. Let me Sound it Out: Now that students have practiced sounding the word and have become familiar with its pronunciation, they get to test their phonetic knowledge. Words are presented and students are asked to say them.

The other two presentations are especially useful for review activities. These are:

  • 4. Audio Flashcards: Students can use them to review the words in a passive way.
  • 5. Silent Flashcards: These are useful for self-quizzing. Students try sounding out words and if they fail they can click the cards to have them sounded out.

The final two presentations are useful for advanced readers. They contain vocabulary items and irregular words that  have not been introduced in the early stages of Reading Bear. These are:

  • 6. Audio sentences: Offers a ‘Karaoke’ style presentation where whole sentences are sounded out.
  • 7. Silent Sentences: This is useful as a review activity for students who ‘are ready to try to read whole sentences’.

How much does Reading Bear cost?

Reading Bear is free of charge and can work on both mobile and desktop versions.

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