Literacy experience plan: Brown bear brown bear

In this book reading experience, a dual language version of Brown bear brown bear is used as a platform to teach children how to draw meaning from texts whilst supporting their understanding and appreciation of linguistic diversity.

This experience can be easily adapted using other dual language books. This experience should be differentiated depending on the individual child/group level.

This learning experience plan relates to:

  • emergent literacy
  • early language user (12-36 months)
  • learning focus: making meaning and expressing ideas through texts
  • teaching practice: reading with children.

Collect information

What information has been gathered as evidence to inform this experience?

Links to VEYLDF

Outcome 4: identity

Children develop knowledgeable and confident self-identities

  • Develop strong foundations in both the culture and language/s of their family and the broader community without compromising their cultural identities.

Outcome 5: communication

Children engage with a range of texts and get meaning from these texts

  • Actively use, engage with and share the enjoyment of language and texts in a range of ways.

Victorian curriculum levels F-2: language

  • Explore the different contribution of words and images to meaning in stories and informative texts

Learning intentions

  • To develop children’s ability to understand the language associated with the text (for example word meanings and grammar).
  • To develop children’s ability to gain meaning from texts through visual information.

Assessment of learning

Learning is demonstrated when children:

  • make comments, respond to questions, make predictions, repeat or retell parts of the text (immediately or after the experience) for example “It’s a red bird!”; they may also say key words in Arabic/other language.
  • attend to and draw meaning from pictures/print within the book, for example they point to a picture and label it “blue horse”.


  • Brown Bear Brown Bear in Arabic and English by Bill Martin

Note: languages should be chosen based on the languages of the children in the group.

Group size(s)

Medium sized group, small groups (two-five children) or with individual children.


Differentiation should be based on prior assessment of the child/children’s communication skills. Examples of differentiation:

  • For a child who is non-verbal, the educator could use matching props alongside the book and provide opportunities for this child to be involved by finding the animal and sticking it onto a large picture board.
  • For a child who is bilingual (in English and Arabic in this instance) educators could encourage this child to teach his/her peers some key words in Arabic from the text.

Experience process

If possible, invite an Arabic speaking parent or family member to join the book reading experience or discuss with them prior to ensure familiarity with key vocabulary.

  1. Clearly introduce the book reading experience:
    • show the children the book and explain there are two languages in the book. Educators could say: “This book; Brown Bear Brown Bear is in two languages, English and Arabic”, pointing to the relevant print as this is said.
    • talk about the diverse range of languages spoken in the room as relevant to the group. Educators could say; “We have lots of languages in this room…..Angus speaks English, Hamza speaks Arabic and Joel speaks Mandarin”. Allow time for the children to comment or question before starting the book.
  2. Commence the book reading process, incorporating the following teaching strategies throughout:
    • ask questions of the children such as “what’s this? what do you see? what will the bear see next?”
    • encourage the children to comment, question and use their bodies to communicate throughout the process.
    • point to the pictures and the print (both Arabic and English) as pages are read, and label the languages as this is done.
    • make links to children’s prior learning and/or relate to the children’s lives, for example “Does that look like Snowy Joel?”
    • expand on children’s utterances throughout, for example if a child says “cat” the educator could say “yes, a purple cat”.
    • if possible, model some key Arabic words alongside the English words and encourage the children to repeat some words. Label the languages as you do this, for example “this is an Arabic word and this is English”.
    • invite the children to join in by using incomplete sentences, for example “Brown bear brown bear what do…… (you see)?
  3. To consolidate and assess understanding at the end of the book, see if the children can recall some of the various coloured animals that they saw and elaborate on children’s comments as this is done. Ask questions such as, “Who was at the end of the book?” or “What was the yellow animal?

Going further

This experience can be followed up by creating simple songs and chants using the repetitive language from the text. Visuals such as puppets, toy animals or pictures can be incorporated to enhance participation and engagement, and to support transitions, for example “Xavier Xavier who do you see? I see Sophie looking at me” (Sophie then transitions from one context to another).

Setting up a table with the above props along with the book may also be a way to further support children’s ability to retell parts of the text. This will in turn deepen children’s understanding of the text through play.


Reflective questions for educators may include:

  • What learning has occurred? How do you know?
  • What have you realised about the child’s interests, knowledge, and capabilities?
  • In discussion with colleagues, what would you plan next to consolidate or extend children’s learning?

Additional/alternate resources for this learning experience

  • Handa’s Surprise in Arabic and English by Eileen Browne
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar in Arabic and English by Eric Carle.

Related learning experience plans

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