Brown Bear, Brown Bear

Storybook Song

This activity can be done with any number of children; with the whole nursery, in small key-worker groups, or with a single child. Because the story is sung to the tune of ‘Twinkle twinkle little star’ it is instantly safe and comforting to the children, and the familiarity of the melody makes it easier for them to engage with the activity of reading.

Regular story reading with children improves concentration, vocabulary, memory and sequencing; singing the stories is an approach that can be utilised to further embed these skills. Using well-known tunes to sing the stories can help children to remember the words with greater ease, in turn helping to accelerate and embed the learning.


Communication and Language

– Listening and attention

– Understanding

Preparation for Literacy

– Reading


– The story book ‘Brown Bear, Brown Bear’ by Bill Martin, Jr.

– Sufficient space to make a circle


Brown Bear, brown bear
what do you see?
I see a red bird
looking at me.

Red bird, red bird
what do you see?
I see a yellow duck
looking at me.

6-1 Brown Bear - Singing the Story

How to...
Step by step

1.Introduce the story to the group and sing it all the way through a few times, asking them to listen carefully to the words;

3.Sing it once more, this time stopping towards the end of each page and asking the group if they can remember what is on the next page. At the end of the story the rhythm changes slightly to allow for the additional lyrics. Listen to the recording below for an example:

6-2 Brown Bear - Alternative Rhythm

2.Sing it again, this time encouraging them to join in where they can, using the pictures as a memory prompt;

Extension & Development

1.Let the children take it in turns to be in charge of turning the pages. This will consolidate their memory and knowledge of the book, and also promote confidence and positive leadership;

4.Why not look at adapting other favourite stories and pairing them up with well-known songs? For example, The Gruffalo to the tune of ‘Down in the Jungle Where Nobody Goes’.

2.This song provides great scope for developing vocabulary and explaining and practising rhyming. When the children know the story and enjoy it, point out the repetitive rhymes (‘see’ and ‘me’) and see if they can spot them. Repeat this as many times as required;

3.Expand the children’s memories of the book into further nursery-based activities by encouraging them to draw the animals from the story in the colours they appear, for example blue horse;


Early Learning Goals

Activity Contribution to Goals

Communication and Language

Listening and attention


1. Children listen attentively in a range of situations;

2. They listen to stories, accurately anticipating key events and respond to what they hear with relevant comments,
questions or actions;

3. They give their attention to what others say and respond appropriately, while engaged in another activity.

Children get the opportunity to pre-empt the lyrics as they follow a repetitive structure, and over time, can learn all the lyrics.

Communication and Language



1. Children follow instructions involving several ideas oractions;

2. They answer ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions about their experiences and in response to stories or events.

The activity requires an understanding of several stages and sequences

Preparation for Literacy


1. Children read and understand simple sentences;

2. They use phonic knowledge to decode regular words and read them aloud accurately. They also read some
common irregular words;

3. They demonstrate understanding when talking with others about what they have read.

The repetitive structure of the book allows certain words to become well-known, making it easier to recognise them;

Wherever possible, the pictures are connected to the words within the book, and children are encouraged to point these out;

The group practise saying or singing repetitive words and sentences within the book, and try to say the first letters of the words repetitively as a group.