Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? Retell Literacy Center Activity


Create your own Polar Bear retelling activity with this free download for kindergarten.

This is how I created a Polar Bear Polar Bear What Do You Hear retell activity to go in our retell center as a storytelling option for my kindergarten students.

Let me show you what’s in our set and give you the materials to make it happen in your classroom too.

It’s one of my favorite literacy centers and we usually introduce Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? in the fall. I like using this book when my students are already familiar with the similar book, Brown Bear.

They read they act, they use lots of great vocabulary and are developing fantastic reading habits all while continuing to build their love of reading.

My kinders get to choose the book(s) they want to retell while they are at this literacy center. This one is usually a favorite.

What’s in my retell set

Here are the props I gathered rather inexpensively (and you can too) to bring the book alive once we knew it by heart.

I printed a set of clipart from an online site and added a square of velcro to the back. I wanted to focus on sequencing and looking at chunks of words in the animal sounds, and make it less about the “re-enacting.”

I created a large laminated poster with velcro spots for each of the animals. It folds up to go in the basket with the retell items when done.

*As a side note, the beanie babies were donated but I know you can sometimes find some at a garage sale or choose plastic kinds from dollar stores!

How to make your own Polar Bear Polar Bear retell activity

If you plan to make this a year-long literacy center, I highly recommend that you read the Retell Literacy Center Directions for more details and making everything run smooth.

Because you can make this kindergarten activity yourself and once you and your students are hooked on retelling you’ll want to make this a year-long thing.

Here are the materials you’ll need… (may include affiliate book links to Amazon)


What to do

Take your book copy and your animals from the book and place them together. A container like an open basket, a book bin or a large Ziploc bag will work!

If you don’t want to create a poster with velcro, like I did, you can create animal puppets with popsicle sticks or cut a pop bottle-sized hole in the bottom to slide their fingers into to make ring-finger puppets.

We liked to keep a blanket nearby these materials so that they could create a theater-like puppet stage to sit behind.

But all they need to do is have the book and the materials and use the props to tell as much as they can:

  • about the story
  • from the story
  • with the story (following along)

Encourage kinders to use as many words from the text as they can remember. With a patterned story like this one, it’s pretty easy, especially if you read this story multiple times before you release it to your students.


There you have it – how to make a Polar Bear retell activity for your class. I love that it doesn’t require much to get it done. {wink}

If you like this activity, check out this list of 20 more famous stories that are great for retelling in kindergarten. Most of them are just as simple to pull together and I’ve found all of the downloadable resources for you.

Other books that are great for retelling in kindergarten


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