After finding a fantastic older readers subscription box from Tales By Mail, we went on the search for the perfect box for Elsa to enjoy. One that she could get equally excited for.
For anyone reading this that has just stumbled across my blog post, Elsa is six years old and is diagnosed with Selective Mutism. This can make learning at school a little bit tricky as she struggles to find the confidence to speak to her teachers sometimes. This has resulted in her being a tiny bit behind compared to her peers.
Elsa was also the hardest student for me to teach during the lockdown. I just could not get her engaged with any of the learning but most specifically the reading and phonics side of things.
Basically, what I’m trying to say is Elsa is a little complicated and finding the perfect subscription box to get her enthused was going to be an interesting task.
What’s it all about?
Cue The Bear Can Read. I’ve seen this subscription box all over Instagram, I was excited for it to arrive and find out what it was all about. The subscription boxes cost £19.99 a month with free delivery within the UK. It also comes in a box that should be able to fit through normal letterboxes, ours has an anti-theft thing on the inside so we did have to answer the door for the delivery – oops!
It’s a personalised bundle to support school phonics at home and it was founded by Camilla, who could see that her daughter was struggling with her reading. I love the idea of a normal Mum finding inspiration to create something that will help transform the reading experience for children.
The Bear Can Read is linked to the phonics progression used in school for children aged 2-years to about 7-years old, or nursery to Year 2 in school. When you first sign up they give you a suggested reading level based on your child’s age, but you can easily change this at the time of subscribing or as your child progresses.
Elsa is reading a little behind the suggested age of the box we had been given, so definitely speak to your child’s school before starting the subscription so that you continue to keep things fun and engaging for kiddies!
What’s inside the box?
Our box was a special Easter themed box so the usual boxes may differ slightly. Usually, the bundle comes with three of the latest phonics books each month including Oxford University Press. Elsa got to enjoy a brightly coloured Easter book and another about the lifecycle of a caterpillar which came at the perfect time because we have been enjoying raising caterpillars to butterflies at home.
The bundle comes with phonics worksheets and activities that are matched to your child’s stage of reading. Elsa had an Egg trace lines to help with pencil control practice, a butterfly lifecycle to practice scissor skills, a sequencing sheet for growing a sunflower, butterfly pairs and springtime walkabout colouring sheets, and an instruction sheet on how to make a flower with lollipop sticks. The bundle came with some coloured paper and lollipop sticks to help you make your flowers.
Each bundle comes with spotlight cards that show what skills they have learned and to help develop them further. I love that it has some helpful hints for parents to help ignite learning through normal daily life.
Elsa received two phonics cards with her Easter weekend The Bear Can Read box, these phonics cards each month. They have the letter on one side with the handy tracing lines to help guide your child to writing independently. On the back of the cards is a picture relating to the letter.
I quite like the reward/progress chart poster. It has a trail of pawprints and comes with a sheet of stickers to use for it too. This is to use as a way of celebrating each time they spend time reading and a fresh sheet comes with each box. Elsa loved the bookmark that was included too with little reading prompts – we never seem to have a bookmark anywhere in this house!
A bit of a weird thing to be pleased about, but all of these bits and bobs come in a clear press-lock bag. Perfect for storing it all in and not losing any of it. I love a bit of organisation. We also received a freebie children’s tea to try out – I must do that!
Do we like The Bear Can Read?
Elsa was so excited to see a box arrive with her name on it. It says “A special delivery for Elsa” or your child’s name of course. This makes it automatically feel special and grown-up for a child. As I said earlier, Elsa has been reluctant to read out loud to me, however, since returning to school after the most recent school closures she has found a new passion for reading.
She could not wait to open up her box and find out what was inside. Firstly, she was drawn to the brightly coloured Easter book with flaps. It was very enticing. This was definitely too tricky for her to read by herself so we spent some time exploring it together before getting started on any of the worksheets.
I can’t comment on how the normal box would be, but the worksheets were fun and engaging. The tasks were short so that helped keep her attention focused.
Elsa’s reading stage for her The Bear Can Read definitely needs to be adjusted so she did find the phonics book quite tricky. This didn’t change her excitement for getting involved in the books though but I will need to amend the stage online so that she can progress independently with her next box.
Our final thoughts
We have really enjoyed exploring The Bear Can Read and I would love to get a subscription for Elsa to help keep her engaged in her reading experience. I’m a little sad at the price though, £19.99 per month is quite steep for what is included.
I’m a sucker for colourful and engaging things though! I wish you could have seen Elsa’s reaction to receiving this box and getting involved in the worksheets. She can be a tricky child and anything that has the ability to get her reading, certainly has my vote. I can see how these boxes are brilliant at introducing phonics and independent reading for children of a young age, supporting them with their at school learning too.
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.