The Bear Next Door

Book:  The Bear Next Door

Author: Ida Luttrell

Age: Early Elementary, Elementary

Description: This early reader chapter book consists of 3 chapters depicting the relationship of a gopher and his new next door neighbor who is a bear. Gopher and bear learn how to be good neighbors and friends to each other, but have some bumps along the way.


  • Perspective Taking
  • Theory of Mind
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Social Language
  • Trickery

Why I like this book: For struggling readers, this is a great “chapter book” with pictures to break up the text.

Ideas for use:

  • A great story for perspective taking. Chapter 3 provides a perfect “theory of mind” opportunity. Help children understand what 1 characters knows, that the other doesn’t. Use thinking bubbles (cut out of paper, use a white board, etc.) above characters heads to discuss their thoughts and why. If this is really challenging, “act out” the story to help with understanding.
  • A great story for reading comprehension when you want somewhat lengthier level text. Read to children and follow up with comprehension questions. Can try with and without pictures support.
  • Have a discussion about how to be a good neighbor. What is important to think about? Chapter 1 would be a good example of how behavior affects others. Tie in with Michelle Garcia Winner’s Social Thinking © curriculum (, and use the Social Behavior Maps. What was “unexpected” that the Gopher did (i.e. put his sprinkler on right by Bear’s furniture), how that affected others (Bear’s furniture was wet, he was covered in mud, etc.), how that made Bear feel (frustrated), the conquences (Bear is angry, doesn’t want to spend time with Gopher, etc.), and the affects on Gopher himself (feels terrible).

Submitted by: Meghan G. Graham M.S. CCC-SLP

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