Dr. Seuss and Supporting Emergent Literacy
Theodor Seuss Geisel was born on March 2, 1904, in Springfield, Massachusetts. He published his first children’s book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, under the name of Dr. Seuss in 1937. Dr. Seuss was an inspiration to emergent literacy. He created stories using rhymes and his characters are beloved by generations today.
Early language and literacy development begins in the first three years of life and is closely linked to a child’s earliest experiences with books and stories. Recent research has proven that early literacy skills start in early infancy. In fact, we now know that children gain knowledge of reading, writing and language long before they enter kindergarten (Schickedanz, 1999).
Creating a literacy routine at home can provide children with meaningful reading experience and an opportunity to strengthen their attachment with their parents or other family members. A literacy routine is the regular use of a variety of techniques to enhance children’s abilities to listen, to observe, to imitate and to develop their language, reading and writing skills. By giving children access to using print and to seeing literate role models, all children can learn the functions of print and develop emergent literacy.
Ways to Promote Reading at Home
- Let your children see you read for pleasure. Share new vocabulary words, quotes, characters, and the story with them. Compare similarities and differences between your book and the books your children are reading.
- Talk to your children about how your parents read to you or told you stories and share some of your favorites with them.
- Let your children see you write for pleasure. Send family letters together to relatives or friends. Let everyone in the family contribute a part or an illustration.
- When you’re riding in the car, tell your children a story about when you were little or tell them a story about something that happened at work that day. Leave off the ending and let them provide an ending.
- Have your children select three things they want to include in a story. Make up a story that includes those three things. For example, the selections might be a princess, a race car, and an ice cream cone. The children will love helping you find clever ways to include three things in the story.
- When you look up at the sky or pass a landmark, take turns making up a story to go with them. At night, look up at the stars make up a story about the “shooting stars”.
- Follow up these storytelling events with a trip to the library to explore folktales about people and places from our own country and other countries.
- Make a family book using family members as characters in the story. Let everyone in the family contribute a part of the family book or an illustration.
- Help your child start a home library and encourage your child to swap books with friends.
- Hold D.E.A.R. times at your house. D.E.A.R. stands for “Drop Everything and Read.” During D.E.A.R. time, everyone in the family sits down for some uninterrupted reading time.
Schickedanz, (1999). Much more than the ABCs: The early stages of reading and writing. Washington, DC: NAEYC