Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, got his start in 1937 when he published his first book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, the first of many whimsical stories that continue to engage readers of all ages.
Dr. Seuss is best known for his imaginative writing style; a combination of playfulness and lyricism along with curvy and quirky illustrations, his stories helped eradicate those stale, dull primers that were used for so many years. He had a knack for making non-sense a reality and tapped into children’s already active imaginations.
Inspired by essays written about childhood learning, Dr. Seuss wrote to promote reading for all. Creating easy and memorable rhyming words, silly characters and entertaining plots, his stories appeal to many interests and have been inspiration for many writers. Exposing children to fun print at an early age encourages them to find other materials to read. 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.
The best way to expose children to print and reading materials is for them to be read to! Finding 10-15 minutes a day to spend reading with your child will have a great impact on not just their reading skills, but their social and cognitive skills as well. Hearing you read words off a page will help make the connection that each letter makes a sound, and that written words convey meaning.
Although Dr. Seuss’s books were mostly non-sense and fantasy based, connections to his stories can still be made. While reading his books to your children, along with reading aloud, you can also ‘Think Aloud’ to model how to make connections while reading. Helping children find and make connections to stories and book requires them to relate the unfamiliar text to their relevant prior knowledge. There are several comprehension strategies that help children become knowledgeable readers. Three are:
Helping children discover these connections requires planning and modeling. Parents and teachers can support thinking, listening and discussion while modeling “think-alouds” which reveal the inner conversation readers have when they read.
So, pick up your favorite Dr. Seuss story, activate your imagination, and read with your child today! Have fun, and happy reading!
Keene & Zimmermann 1997