Dr. Seuss has always been one of my favorite authors. I’ve known it since I first began reading his books as a young child. I never knew exactly what was attracting me so much to Dr. Seuss, but as I grew, I gradually became to understand more and more of what makes Dr. Seuss so loveable. Now, as an educator, I have come to appreciate the educational value of Dr. Seuss even more, both for groups of students and for my own kids.
Here are a few of the many benefits to reading Dr. Seuss with your kids (if you make it through my theory, which I like to think is important, I’ve also provided multiple hands-on Dr. Seuss activity links below that you can use with your kids in conjunction with the books).
1. Dr. Seuss books make reading attractive. Some kids are naturally drawn into reading. Lots aren’t. But even the kids that aren’t instinctively attracted to staring at print on pages are somehow usually attracted to Dr. Seuss books. Why? The psychology is very appealing to kids – the story lines include the ordinary with the silly and ridiculous. This gives kids the security and confidence of finding things they relate to. At the same time, kids often love the ridiculous because their imaginations are so alive, and Dr. Seuss captivates their attention through this combination of the mundane with the ridiculous. But it doesn’t stop there. By captivating the child’s attention, Dr. Seuss books bring kids into the world of language and help them, even subconsciously learn more about language and its parts and elements (sounds, rhythm, word families, syllables…) as they excitedly read on about fish that do all sorts of crazy things, or meals containing green eggs and ham.
2. Moral Lesson. Kids might be mainly focused on the story line of Dr. Seuss books, but the stories are subtly teaching powerful lessons about morality and values. Adults and older children can realize this as they read Dr. Seuss; young children might not consciously understand it, but they are still being exposed to very power moral lessons. Think of the following quotes – so easy to remember in a rhythm, and so powerful in their message.
- “Today you are YOU, that’s TRUER than true.There is NO ONE alive who is YOUER than YOU!”
- “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
- “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.”
- “Why fit in when you were born to stand out?”
- “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”
- “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”
- “A person’s a person, no matter how small.”
3. Dr. Seuss makes us laugh. This is important. Even adults can laugh with their kids at Dr. Seuss books. This contributes to a relaxed environment, becomes a bonding moment that strengthens relationships, and makes learning FUN at the same time. And who doesn’t want learning to be fun whenever possible?
4. Dr. Seuss books provide excellent practice for reading aloud. Reading aloud is different than just “reading” – it takes a lot more than deciphering and comprehension. Reading aloud takes proper breathing and intonation, pausing and timing, expression, etc. Reading a Dr. Seuss book aloud helps your child with all of these skills.
5. Your kids (of different ages) can do it together. Have you noticed that EVERYONE seems to like Dr. Seuss? Age doesn’t matter. There’s something there for everyone. Even babies often get quiet and listen to Dr. Seuss because of the sing-songy rhythm. They hear the words and get introduced to language. Toddlers tap more into the humorous and imaginative side of Dr. Seuss and benefit greatly from learning sight words and expanding their vocabulary. Young children, as mentioned above, benefit in countless ways from using Dr. Seuss as they learn how to read, both silently and aloud. And older children/adults enjoy Dr. Seuss because of childhood memories, can appreciate the moral lessons more, and can use Dr. Seuss as an engaging tool to help teach and/or entertain younger siblings and children.
Do you want to bring more of Dr. Seuss into your home and your child’s learning experience? The Dr. Seuss and His Friends group has a special offer! Join now and get 5 Dr. Seuss books (you pick which ones) for less than $4, and get a free activity book into the bargain, all with free shipping. Introduce your kids to the wonders of Dr. Seuss, or surprise them by adding to the collection they already have!