I have fond memories of reading Dr. Seuss as a child. I vividly recall reading the “Green Eggs and Ham”with my aunt and giggling at the silliness. Sadly, I don’t recall reading many other books as a child, although I’m sure I read them. Over the years I have met with concerned parents that were unsure if the “nonsense” language in Dr. Seuss books would harm their child’s language development. I understood their concerns and shared with them some reasons why reading Dr. Seuss books with their child can be beneficial.
Why Read Dr. Seuss Books?
Do I LOVE Dr. Seuss books? No. The truth is there are many books that I have read to kids that I didn’t love. However, there are decades of research that show that the more children read, the better their reading skills. As an educator it is my job to get kids to love books, so they are motivated to read. I believe that exposing kids to different authors and styles helps them choose their favorites. Dr. Seuss books are just some of the MANY books I read to kids.
7 Reasons to Read Dr. Seuss
- Silliness Abounds- Dr. Seuss books capture a child’s attention and make kids laugh. Whether it’s the nonsense language, the unexpected stories or the colorful illustrations, silliness abounds. Many kids enjoy hearing Dr. Seuss stories because they think they are funny. What young child doesn’t enjoy something silly? Hearing adults reading silliness helps them see that reading is fun! The books are perfect for those of us that sometimes are too serious. Reading Dr. Seuss books with a child will give you ticket to “get your silly on”!
- Illustrations – The unique and imaginative illustrations help build a child’s vocabulary. The simple color palette of blue, red, white and black also make the pictures recognizable and easy to understand and remember.
- Great Read-Aloud Books – Dr. Seuss books sound great when read aloud. The stories are just made for facial expressions and different voice inflections. You just can’t help doing it when reading one of his stories.
- Rhyme – Early readers need to understand that words are made up of different sounds and the manipulation of these sounds creates words. Hearing rhymes helps kids hear similar sounds. The rhymes included in the books is also a great exposure to poetry.
- Nonsense Words Are Important – Dr. Seuss books include lots of nonsense words to keep kids engaged in the story. Nonsense words deliberately draw attention to rhyme and helps develop a child’s “phonological awareness”. Phonological awareness is a basis for reading. A child with phonological awareness skills can manipulate sounds or words, or “play” with sounds or words. By engaging in word play, children learn to recognize patterns among words and use this knowledge to read and build words.
- Sight Words Included – Sight words are words that are used commonly throughout texts we read every day. Dr. Seuss books give children experience in seeing these words in texts and helps them commit them to memory.
- “Reading” Become Easy – Many of Dr. Seuss’ book use simple words chosen for a beginner reader. Along with the rhyming and repetition it helps early readers remember the words and become “readers” quite quickly. This type of “reading” helps build their confidence and motivates a child to read.
What Am I Doing on Dr. Seuss Day?
I’m grabbing my big red and white hat (doesn’t every retired Primary Principal still have one?) and I’m going to read some Dr. Seuss books to my grandkids. I’m leaving behind any concerns and am going to share my memories of reading Dr. Seuss books when I was a child. I’m sure the thought of me being a child will bring about a chorus of giggles; and that’s OK. Perhaps the girls will also forget the Dr. Seuss’ rhymes and nonsensical language that we shared together. My hope is that they remember fondly the laughing and the silliness of reading together. Thank you, Dr. Seuss!