Long before Dr. Spock and Dr. Oz, there was the doctor of all doctors—my personal favorite, Dr. Seuss. He’s the only Doctor whose Daily Dose (a Delightful Dalliance, I Do say!) has kids eager for a check up. Dr. Seuss might very well be the most influential children’s book author of all time. Just think of all the memorable characters that have come out of his work—the Cat in the Hat, the Grinch, Horton, Sam I Am, and many others. But it’s not just the charming storylines that captivate the imaginations of our children. The rhyming rhythm and the playful turns of phrase inspire our kids to learn how to read his words. So this week on the blog, in honor of what would be his 107th birthday (March 2), we tip our hats to the wonderful; the timeless; the one and only, Dr. Seuss.
Long before my days as an elementary school librarian, Dr. Seuss’ books were a favorite in our collection at home. I am positive that both of my children learned to read with the great Doctor’s books. And I am even more certain that he is solely responsible for helping me engage my daughter Kiki, who was locked away in the silent world of Autism.
Kiki was drawn to the way his books sound when they are read out loud, with that playful rhythm, which is so infectious. I still remember how very thoughtfully he organized his classic, Dr. Seuss’ ABC. It was simple and full of words that flowed together like music to her ears. Each page was dedicated to an individual letter, progressing through the whole alphabet, and the text played with phonetics to reinforce the visual with the sound the letter makes. Kiki was completely enchanted. She would look up at me with delight every time I read, “Barber Baby Bubble and a Bumble Bee!” popping the “B” sound on every word.
My memories of reading with Kiki are special times that I can still remember like they were yesterday. For me, celebrating Dr. Seuss means celebrating the importance of books. Books are such an essential tool, and they helped our daughter learn social skills, self-care, and the simple beauty of language.
Today our TVs are crowded with programs that promise to teach our babies to read. I use the term “teach” loosely. Programs like this seem to focus on memorization, training, and programming with children staring at a screen. But we know the facts: The good Doctor’s books continue to be a tried and true resource. Our kids not only learn to read, but through his playful stories, they discover that it’s FUN—the most valuable lesson of all.
I am a proud mother-reader who can still recite the first pages of many of my Seuss favorites. I wear this as a badge of honor. His timeless treasures will never lose their purpose and their powerful influence on today’s kids and tomorrow’s readers. Please see below for additional resources about Dr. Seuss, early learning, and literacy. For my parting words, I have a little homage of sorts. A little birthday rhyme in honor of my hero, Dr. Theodore Seuss Geisel:
Oh me oh my
How time does fly!
It’s March again
C’mon my friend
It’s time to say
To the good ol’ Doc
Whose words do rock!
They teach our young
Where reading begun
From his rhyming word
To Horton’s bird
Dr Seuss’s Birthday Call:
Happy Reading to All!
Visit Seussville, find information on Read Across America, and make a reading pledge! http://www.nea.org/readacross/
Watch a video from a previous Read Across America day! http://www.schooltube.com/user/NEAreadacrossamerica
Reading Tips (for parents of preschoolers) http://www.nea.org/assets/docs/HE/englishtips.pdf
Early Learning Information: Download Early_learning_handout
Early Literacy Information: Download Earlyliteracy2pagehandout