Today is Dr. Seuss’ birthday and for a blog named after one of his quotes, he must be honored. It would be hard not to anyway as Dr. Seuss colored my childhood much like he did to many others and as he continues to do today.
Dr. Seuss published over 60 books and is known as the creator of the easy reader (Random House, 2011). That first title? The Cat in the Hat, which he wrote in 1957 when asked to write a book for children using less than 300 words (Vardell, 2008, p. 46). These simple vocabulary books, many of which are easily found searching for Seuss’ Beginner Books series, often have chapters and are designed to help children develop the vocabulary and confidence in reading they need to transition from picture books to chapter books. Often silly, these books teach children a love of reading. Seuss’ influence in this area is so profound that the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA) has named an award after him. The Geisel Award is given to “author(s) and illustrator(s) of the most distinguished American book for beginning readers published in English in the United States during the preceding year” (ALSC, n.d.). You can see all of his early readers and ones inspired by him on the official Dr. Seuss Website, Seussville.
So how can we celebrate the birthday of the man that taught many children to love to read and still has an influence today? We can have special storytimes while wearing the Cat in the Hat hat (and there are a number of excellent books to choose from). Designed for teachers, A to Z Teacher Stuff has a list of lesson plans and activities for celebrating this special day. If you’re looking for a way to integrate electronic resources, there are a number of Seuss related apps available both for Apple products and Android based ones. You can try having a writing day, employing the Seuss-ical style of anapestic tetrameter and silly, nonsense words. Or check out these amazing Dr. Seuss-inspired cakes!
The most important thing to remember is to have fun with whatever you do to celebrate this day. As the man himself said: “I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells.” So do something silly, make up some words, plants, or animals, but do something. If you get into it, kids will too and that’s the best way to honor Dr, Seuss, the best reading teacher of all time.
ALSC. (n.d.) Theodor Seuss Geisel Award. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/alsc/awardsgrants/bookmedia/geiselaward/geiselabout/index.cfm
Random House. (2011). Seussville. Retrieved from http://www.seussville.com/#/home
Vardell, S. M. (2008). Children’s literature in action: A librarian’s guide. Westport, CN: Libraries Unlimited.