How Dr. Seuss Can Help Your Early Reader

If you have a school age child, there’s a good chance he celebrated Read Across America last week at school. This yearly reading initiative also includes the observance of Dr. Seuss’s birthday on March 2. Beloved author, Theodor Seuss Geisel, was born in 1904 and wrote 44 children’s books in his lifetime. Most of us grew up reading these wacky tales and have at least a few Dr. Seuss books in our own home libraries for our children. Parents know how much fun these books are, but many don’t realize their value as early readers for their kids. So what makes Dr. Seuss books such a great choice for early readers?

Rhyme
We all love those wonderful rhymes that Dr. Seuss was such a master at creating. Did you know those simple rhyming texts are actually more than entertaining? Before a child learns to read, she must understand that words are made up of different sounds and the manipulation of these sounds creates words. Hearing rhymes helps our little ones develop an ear for words with similar sounds.

Appreciation for Poetry
An exposure to rhyming texts early in a child’s life may spark an interest in poetry. While there’s no guarantee that reading rhyming stories will develop an appreciation for poetry, it does stand to reason that there’s a better chance it will if they are regularly presented with the opportunity.

Fun/Wacky
It can be challenging to get some kids interested in reading because they consider it tedious or too much like work. Dr. Seuss books are a great choice for reluctant emergent readers because they are anything but boring. The wild and wacky tales that unfold when children open a book by Dr. Seuss captures their imagination right away, helping them to stay engaged. Another perk of Seuss stories is their colorful and crazy illustrations!

Easily Committed to Memory
When my children were very young, I would read Dr. Seuss’s ABC book to them. After all these years I can still recall parts of that book, “Big A, little a. What begins with A? Aunt Annie’s Alligator, A A A”.  Children also easily recall these short rhythmic passages. Once committed to memory, children feel they know these stories and can “read” them for themselves while turning pages. This type of practicing instills a love of literacy at a young age.

Sight Words
Sight words are words that are used commonly throughout texts we read every day. You’ve probably practiced these words with your early elementary aged child during homework time. Many of Dr. Seuss’s books contain a prolific amount of sight words. The Cat in the Hat, for example, is full of common words that children need to readily recognize.

Nonsense Words
Dr. Seuss books are also full of funny, nonsense words. These made-up words will make your kid giggle as well as aid her reading development. Unlike sight words, nonsense words aren’t immediately recognizable and must be sounded out. This “sounding out” practice helps children learn how to put letters together to form words.

If you have an early reader in your home, then these books are (ahem…) just what the doctor ordered. Not only are they great reading tools, but they are also great fun! Take a copy off of your shelf today and enjoy a little wacky reading with your kiddo!