Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss! Read Across America, 2019


Happy birthday, Dr. Seuss! Read Across America 2019!

Saturday, March 2nd, on a cold but suddenly sunny day in Eugene, so much fun reading Dr. Seuss!

Having a grand time re-reading a bunch of my Dr. Seuss books. Rather than reposting a couple earlier blogs I’m sitting here camped out with warm blanket, scarf, fuzzy slippers with pom poms, but no Dr Seuss hat. Instead a beanie. Mother Nature calmed down a bit in time for Dr. Seuss’ birthday. For that I am so grateful. And ready for fun!

My #oneword for 2019 is “Celebrate”, so today’s a perfect reading party. I’m waiting for you. Silly hats! Pjs and cocoa or hot cider, too. And bring your favorite Dr. Seuss stories, maybe a costume or too!

Each year, Dr. Seuss’ birthday is celebrated on March 2nd. Or close to it. Due to weather, I am reading at the preschool a couple days late. I’m already planning probably two books and matching mini-lessons. I’ll have the children pick their favorites. That in itself is a lesson in decision making. Maybe. Have to see. Thinking a nudge toward ‘Hop On Pop’, ‘Ten Apples On Top’. Toss in a little word family action. I’m really sneaky with skills.

Anyway, I’ll be reading the easiest Dr. Seuss books. I have forty-five minutes, so with the preschoolers although I know to teach through creative play, puppets, singing, rhyming, art and movement. Mainly whatever rolls, rolls. I’m so excited!

Dr. Seuss Wrote a Lot of Really Great Books! Have you read them all?

Dr. Seuss’ last book, 2015 ‘What Pet Should I Get’ is a new favorite. Found in a box, we lucked out there was one more unique read. Who knows, maybe another manuscript or two will turn up! I read this story to kids at Barnes and Noble, here in Eugene. The manager took the new books out of the box, handed me one and I began to read. Obviously I prefer to read a story enough times to model fluency, and love of reading. I was so surprised at the ending, (which no, I won’t tell you), I sat there. I was glad we made predictions before reading. Have you read this story yet?

Then I read and taught ‘What Pet’ at preschool and and it was entirely different. This book is so rich and colorful you can teach it with any age kiddo. A perfect book for family shared home reading time.

A pause to mention that while I don’t teach nonsense words usually, preferring to teach only correct models, Dr. Seuss’ books are my exception. I know that seems weird, but his nonsense words just work for me, when highlighting phonemes, sounds make letters and letters make words. The memory making quality takes over my sensibilities of correctness.

I love Read Across America, sure you do, too. Today and every day

A big bouquet of Dr. Seuss love! Thanks to the NEA (National Education Association) for sponsoring the reading party of parties each March 2nd, a signature project and frosting on the literacy cake! Did you know Read Across America was first celebrated in 1998? That’s a lot of partying! Recognizing the talent and prolific achievement of Theodor Geisel is joyous, any day. But especially today.

Speaking of love, I love classic Dr. Seuss books. Each is filled with colorful, creative, magical, really cool characters and settings. The fabulous illustrations are exciting for children, everyone, really and stimulate interesting conversation, art, music, movement, building, singing, chanting, science and writing. Thinking about Oobleck, we can combine and connect with many thematic, blended learning activities, schoolhouse and home. Learning through play! With forty-six titles to choose from, rhyme away to learning through play play play, fingers snapping, toes a tapping, fun fun fun!

For me, teaching any Dr. Seuss book is a worthy adventure.

Playful language patterns, tongue twisters and innovative language inventions are just grand. Simple poetry, a lyrical beat makes reading a treat! Get out those music instruments, or a pot and a spoon, start moving and grooving to the Dr. Seuss beat! Strike up the band!

I’ve never met anybody who didn’t like Dr. Seuss books, at least the ones for kids. He also wrote two for adults which weren’t widely read, and did cartooning, some for the war effort.

Focusing on the books, adventurous stories and unique worlds featuring weather, losing a tooth, seasons, counting, alphabet, ryhming, phonemic awareness, phonics including word families. And more. Dr. Seuss’ stories sweep us into worlds of imagination beyond where we might go alone, it’s one of the reasons we read, to take ourselves to a sweet place of our own, in a great story.

Some of the reasons why I love reading and teaching these books.

Teaching, reviewing, extending basic reading skills is easy peasy using Dr. Seuss books. Pretty much every title lends itself to practicing with phonemes, sounds, rhyming, rhythm, repetition. By experimenting with unique language and language patterns, budding and at-promise readers experience the rhythm and lyrical, poetic quality of reading.

A sneaky sampler of basic skills sure to grab and hold your kiddos.

In December my granddaughter Morgan and I read “How The Grinch Stole Christmas”. January featured “Dr. Seuss’sABC”. For Feb. we’re reading “The Tooth Book”, and “Happy Birthday”! Ready to go-pile includes “The Sneetches”, “The Cat’s Quizzer”, “The Lorax”, “There’s a Wocket in my Pocket”, and “Oh Say, Can You Say, What’s the Weather Today”? Awesome. I know about half of Dr. Seuss’ books really well, always one more title and new favorite I missed along the way.

Fill your party bag with these quickie ideas:

  1. ‘Bartholomew and the Oobleck’:Seasons, weather, sequence, scientific method, science experiment.
  2. ‘I Can Read with My Eyes Shut’: Colors, syllables, spelling (Missippippi), contractions, rhyming.
  3. ‘The Cat In The Hat:’ Word families: ay; at; out; ake; an; ot; also rhyme and repetition.
  4. ‘Dr. Seuss’s ABC’:Sounds, alphabet (upper and lower case letters), rhyming, colors, predictable patterns.
  5. ‘The Tooth Book’: Perfect for your little one losing teeth. Rhyming. Great pictures. Easier level.
  6. ‘Hop On Pop’: Simple Dr. Seuss. Few words on each page. Rhyming. Word Families: ed, all, op, ing, up, own, ee, ad, at. Also concepts of mother, father, sister and brother.
  7. ‘Oh, Say, Can You Say’?: For more advanced Seuss kids. Rhyming and hilarious tongue twisters.
  8. ‘One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish’:Opposites, direction, counting, rhyming, word families.
  9. ‘Green Eggs and Ham’: Rhyme, rhythm, predictable patterns, word families.
  10. ‘Fox in Socks:Tongue Twisters, rhyming, contractions, word families, punctuation.
  11. ‘Ten Apples On Top:Great counting book, Seuss style. Abacus handy?
  12. ‘Oh,The Places You’ll Go!’:Directions, rhyming, plus, the most motivational book, ever!

Of most importance, savor the words and colorful tip-of-your-tongue language. Sharing Dr. Seuss is a special class and family reading time tradition, all year long.

Back to “What Pet Should I Get?”

Written more than fifty years ago, found in a box! Dr. Seuss’ love of animals shines brightly in this newest, but old, unreleased before story. A lot of familiar and unfamiiar characters and themes. I teach comprehension with this book.

  • Making predictions.
  • Inferences.
  • Drawing conclusions.
  • Basic story grammar (plot, charcters, setting).
  • Sequencing through art and writing activities.

Mini Mini-Lesson Ideas for “One Pet”:

  • Read straight through as a Read-Aloud.
  • Do a Book-Walk: Peek at the front, back covers and illustrations.
  • Background knowledge: “Do you have a pet at home? If so, what? Who takes care of the pet? Who picked the pet?”
  • Looking at front and back covers, make a prediction what the book is about.
  • Count how many pets are on the front cover and name them.
  • What is the strange looking pet on the back cover?
  • Look for repeating rhymes “We want a pet. We want a pet. What kind of pet should we get?”
  • Hunt for the word familes: ing, ish, all, et, etc.
  • Read out loud together to boost expression and fluency.

Ok, finally ready to tell you the ending. SHHHH. I’ll whisper it to you. Did you hear it?

Ask your kiddos to write, draw, retell parts of the story, favorite characters, pets and the best one yet. Who DID Dr. Seuss pick? Do you like the ending? Were you surprised?

I’d love to hear from you about your Dr. Seuss favorites. “Horton”? Enjoy ‘Read Across America’ and make every day a Seussistastical literacy celebration!

Leaving footprints on your reading hearts, Rita

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