Photo by Brandi Jordan
Dr. Seuss’ timeless story treasures are an easy way to get students excited about the written word. Using vocabulary and sight words that only serve to enhance a child’s vocabulary, the books are ideal for any emergent reader. In fact, the stories are so versatile that they can be used across the curriculum to create a truly Seuss-ical thematic unit. The four books below are just a few of the many wonderful stories that could be easily incorporated into your lesson plans.
The Cat in the Hat
The timeless classic, The Cat in the Hat, uses 220 words to weave a tale and create a story that is unforgettable. Published in 1956, the book is as popular with children today as it was more than 50 years ago.
- Word families (-at, -all, -ay)
- Rhyming words
- Write a list of rules that the mother may want to leave the next time she leaves the children home alone.
- Rain – Discuss the water cycle.
- What do fish need to survive? – A science lesson on habitats and what fish need to survive.
- Let’s Go Fly a Kite – Thing 1 and Thing 2’s kite antics are the perfect launching point for a unit on kites, weather, and gravity.
- Times 1 and Times 2 – Discuss basic multiplication using the 1’s and 2’s tables.
- Count the things! – A math and language arts activity that encourages students to count the number of nouns in the book. You could alter this and have them count verbs, adjectives, adverbs, etc.
- Balancing – Have a collection of items (toy boat, book, doll-size birthday cake, fan, etc.) that students can balance.
- Stop That! – Talk with children about what they should do if someone is doing something they do not like or that is dangerous. Also discuss what they should do if they see someone else being unsafe.
If there was ever a Dr. Seuss book with an environmental twist, The LORAX is definitely it. Its call to conservation and protection of the environment is kid-friendly and relatable. It is no wonder that The LORAX is the official book for Read Across America 2012, a day that coincides with the release of the movie adaptation. It is a great starting point for social studies and science lessons.
- Write a persuasive letter advocating for a cause that you believe in.
- Write a speech for The LORAX
- Destruction of animal habitats
- Create a plan to restore the town
- Explore the cost of goods using addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division
- Create a line graph to show the correlation between the supply of the Truffula Trees and the production of the Thneeds over time.
- Free enterprise
- Social responsibility
- Supply and demand
Oh, The Thinks You Can Think
Often overshadowed by its bookshelf-mate, Oh, The Thinks You Can Think!, is a story brimming with hope, belief, and the message of perseverance. It encourages creativity, praises the unusual, and lets readers know that there is no limit to what they can dream and achieve. The message is just as relevant today as it was when it was first published in 1975.
- Write a description and draw a picture of “schlopp” – with a cherry on top, of course.
- Word families (-ip, -ight)
- Rhyming words & made-up words
- Day and night
- The solar system
- Directions (left, right, up, down)
- Graph the results of team relay races (bouncing a ball, balancing a book on the head, etc.)
- Take a trip – Choose a place where you would like to go and make a brochure to advertise it.
One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
Fun and silly, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, is a reflection of all the amusing things that can happen during the day. It encourages readers to look beyond the norm and appreciate the unusual. It is a great early reader, but it is also a wonderful book to make older students think.
- Word families (-ook, -old, -ink) written on fish shapes
- Rhyming words
- Create a word web about things that you see and do everyday. Practice being observant and detailed.
- Sound – Explore hearing and sounds (loud, soft, whispers, yelling, etc.)
- Sorting and Classifying Animals – Discuss similarities and differences of animals and discover different ways to sort them.
- Patterns – Explore patterns using of goldfish crackers.
- Cooking – Explore measurements using recipes (real or imaginary).
- Timelines – Make a timeline of your life starting with when you were “new.”
- Maps and Distance – Where would you walk? Where would you drive? Make a map showing the route to and from local places and describe how you would get there and why it would be the best method of travel.
What are some of your favorite Dr. Seuss books and how do you use them in the classroom? Share with us below!