I can remember being in kindergarten and falling in love with the sturdy book in my hands. Bright clean colors within contrasting dark lines, the BIG BLACK FONT, all trademarks of a Dr. Seuss book. The box of new books had just arrived in our classroom while we were out during lunch, and we stood huddled around our teacher's oak desk, our tip toes up so we could see over each other's heads as she pulled the sealing tape off the brown box.
There were so many books, no one who wanted one, had to go without. I remember reaching for If I Ran The Zoo because of its stark white cover and haphazard black letters that almost filled the entire space. I flipped through the pages and the crazy pink skies and unheard of blue grass and a six foot tall polka dot cat, was it a cat? and trees that looked like spray painted ice cream cones had me running for the reading corner, where I could sit, uninterrupted, and read. Reading never felt like work in that classroom.
I learned to read with Dr. Seuss, something I've never forgotten. When my children were a year old I bought them each their own six book starter set of Seuss' books. Since my boys were only a year and a half apart in age, we quickly had a full dozen Seuss books in the boys' shared bedroom. They'd make their way over to their short book case every night and pull out their favorites for me and my husband to read. But many times I'd catch them on their own, tucked into their chairs, a Seuss book in their laps, imitating the words they'd hear when we read to them. In their wonderfully childish voices, they'd mimic "Da B book. B is for big brown banana boxes..." and one that I love still, "Are you my mudder? Are you my mudder?"
Yes, my children learned to read on Dr. Seuss books too. And that floods me with warm memories.
Happy birthday, dear Dr. Seuss, you made me think of myself as a reader.
If you have a little one, or know of someone else's little one, and they've got a special day coming up, gift them with some Seuss. Remember the silly loveliness of Seuss' illustrations and the rhyming ease that helped you guess at words so you'd feel accomplished and like you were reading, even though you weren't.
My children pretended to read two years before they actually could. And they did it with Dr. Seuss books.
Here's an awesome link to the best the Doctor has to offer, from his website, Seussville.
Thrill a child, let them think they're reading before they can. They're called self fulfilling prophecies for a reason.
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**TAKE your kids to the coolest interactive website EVER: Seussville.
(Games, clothes, puzzles, classroom aids, projects, printable sheets. Oh, and maybe one or two books. xo)
photo credit: charliecurve via photopin cc