Remember Dr. Seuss books? Just about everyone has a favorite from childhood.
They were some of my favorite books as a kid, too. On rainy days, I wished Thing 1 and Thing 2 would bring a box carrying the Cat in the Hat into my house. Green, eggs and ham was my favorite breakfast, although not my Mom’s favorite, I’m sure. And I knew an elephant-cat would be my first choice for my zoo, that is, if I ran the zoo.
So when one of my students recently pulled Dr. Seuss’s “The Shape of Me and Other Things” out of the book box, I was excited to read it with him. We set off on an adventure within the book, to identify more shapes than just circles or squares, but also the silhouetted shapes of camels, bugs, noses and spider webs among other worldly and other-worldly items.
I was reminded how these entertaining books can make reading fun for boys.
Fun & Silliness
These stories are full of the silly humor and tongue-twisters that make boys laugh. Nonsense words like “Fizza-ma-Wizza-ma-Dill” are fun to read out loud. The made up creatures – a Grinch who steals Christmas, Zooks who eat buttered bread or a Wocket in your pocket – inspire fun as well. Add to the fun by encouraging boys to make up their own words or creatures. No creature or name is too silly!
Easy to Read
The rhythm and rhyme of the words make them fun to read. Boys who struggle with reading will build their confidence with the simple sentence construction, rhymes and repetition of words and sounds. Even the made-up words, that could be difficult to pronounce, are a good opportunity to practice sounding out syllables. Since those are the wacky and fun words, boys want to try sounding them out.
Stories That Engage
Between grinches stealing Christmas, a zoo full of exotic, imaginary creatures and a Fox wearing Socks, the outrageous events and non-stop action in Dr. Seuss stories will keep boys turning the pages.
Even the technology is unique and amusing – a machine with arms that cleans up the mess in The Cat in the Hat or the domed Audio-Telly-O-Tally-O-Count recording machine. There is no pressure to bring previous knowledge of the animals or machines to the story, since they are made-up. So boys are free to enter the world of Dr. Seuss and enjoy the silliness as it unfolds.
The opportunities for wacky expressions and unique voices are endless when reading a Dr. Seuss story aloud. It is nearly impossible to read them in a bland voice. Boys will be entertained by the chance to read “I will not eat them, Sam-I-am” in their sternest voices or acting out the balancing act of the Cat in the Hat.
Let boys express themselves with Dr. Seuss’s imaginary words. Who wouldn’t enjoy inventing the best voice for saying “Yuzz-a-ma-Tuzz”?
Continue the fun with Dr. Seuss resources online:
Seussville – Resources for parents, games and story activities for boys
Dr. Seuss Ideas from Scholastic – Activities and lessons for teachers and parents