Monday, February 27, 2012

Time Out with Dr. Seuss

Of course, Dr. Seuss is a year-round favorite in most households, but this time of year, families and classrooms everywhere, are gearing up to go all out with the Seuss love. (Just check Pinterest for proof!)


This year, as we read the books, I'm making a point to ask my kiddos what we can learn from our favorite characters, since Seuss was an absolute master at including some pretty important life lessons within each rhyme-y, silly tale. In fact, some might argue that a kid could learn just about everything they need to know about being a good person from the pages of Dr. Seuss favorites.
  • Horton teaches us to be loyal and true to our word.
  • Sam-I-Am is big on getting us to try something new.
  • Mack stands up to Yertle and speaks out for what's right, even when it's tough.
  • The Lorax encourages us to take care of our natural resources.
  • And from Oh, the Places You’ll Go, one of my favorite bits of advice:
  • "You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go ..."
The best part is, reading a lesson expertly woven into the pages of a great book is WAY better than a lecture from mom or dad.

So, I'm thinking that there might be times when a little reading time out is in order. I don't mean sending kids to their rooms and making them read books for punishment.  Obviously if we want book lovin' kids, it's a BAD idea to use books as punishment.


Instead, I'm making myself a little list of book titles with specific messages that apply to particular character traits or behaviors I'm trying to encourage in my kids. I'll keep the list handy (in my family list book), so when I see a particular behavior pattern that could use some work, I can whip out the prescribed book for a little reading and chatting. I'm no behavior expert but common sense tells me that this would be most effective when everyone is calm and happy, and not in the midst of a brotherly fistfight.

For more on learning character from Dr. Seuss's characters, click here or here.  And besides the Seuss faves, this list from Simple Mom and this one from No Time For Flashcards both include tons of great book suggestions for teaching life lessons through literature.

I'd love to hear your suggestions. What are your favorite books, (Seuss or not), that teach a lesson and entertain all at the same time?

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By the way, the idea of teaching character through exemplary book characters also inspired me to create this classroom activity. If you're a teacher be sure to fly over and check out Super Character.