I’ve been having great results with the Dr. Seuss books I’ve been using in my 1st and 2nd grader’s class. In fact, it almost feels like they were made to go along with the oral spelling drills I’ve already been doing. The kids love them, too.
At first, I’d been a little concerned that students would be annoyed at the idea of reading about a lot of imaginary animals. I mean, just in One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, there are Wumps, Yops, a Zans, a Gox, Zeds, a Ying, a Yink, a Gack and a Zeep. It turns out, though, that the kids don’t mind at all. Actually, if anything the animals and the great pictures help everyone learn and remember real English words on the same pages. The Yink, for example, loves to wink, and drink pink ink. There’s a picture of it doing just that, and the students remember all of those words surprisingly well now.
Aside from the fun pictures, the constant use of rhyming words is probably the best thing about the Dr. Seuss books I’ve used so far. Since my students have all gone done so many oral spelling drills, it’s pretty easy for them to sound out new words. With so many rhyming words, it’s even faster even more encouraging to them. I think the rhymes also help out the students who happen to be struggling with whatever sound- they hear everyone read it again and again on the same page.
So far, I’ve found that the books aren’t too difficult. I started teaching my students some vocabulary for One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish after about 10 weeks of study. At that time, they were towards the end of the second book in the Up & Away series. I skimmed over some of the harder, more colloquial portions of the books, and focussed on the parts that were easy for the kids to learn. They picked up pretty much all of the nouns, and even a few phrases such as “did you ever…. ?”
By the end of the third book in the Up & Away series, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish is pretty easy, assuming the students have been taking a stab at it once every couple of weeks in the mean time. By combining the funniest stories, craziest creatures, and zaniest pictures with his unique blend of rhyme, rhythm, and repetition, Dr Seuss helps children of all ages and abilities learn to read.After that, Green Eggs and Ham is very easy and still pretty useful. There are some more nouns to pick up, and the phrase “would you like…?” is a bonus. Actually, I think it’s an easier book than One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish is, but it isn’t as good for phonics, and it isn’t as interesting to the kids at the beginning.
With the assistance from rhyming words and vivid pictures, students can usually handle much more difficult language in a Dr. Seuss book than they could in other readers, including those specifically designed for the Up & Away. I’ll definitely continue to use the Up & Away readers, since they compliment the Up & Away textbooks so well, but I’d like to introduce Dr. Seuss even earlier, next time. I think I’ll add Hop on Pop when the students are towards the end of the first Up & Away book. Hop on Pop‘s really easy, and full of rhyming words.
Dr. Seuss rocks.