Joanna has taught high school social studies both online and in a traditional classroom since 2009, and has a doctorate in Educational Leadership
Ideas for Activities
For teachers who want to create their own activities to encourage literacy among students, here are a few ideas to use as a guide. Dr. Seuss's collective work gives teachers many possibilities for young students to explore the benefits of literacy. It is also a wonderful opportunity for classroom fun, and reading curriculum supplementation and reinforcement. Luckily for teachers, they don't have to recreate the wheel for lessons and activities from Dr. Seuss that encourage literacy.
The National Education Association has a Read Across America event each year that celebrates Dr. Seuss's birthday, his work, and how his work can be used to improve literacy skills among young students. Here are some lessons and ideas that teachers can use as stand alone activities throughout the year, or in tandem with Read Across America events.
During a teacher-prescribed contest period, students can be offered the opportunity to read books by Dr. Seuss each evening, either independently or with their parent/guardian. Provide students with a reading log at the beginning of the grading period or semester. Reading logs should have a space for parents/guardians to sign as verification that their child has read each book.
Offer prizes and award certificates for each week in the contest period. For example, if the goal is for each student to read 5 Dr. Seuss books that week, those students who turn in a reading log with their 5 books and a parent/guardian signature each receive a prize or award certificate.
Consider the reading level of your students and the amount of time you have allotted for the contest when deciding the number of books to assign. At the end of the reading contest, you can also award major prizes like fidget spinners and fidget cubes to students who have read the most books and turned in the most reading logs.
Dr. Seuss Library Activity
Take your students to the library and search online for any Dr. Seuss book that has been turned into a movie. Students should make a list of Dr. Seuss books they find that are accompanied by a movie. They can check the book out of the library, or you can provide certain Dr. Seuss books you know have film counterparts. Encourage your students to read at least two of these books during the week of March 2nd, which marks the anniversary of Dr. Seuss's birth.
When students get back to class, or before going to the library, place students into groups at your discretion. Each group should have at least two Dr. Seuss books assigned to read for the week. Each group will read these books together during the week at times you specify.
Dr. Seuss Art Project
Teachers can assign students to groups at their discretion, or allow students to pick their own groups. Each group should pick two Dr, Seuss books to read first, and then complete an art project that compares and contrasts the two books. Once students have finished reading their books, provide them with the following materials:
- poster boards
- safety scissors
- glitter glue
- glue sticks
- non-toxic, washable markers
- crayons and colored pencils
Allot time in class for each group to finish their illustrations of one scene from both books. Instruct students to complete both scenes on the same poster board, creating a visual compare/contrast of their books. Have each group explain the two scenes on their poster boards to the class. Discuss how both scenes are similar and different while also explaining the plots.
Movie Day Celebration
Teachers can assign each student three Dr. Seuss books to read in one week. If each student reads all three books assigned, teachers can pick three Dr. Seuss books that have been made into a major motion picture to view on class at the end of the week. Teachers can take a class vote to decide which movie to show, or pick the three movies at their own discretion. Treat your students to snacks, like chips, cookies, pizza and juice, to make the end of the week a lively event.
Teachers can provide their students with Dr. Seuss books, or work with school librarians to provide them for their class for a week from their resources in the library. Each week teachers can allow time for a student to volunteer to read from a Dr. Seuss classic in class to their classmates. Teachers can reward the volunteerism of their students with extra play time, extra credit points, certificates, and even with their own copy of the book they read.
Dr. Seuss Parade
Teachers can allow students to pick their own Dr. Seuss character to dress as for a Dr. Seuss character parade through the school. Teachers must be sure that students have read the book from which their character hails by providing time on the day of the parade for each student who participated to tell their class about their character.
Since students will provide their own costumes, teachers should make participation voluntary to account for students whose families cannot provide them with a costume. This would be a great way for teachers to collaborate with each other in elementary schools throughout disciplines and grade levels, since the parade would be enjoyed by the whole school.
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