7 Life Lessons from Dr. Seuss
7 Life Lessons from Dr. Seuss
For over three quarters of a century, children have been learning to read with the colorful, whimsical, rhyming world of Dr. Seuss. His nonsense words; bright, curly illustrations; and beloved characters capture the hearts of both children and adults who read his books. In celebration of all things reading, including Dr. Seuss’s birthday on March 2 and Read Across America Day (also celebrated on March 2), check out our FREE National Reading Month Topical Resource Packet. In it, you’ll find free downloadable resources like fun facts, activities, and critical thinking questions to share with your class.
To accompany these free resources, let’s also take a closer look at a few of our favorite stories from one of the most beloved authors in children’s literature, Theodor Seuss Geisel. Dr. Seuss once said he never began writing his stories with a moral in mind because “kids can see a moral coming a mile off.” Still, it’s hard to make it through any of his classics without learning a little something along the way. Here are seven life lessons we can take from seven of Dr. Seuss’s beloved stories.
- Learn to Read: Dr. Seuss’s ABC You can’t beat the classics, especially when it comes to Dr. Seuss. For early readers or those who are really just starting to get the hang of the alphabet and letter sounds, Dr. Seuss has quite a few books to choose from. But, something about Dr. Seuss’s ABC, which takes a refreshing break from the traditional “A is for apple, B is for book” format, deserves a special shout-out. The fun, nonsensical words makes learning letters and sounds fun for children and encourages them to think of letters in different ways than they might normally. It’s the sort of book you start out reading to children, and before too long, they’re tugging at your sleeves, begging you to sit down with them while they read to you.
- Try New Things: Green Eggs and Ham Who hasn’t had green eggs and ham? Thanks to Dr. Seuss, sampling a bite or two of green eggs and ham has become a sort of rite of passage for many kindergartners or, at the very least, a fun excuse to use green food coloring! Besides providing an excuse to eat artificially colored breakfast foods in class, Green Eggs and Ham is a great lesson for children on trying new things, like new foods (and everyone knows how notoriously picky children can be about food). Just like Sam-I-Am, when you try something new, you might be surprised at how much you actually like it.
- Let Go of Fear and Embrace New Friendships: What Was I Scared Of? What Was I Scared Of? features a narrator who is terrified of an empty pair of pale green pants that can walk. Soon, the narrator realizes the pants are just as scared of him as he is of them, and the two decide to get to know one another and become friends. Besides the fact that this story features some of the prettiest shades of blue and pale-green ever (and comes in a GLOW-IN-THE-DARK version), this charming tale does a wonderful job of showing us how getting to know someone can be scary at first, until you realize how much you have in common. And, did I mention that some versions of this book GLOW IN THE DARK?
- Love Yourself: “Gertrude McFuzz”
“Gertude McFuzz” is a story collected in Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories. Everyone, at some point or another, feels like Gertrude McFuzz with her one, small, plain tail feather, especially with all the Lolla-Lee-Lou types in the world, with their two pretty feathers (or new smartphone, fancy car, cool lunchbox, or trendy haircut, etc., etc.). Thankfully, the tale (no pun intended) of Gertrude McFuzz exists to teach us the valuable lesson that extra tail feathers can’t make you happy if you don’t truly love yourself. Sometimes, the key to real happiness lies in loving ourselves for who we are because everyone is beautiful in his or her own special way.
- There’s Always More Life to Live: Oh, the Places You’ll Go! I’m sure that there is more than one teacher out there who can admit to blinking away a tear or two while reading this book aloud while bidding farewell to a group of students at the end of the year. Part of the magic of Oh, the Places You’ll Go! is that while it’s often read as a “goodbye” book to students (or, occasionally, as a lesson on using future tense), it’s really more of a “see you later” kind of story. The open ending reminds us that no matter how old we are, where we are in life, or what we are doing, there are always new places to go, discoveries to be made, and things to see. It’s just as inspiring to the teacher reading to his or her class as it is to the students listening in closely.
- Think Outside of the Box: Oh, the Thinks You Can Think! What’s better than a book that outright celebrates the wonderful possibilities of imagination and creativity? Oh, the Thinks You Can Think! is yet another one of Dr. Seuss’s books that even adults should read from time to time. The story explores the different ways readers can think about things and embraces how it’s important to consider different or unusual viewpoints sometimes and to think outside of the box. This story also teaches us to embrace new ideas and the power of our own creativity.
- Protect the Environment: The Lorax There are so many reasons to love this book. Dr. Seuss does a good job of reminding us of the ever-important message of reducing waste and preserving the environment. While it’s always heartbreaking to read as the Lorax lifts himself up by the seat of his pants and floats away, the story ends on the hopeful note that maybe the Lorax and all of his friends might come back if we, the readers, can do our part to protect nature. Not to mention, the Lorax is adorable, and if you disagree, you’re a Once-ler.
As this year’s National Reading Month approaches, follow along with us each week as we share more ways to encourage reading and celebrate the joys a good book can bring! Start by downloading our FREE National Reading Month Topical Resource Packet today. And don’t forget to share how you celebrate this March with us on social media!