Dr. Seuss

Activity Planning Guide for a One-Week Unit K-6

Homepage for Pam Petty, site author 

Unit Plan:

 Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking with Dr. Seuss 

Subject:  Language Arts

Grade Level:  Primary, Upper Elementary, Special Education  

Teacher Rationale:  Dr. Seuss' books are unique in the genre of children's literature in that they appear to be written for very young children, but they also appeal to much older people.  His books are a series of phonics and sound exercises that provide challenges for the tongue.  In many of his books, hidden behind the "childish" rhyme and the fanciful artwork, are deep and meaningful lessons on life and societal issues.  Phonics, values training, grammar, beautiful language, and humor all characterize Dr. Seuss' contribution to children's literature.  This wonderful collection of a lifetime of writing provides parents and educators with opportunities to use captivating literature to teach.  This unit is wide in the breath of skills it encompasses in its attempt to touch on just a few areas in which Dr. Seuss' books can be useful to us as educators.  


    1)  Students develop an appreciation for Dr. Seuss' books and for Dr. Seuss' talent as an author.

    2)  Students improve oral reading and speaking with Dr. Seuss' melodic poetry.  

    3)  Students delve into creative writing as they mimic Dr. Seuss' flare for invented people, creatures, and places.

    4)  Students develop story comprehension skills as they discuss and respond to Dr. Seuss' writings.

    5)  Students experiment with words and sounds as they categorize rhymes found in Dr. Seuss' poetry.

    6)  Students improve words recognition skills (phonics-based) as they decode Dr. Seuss' nonsense words.  

    7)  Students study word parts as they experiment with prefixes, suffixes, and root words found in Dr. Seuss' books. 

    8)  Students develop an appreciation for the lyrical nature of Dr. Seuss' poems and learn to keep rhythm with the flow of 
         words (many of which have been converted to music).

    9)  Students develop artistic creations as they invent their own characters using a variety of media.

   10) Students will use descriptive words as they incorporate adverbs and adjectives into their writing and speaking. 

   11) Students will be able to identify figurative language and use it properly in speech and writing.  

Resources:  Resources are listed above and include web sites located on the Internet along with Dr. Seuss books. 

Student Activities: 

1)  Students develop an appreciation for Dr. Seuss books and for Dr. Seuss' talent as an author.

        A.  Introduce students to Dr. Seuss through a study of his life.  

        B.  Use Dr. Seuss books as read alouds, partner reads, free-reading, and as books to send home for parent to share with their children.  

        C.  Plan activities that allow students to interact with the text.  These activities might include:

                - creative dramatics
                - mixed-media art
                - trivia games
                - recitation
                - book talks
                - creative writing
                - movie making
                - Hyperstudio presentation of Seuss' most famous characters   
                - character sketches
                - puppets

          D.  Set up a reading center in your classroom with Dr. Seuss books.  Allow students to have free reading time to enjoy 
                the books.

          E.  Use reading response journals to allow students to make personal responses to the literature.  An example might be 
                to read Green Eggs and Ham and ask students to respond in writing about foods they disliked and then learned
                to like after they tried them.  

2)  Students improve oral reading and speaking with Dr. Seuss' melodic poetry.  

            A.  Allow students to pick favorite sections from their favorite Dr. Seuss books.  Students could either memorize the 
                  selected section of text or become familiar enough with the text to be able to read it aloud with fluency and 

            B.  Have students read and chant selected portions of a Seuss book repeatedly.  This could be done through 
                 choral reading with the whole class or as a response reading between groups of students (one group say one
                 line of text, and then another group read the next line, etc).  

           C.  Do teacher read alouds of selected texts and have students "echo" the words.  This should reinforce word
                 recognition, fluency, and expression.  

           D.  Have students take various Dr. Seuss books and turn them into plays or reader's theater.  

           E.  Choose a Dr. Seuss book and turn it into a news program complete with a newscaster, weather reporter, 
                traffic reporter, someone to do commentary, and a sportscaster.  

 3)  Students delve into creative writing as they mimic Dr. Seuss' flare for invented people, creatures, and places.

          A.  Make up new words and tell what they mean.  As a classroom project, this could turn into a dictionary of new 

          B.  Students should develop a plan for a make-believe world.  This plan should include the way the land would 
                look, the types of physical geographic features the world would have, the types of animals and vegetation
                that would be found there, and the particular "laws" that would govern life there (gravity, lifespan, time, etc).
                This world should be given a name and a description of what life would be like there (good qualities, bad
                qualities, etc).          

          C.  Students should be given drawing paper and colorful markers to create characters much like Seuss did in his     
                books.  These characters should be created with a vision of personal characteristics.  Students should then write 
                about these characters in fantastic adventures.  The writing may be in paragraph form or in verse.  
          D.  Develop a newspaper based on one of Dr. Seuss' books.  The newspaper should have headlines that highlight
                the main ideas of the book, a series of special reports covering the weather, updates on local events, 
                announcements, and other items that are mentioned in the book.  Students should give the newspaper a name
                and publish it for others in the school to read.  

          E.  Most of Dr. Seuss' books relate to social issues or issues that relate to the human experience.  Students should
               use newspapers and television news broadcasts to target some current event they find of interest.  Students 
               should write a "story poem" that addresses possible solutions to the problem.  Examples might be:  homelessness,
               violence, drug abuse, etc).   

4)  Students develop story comprehension skills as they discuss and respond to Dr. Seuss' writings.

          A.  Use several Dr. Seuss books and identify key story elements:  main idea, characters, setting, conflict, resolution.
                Record these on story maps.  After modeling this for students in whole group, allow small group or individual

          B.  Set up discussion or "book talk" groups.  Encourage students to tell the "surface" story of a Dr. Seuss book and
                then delve into deeper meanings that exist.  

          C.  Develop character charts for main characters in a couple of Seuss books of your choice.  These charts should
                have the characters' names, physical description, function or job in the story, redeeming qualities, and character
                flaws.  Have students discuss what separates the "good guys" from the "bad guys."  Relate these discussions 
                to famous people in the news or cinema.

          D.  Make a list of "values" book based on the teachings in Dr. Seuss' books. Include direct quotes from the book
                and illustrate.

          E.  Take sentences from four different Suess books.  Use enough sentences to get the basic jest of each story.  Put
                each sentence on a separate strip of paper.  Mix up the sentences and have students match them with sentences
                from the same story.  

5)  Students experiment with words and sounds as they categorize rhymes found in Dr. Seuss' poetry.

          A.   Model read-aloud techniques of emphasizing rhyming words.  Develop this into an oral "cloze" procedure as
                you pause at the end of a line of poetry to let students "fill in the blank" aloud with the proper rhyming word.  

          B.  Provide students with several Dr. Seuss books.  Have them read with a partner for pleasure and then again
               to hunt for pairs of rhyming words.  Students should put the pairs of words on individual 3 x 5 cards.  Students
               should then build a word wall of rhyming pairs.  The cards should be categorized according to like rhymes.  
               These cards can be removed from the wall and put in a center to use as a matching game with students identifying
               cards of like rhyming words.

          C. Assign each student or pair of students a particular rhyming sound (like a long vowel sound at the end of a word).
              As you read aloud a Dr. Seuss book, ask students to stand when they hear a word that rhymes with the sound
              they have been assigned.

          D. Have students take rhyming pairs of words and develop short 2-4 line poems.  

          E.  Have students experiment with assonance as they see how many words they can use in a 
                sentence or short paragraph that have similar vowel sounds. They may start by locating sentences in Dr. Seuss
                books that contain like vowel sounds.

          F.  Select one Dr. Seuss books see how many words with the long "e" sound you can find.  Alternate:  Give several 
               students different Dr. Seuss books and see who can find the MOST words with long "e" sounds.   
6)  Students improve words recognition skills (phonics-based) as they decode Dr. Seuss' nonsense words.  

          A.  Dr. Seuss uses many words that are "invented" but are pronounced phonetically.  Make lists of these words
                prior to reading the stories and have students decode the words by breaking them into syllables and applying
                phonics rules.

          B.  Take some of the nonsense words from Dr. Seuss' books and have students substitute beginning sounds and
                then pronounce the new words.  

          C.  Create new words based on nonsense words from Dr. Seuss' books by switching the syllables.  Model this
                for students in whole group and then allow them to work independently or in groups to create their own
                words.  Use the "best" new word to name a class pet or a special class holiday.  

          D.  Take some of the nonsense words from Dr. Seuss' books and put each syllable on an individual index 
                card.  Students can play games where they put these syllables together to form new words that follow 
                phonics rules.  

          E.  Select certain nonsense words from Dr. Seuss' books.  Put the words on the board and have students 
               use phonics skills to decode them.  As students to tell other (real) words that they know that follow the
               same phonics rule.  (Example:  nonsense word with "oo" and a real word with "oo" - school.)

  7)  Students study word parts as they experiment with prefixes, suffixes, and root words found in Dr. Seuss' books. 

          A.  Divide class into three groups.  Group one makes up new prefixes and defines them.  Group two makes up new 
                suffixes and defines them.  Group three makes up new root words (nouns and verbs) and defines them.  Groups 
                take turns adding prefixes and suffixes to the root words to make new words.  

          B.  Ask students to name prefixes they know and list them on the board.  Do the same with suffixes.  Discuss how
                and where these affix to words.  Divide students into three groups.  Give each group a set of flashcards with
                nouns and verbs from a Dr. Seuss book on them.  Have students put the prefixes and suffixes on the words on 
                the cards.  These will provide some exposure and sight word development.  Save these for next day's activities.

          C.  Take cards previously made and ask students to find words with common prefixes  and suffixes (-er, -ed, . . .).
                Have students work in pairs or small groups to see if they can figure out the meanings of the affixes.  They should
                share their predictions with the class.  Record predictions on chart and save for tomorrow.

          D.  Review the chart from the day before.  Pass out dictionaries and ask students to verify their predictions on the
                meanings of the prefixes and suffixes.  Record dictionary meanings and compare the predictions.  

          E.  Use the flashcards as springboards for sentence writing to use words in context.  Have students remove the 
                prefix or suffix and make another sentence with the root word.  Discuss how the sentences change when the 
                affixes are applied to words.  Start a word wall and list all the prefixes and suffixes found in incidental reading
                the rest of the school year. 

8)  Students develop an appreciation for the lyrical nature of Dr. Seuss' poems and learn to keep rhythm with the flow of 
         words (many of which have been converted to music).

  9)  Students develop artistic creations as they invent their own characters using a variety of media.

10) Students will use descriptive words as they incorporate adverbs and adjectives into their writing and speaking. 

          A.  Students should read Dr. Seuss books for pleasure and then go through the story and find as many 
                adverbs and adjectives as they can locate.

          B.  These adverbs and adjectives should then be divided by category.  Each adverb and adjective should
                be further categorized by "what" it tells.  

          C.  Have students select his or her favorite Dr. Seuss character.  The character's name should be written in a 
                place that is hidden from the view of others.  The student should then write a descriptive paragraph 
                incorporating adverbs and adjectives.  Other students should read the paragraph and determine which 
                character is being described. 

          D.  Students should pick his or her favorite setting in a Dr. Seuss book.  They should then describe (either
                orally or in writing) the place to a friend.  The friend should try to determine the location and the book title.

Background Reading for Teachers and Parents

    National Education Association's Read Across America Homepage.  WELCOME to America's favorite reading event! To mark Dr. Seuss's 96th birthday, the National Education Association is calling for every child in every school in the country to read with a caring adult on March 2, 2000.

    Dr. Seuss Biography.

On-Line Activities

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss. Links for teachers. 

    Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat Phonogram Reading Lesson Plan 

    Theodor Geisel, known to us as Dr. Seuss was born on March 2,1904. Here are some ideas to help you celebrate his birthday and enjoy his wonderful stories too!

    This is a directory of online lesson plans, activities, and resources
for building a theme on Dr. Seuss and his books.

    The Ultimate "SEUSS" site:  Seussville.  Games, contests, events, etc.  

The (Almost) Never-Ending Story
The Arapahoe Library District in Colorado is reprising their wildly popular "Continuing On-line Story." Here's how it works: the Library staff writes the opening paragraph of a Seuss-kind-of-story, and at 9:00 a.m. on the morning of March 2, uploads it to their web site for children, Bookaneer Island. From that time until 8:00 p.m. in the evening, children can log on to the web site and submit follow-up paragraphs. Every hour on the hour, the Library randomly selects one paragraph from all the entries and adds it to the on-line version of the story. Last year over 900 children participated, so this year the Library will host two sites to accommodate the web traffic. The Arapahoe Library District invites everyone to visit Bookaneer Island on March 2 to follow the continuing story. It promises to be a real cliffhanger!

    The Dr. Seuss Web Page.  These pages are the work of a fan for all of you out there who share a love of Dr. Seuss.
NEA link, other Seuss page links, short biography, videos, books, parodies of Dr. Seuss books. 

    Quotes from Dr. Seuss books.

    Cyber-Seuss Web Site.  FANTASTIC site. Sooo many good ideas and things to see.  

    Cross-Words Search Puzzle.  You are given a set of questions like those from cross word puzzles, whose answers are hidden in a grid of letters like word search puzzles. So if you can not figure out the answer it is possible to find them in the puzzle, and plug them into the blank.  Three levels of difficulty.

    Headline of Dr. Seuss' death: Headline:  Cat in the Hat creator Dr. Seuss dies.  Publish date:  09/26/91. La Jolla, Calif. 

    Major site with TONS of information and links.  

    This is a great on-line interactive site.  You need Shockwave to play (you can download it from the site).  Click on the Dr. Seuss image and the image becomes a puzzle that you can work on-screen.  Cool. 

    Dot-to-Dot Cat in the Hat page to print out.  (connect numbers) 

    The Cat has lost his hat.  Help in find it in this maze (print out).

    The COOLEST!  This is an interactive concentration game (Shockwave required).  You click on each block and try to match the Seuss images.  The next level is a little harder.  You must match the book titles to the main characters!  Great!!

    Lesson plan for My Many Colored Days.  


    Another Dr. Seuss page.  This one focuses on poetry.  Learn about different types of poems and rhyming.  Submit your poetry to be posted on this web site.

    Dr. Seuss Books In Print.  This page is broken up into several categories: Books, Special Collections, Books + Casettes and Books in Spanish.  Recommended grade levels are also suggested.
    The Ultimate Dr. Seuss Site.  Very nicely designed Dr. Seuss site.

    Dr. Seuss as featured author.

    Learning guide for Horton Hatches the Egg.

Bumble Tub Phonics (Gr. K)  Enables students to create words from initial consonants and final word endings. This lesson plan provides instructions and printable blackline masters.

    Green Eggs and Ham lesson plans.

    Language Arts Initial and Final Sounds With Dr. Seuss' Hop on Pop. (Grade 1) 

    Reading/Writing, level: Elementary - Use during Dr. Seuss week. (grade 2)

    Technology-Integrated Lesson Plan for My Many Colored Days.

    A fifth grade unit based on the the biography Oh, the Places He Went, a story about Dr. Seuss.

Phonograms for Decoding (Gr. 2-4) The students will use phonograms to create new words (uses Fox in Socks).

Reading Lesson Plan, Cat in the Hat (Gr. 1-3)

Teaching Phonograms through "The Sneetches" by Dr. Seuss (Gr. 1) The student will read six phonograms and as a class verbally define each using the print and illustrations in the text, The Sneetches by Dr. Seuss.

    The Dr. Seuss Room.  A list of word-find puzzles and one crossword puzzle. The word-find puzzles have been broken down in 3 different levels.

    The Mystery of Dr. Seuss.  Read a mystery and solve it by answering questions.

    Bibliography of Dr. Seuss books complete with book covers and descriptions. Well done.  

    Encarta biography of Dr. Seuss.

    Cut Loose with Dr. Seuss.  

    Dr. Seuss crossword puzzle.

Poetry Links 

    Rhyming dictionary


    Curriculum activities for Poetry K-6
  Interactive site where students submit original poems.

    National Poetry Month Homepage
    Proteacher Poetry Page

    Poetry (famous authors)

    Look Who's a Poet Now!  Grade Level:  Primary.  In this lesson students explore poems on the Internet and discover that their poems can go on the Web, too. So the logical step is for students to discuss poems, read poems, write poems, and submit their poems to an online site!


Phonics Instruction On-Line

    BBC Education.  Interactive vowel game (Drag and Spell).  

    Fishing for Sounds - Emergent Readers and Writers.  Provided by Bank Street College (America Reads).

These are helpful links to sites that provide poems, songs, and ideas for teaching phonics.


      (follow the "links" button)



http://seamonkey.ed.asu.edu/~hixson/index/read.html#puzzles - YOU HAVE GOT TO SEE THIS !!!
 SOOOOO many ideas and suggested reading activities - many with other links.

http://www.acs.ucalgary.ca/~dkbrown/storfolk.html - One of my favorite sites on the web.
 Many stories, poems, resources.


This phonics site has beginning and ending, as well as short vowel sounds.  Children will click on the pictures with the same sound as, for instance, short u in tub.  Very much like colorful, interactive online worksheets.  Stories are interspersed at appropriate intervals.  Also see the preschool phonics and reading site.

Activities for beginning readers, with trusted techniques to encourage and help the process.

How to use the Venn diagram to visually focus questions and topics in reading and literature.

Why and how we analyze literature, with sections on analysis of poetry, analysis of fiction, analysis of prose in fiction and writing an analytical essay.

These activities are designed to promote and stimulate an interest in reading.  Some are tried and true methods, but with a twist; others are innovative (Battle of the Books Game Show) and challenging.  You can adapt them to any age or level of reader.  I know that I'll definitely be incorporating some of these ideas!

Teachers send in their activities and lessons for popular reading books for grade one.

>From Teachers' Net, you will find a wide variety of reading/ writing lessons, all submitted by teachers.  For emergent
readers, try Kindergarten Phonics, Sight Word Soup, Rewriting Fairy Tales, or the True Story of the Three Little Pigs

There are some truly excellent ideas and activities collected at this site, to inspire children to take an interest in reading.

    The Amazing Alphabet.  In this lesson students go to the Internet to play alphabet games, learn rhymes in alphabetical order, download alphabet coloring pages, and learn the alphabet in American sign language! Students go on to make and play their own alphabet games.

Unit Plan Sites:

    Academy Curricular Exchange Language Arts Lessons - Elementary K-5.

    Busy Teacher's Website.

    Marc's Lesson Plans.  A variety of subjects and links. 

    Language Art Lesson Plans. 



    Bookmarks from the NEA to print out.  Three to a page.  

    Dr. Seuss and characters clip art.  Right click, open a folder of your choice, click save, name as desired, click save.  To use, open specified folder, find desired name, click to open in a document to use as clip art, letterhead, game pieces, or as the wallpaper on your computer.  

SHOCKWAVE software is downloadable from this site: http://www.macromedia.com/shockwave/download/index.cgi


Email Pam Petty



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