Yesterday, 2 March was Dr Seuss’s birthday. How did you celebrate? Did you read a favourite Dr Seuss story – maybe even more than just one or two? Which is your favourite?
Children love the rhythmic, rhyming stories written by Theodor Seuss Geisel who was born in 1904. (A question for your children – how old would he be if he was still alive today?)
Having fun with rhyme is a great way for children to learn about the sounds of language.
In the beginning, the rhymes can be real or nonsense words, as are many employed by Dr Seuss, training the ear to hear. Children are delighted when they discover pairs of words that rhyme. It is great when parents and teachers share their excitement of discovery too.
Like those of Dr Seuss, many stories and poems for young children are written in rhyme. The rhyme is pleasant to the ear, and encourages children to join in with the reading or telling, using meaning and sound to predict the next rhyming word.
When children are ready, familiar rhyming texts are often the first they read independently, using a combination of memory and print. How many children do you know who first started reading with a Dr Seuss book; such as The Cat in the Hat, Fox in Socks, One Fish Two Fish, Ten Apples Up On Top, or any other favourite.
For my part in the celebration, I joined in with a challenge extended by Vivian Kirkfield to write a story in 50 words. The reason behind the 50 word challenge is that, although the total word count of Green Eggs and Ham is over 700, only 50 unique words were used. (Some of your children may like to check if that is so. How could they do it?)
I decided to write a rhyming nonsense story in exactly 50 words (title not included). I hope you and your children enjoy it.
Couldn’t see –
Lost his glasses by the tree.
Didn’t see –
Dropped book in muck up to the knee.
Zooming fast –
Splashed poor Duck as he went past.
Missed by truck,
But stuck in muck –
A Lucky Mucky Duck!
Follow-up suggestions: After you read the story to the children, ask them to tell you about it, explaining the events. Ask them to identify the rhyming words. They may like to illustrate their favourite part, or write an alternate ending for the story. Can they add any rhymes? Some may like to check the word count!
And for a little more fun, here is another nonsense rhyme; this time in exactly 99 words (title not included).
Once was a dog
Once was a dog;
Thought he was a frog,
Sat on a log,
Then jumped in the bog.
Along came frog;
Looked at the dog,
Thought it was a hog
Mucking in his bog.
mucking in my bog …”
“I’m not hog.
I’m a frog in a bog!”
Along came Cog;
Out for a jog,
Leading his hog,
Cause he didn’t have a dog.
Hog saw the bog.
Cog saw the dog;
Cog took the dog,
Left hog in the bog.
Frog was aghast;
Knew peace wouldn’t last;
Packed up his log,
Got out of there fast.
I hope these two rhymes have demonstrated just how easy, and how much fun, rhyming verse can be. Experimenting with rhyme is not only great for developing readers, it also assists developing writers make the connection between print and sound. It is especially effective when teachers and children write collaborative texts together.
As an additional contribution to celebrating Dr Seuss and his love for rhyme, and to support you in your role supporting young readers and writers, I have collected some one-syllable animal names and a selection of rhyming words to assist your class explorations into rhyme. The two nonsense rhymes Lucky Duck and Once was a dog are included in the free resource to help get the fun started!
Thank you to Vivian Kirkfield for sparking my bit of rhyming fun this week.
Please check out her fabulous book for teachers and parents of children from 2 – 7 years of age Show Me How. The sub-title Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking provides an insight into the treasures you will find in this book. If you’ve ever wondered about how to extend the learning from some of children’s favourite picture books, this book is for you. The suggestions that Vivian shares are quick and easy to implement, but long on learning. With ideas for reading, crafting, and cooking for 100 picture books there will be more than a few to try.
I hope you and your children enjoy using these rhyming resources. I’ll see you next week with some suggestions for building friendship skills. In the meantime, enjoy the weekend.
Remember, if you haven’t already done so:
Thank you for reading.
Happy teaching and learning,
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