Belleville library introduces us to Dr. Seuss' world

Thursday, July 28, 2011    Last updated: Thursday July 28, 2011, 1:23 AM
Belleville Times

Someone once said that there is something magical in the ordinary things in life.

I cannot think of a more perfect way to describe the works of Dr. Seuss. He explains concepts such as counting and colors, and articulates the messages we strive to teach our children, in the most whimsical manner.

The most common time for adults to read with children is bedtime. Children across the country curl up with a parent, guardian or sibling to listen to their favorite fairy tales and silly stories that have the ability to squeeze out another laugh and smile before bed. More often than not, parents are persuaded to read one more story, which sometimes turns into two and three.

When parents are convinced to keep reading, the least anyone can do is provide some book suggestions so that they too, enjoy the books that are keeping them from eating dinner and catching up on some television.

The great works of Dr. Seuss are an ideal choice for the entire family. As an adult, it is easy to be drawn to a children’s book because you think your child will like it. It is another thing to be drawn to it because you think you will like it.

If you have never read a Dr. Seuss story before, you must not be intimidated – they are full of nonsensical words and ridiculous rhymes. No matter your age or how serious your disposition, there is no ignoring the inner child that rears its head while reading these works of literature.

In a world where adults have so many responsibilities, Dr. Seuss allows parents to indulge in the innocence of childhood, even if it only lasts a few minutes.

While looking through the Dr. Seuss books at the Belleville Public Library, I came across a selection that I had not read before.

I was instantly intrigued by Dr Seuss’ Sleep Book. Geared towards the concept of going to sleep, it can easily be incorporated into a child’s bedtime routine. More than that, it has the potential to provide several educational lessons.

This book provides a great opportunity to educate your children about rhyming. Explain the concept of rhyming, if they are not familiar with it already. Challenge your children by reading them the first page, which has a plethora of examples, and ask them to recall what words sound like they rhyme.

Then, show them the page and ask them what words look like they rhyme. Often, we need to show our children the relationship between what they see and what they hear. Words such as "keck" and "neck" rhyme in sight and in sound. They have the same final sound and the same spelling pattern. On the other hand, words such as "know" and "so" have the same final sound but do not resemble each other’s spelling patterns.

To go a step further, copy pairs of rhyming words from the book such as "cough" and "off" onto index cards. Place them somewhere your child can easily see them on a daily basis. Good spots can be your refrigerator, a cork board, on the wall (using painter’s blue tape is great because it does not pull off paint) or near their beds.

Every day or night, recite the two words a few times. After a few days, you will be amazed to see that your child not only remembers but recognizes the two words. Simply recognizing a word or memorizing it is absolutely part of the reading process.

Eventually, your child will begin recognizing the word out of context, meaning somewhere else other than on the index cards. It may be in another book or on a sign in a store. If your child is already reading, copy sentences from the book and have them repeat every day instead of individual words.

When you read this book, your child will be thrilled when they see a word or sentence they are able to read to you. You will be hard pressed to find a prouder moment for you and them.

Nothing is more rewarding for a child than being able to read. Similarly, nothing is more special than parents who read with their children, not just for the bonding time it provides but for the actual enjoyment of the book.

I encourage all parents to visit the Belleville library or your local library and escape into Dr. Seuss’s entertaining, exuberant and educational world.