dr. seuss for big kids and a fun freebie!!!

“Those are baby books, “ one of my third graders proclaimed matter-of-factly when I got out my pile of Dr. Seuss books for Read Across America one year. Most of us do tend to associate Dr. Seuss with primary grades, little kids. I am ashamed to admit that I even believed that for the first year or two of my career. Until I moved past The Cat in the Hat and really dove into Dr. Seuss’s collection. Sure, many of the words are simple, but the concepts in a lot of Seuss books geared toward older kids, even really old kids, like us.

Here are some of my favorite Dr. Seuss books for older kids:

butter battle book

Did you know The Butter Battle Book was written about the Cold War and was banned in some libraries? It describes and arms race between the Yooks and the Zooks who fight over which way to butter the bread. 

the lorax

The Lorax is an excellent book about environmentalism. The Once-ler comes to town with a successful factory at the cost of the truffula trees and the animals.

yertle the turtle

Yertle the Turtle gives lessons on being satisfied with what you have and freedom. Yertle the Turtle is the king of all he can see, but the problem is, he can’t see enough.


In Bartholomew and the Oobleck, Oobleck pours down on the town until the king learns from young Bartholomew that simple words such as saying “I’m sorry” can go a long way.

oh the places

Oh the Places You’ll Go is quite inspirational and is commonly read a t college graduations teaching readers to face adversity.

the sneetches

The Sneetches argue about who is better, the Star-Bellied Sneetch or the Plain-Bellied Sneetch. They just worry about being better than the other until they join together and realize that all Sneetches are equally good.

horton hears a who

Horton Hears a Who Horton is determined to save the Whos who are so tiny they live on a speck of dust. He teaches us that a person’s a person no matter how small.

More Dr. Seuss Benefits for Older Kids

In addition to the deep topics and discussions that come with them, here are some of the benefits of using Dr. Seuss books even with big kids:

  1. Fluency—many Dr. Seuss books have a fun rhythm and rhyme scheme. They are great for practicing fluency.
  2. Comprehension—There are a ton of comprehension skills and strategies applicable to Dr. Seuss, and many that are on a third grade reading level or higher.
  3. Poetic Elements—Dr. Seuss is the king of alliteration. You will also find onomatopoeia and of course rhyme.
  4. Love of Literature—the books are full of fun words, characters, and fantasy places. It is easy to get wrapped up in a book and want to read more.
  5. Creativity—Dr. Seuss books highlight and encourage creativity. They are great for your out-of-the box thinkers, and well everyone else, too!
  6. Life Lessons—Similar to Aesop’s fables, Dr. Seuss books are chock full of lessons. Lessons about diversity, acceptance, environmentalism, all wrapped up in colorful and inviting pages.
  7. Fun! Face it, Dr. Seuss books are humorous, creative, and fun for kids of all ages.

I don’t know about you, but I love Dr. Seuss!!

On another somewhat related note, have you ever played the game Cranium Cadoo? It’s super fun and creative. When I taught gifted students, we would often use it for indoor recess (you know, in Florida, when it gets below 50, we can’t handle going outside!) Anyway, that game gave me an idea for a fun Dr. Seuss inspired idea that I call “Fun with Titles.”

Have students choose a Dr. Seuss title without telling anyone. Then they roll the “Fun with Titles” dice. The object of the game is to get the rest of the class to guess their title, and the dice tells them what they can do: act it out, sing it, draw it, sculpt it, describe it, or student choice. The fun thing about this game is you don’t just have to use it with Dr. Seuss books. You can use it with any title, character, or set of vocabulary words. Here is the printable, foldable, glue-able dice. Directions are also included. Download it free here:

Screen Shot 2013-02-15 at 9.12.44 AM

(And if it is not sturdy enough for you, I like to cut out the square and tape them onto the large Dollar Tree foam dice.)

It’s Friday, so you know what that means. Check out Freebie Friday over at Teaching Blog Addict.


And Adventures in Teaching is having a Read Across America Day Linky Party. Check out her fun pictures and ideas!

read across america linky

Happy Birthday Author is also having a fun Dr. Seuss linky. Click here to check them out.

Have a great weekend!


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