Dr. Seuss: Changing the Way We Read

You'd have to be a Grinch not to acknowledge what a huge effect Dr. Seuss had on all of us. Horton may have heard a Who, but hey... we heard it, too.

American LiteratureAll American Literature
AuthorGeisel - Theodor Seuss Geisel
Seuss - Dr. Seuss
Early 20th-Century LiteratureAll Early 20th-Century Literature
LanguageEnglish Language
Literary TopicsAuthor Highlights
LiteratureAmerican Literature

Transcript

00:22

…or in the company of a couple of perilous poozers from Pompelmoose Pass.

00:28

Okay, so it’s not only about the way we read…

00:31

…it’s also about the way we interpret what we’re reading.

00:35

Wait… really?

00:38

Are we saying that Dr. Seuss left as much of an impression on each of us as literary

00:42

giants like… Homer, and Shakespeare?

00:48

We most certainly are. For one thing, we are all introduced to Seuss

00:52

early on.

00:54

Not many people make their way through The Iliad before first familiarizing themselves

00:58

with One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. Before Seuss, the only stuff youngsters read

01:04

were books like Dick and Jane…

01:06

…short, boring exercises in rote memorization…

01:09

…with no semblance of an interesting story…

01:12

…and certainly no instances of actual humor.

01:20

A lunch date with Dick and Jane would have been pretty excruciating.

01:23

They wouldn’t be able to talk about much other than the last time they saw Spot run.

01:30

Seuss’ books taught kids to learn with the use of phonics…

01:35

…the use and repetition of words representing sounds…

01:39

…rather than with memorization.

01:44

Although… we’re sure the Batman comics also did their part.

01:53

Dr. Seuss turned children’s literature on its head…

01:58

…making it genuinely fun and engaging for kids to read.

02:02

And if we discovered in our formative years that reading could actually be a… good time…

02:06

…we were more likely to continue reading into our adulthood.

02:10

Or… whatever you’d like to call our… advanced stage of immaturity.

02:14

There was plenty of weighty stuff going on beneath the surface of Dr. Seuss’ rhymes.

02:18

Many of his stories were allegories relating to communism, racism, or environmental awareness…

02:23

…but even if we couldn’t write a 40-page thesis paper about it before we turned seven…

02:28

…there was still a subconscious sense that we were being taken seriously…

02:33

…that we were being treated like grown-ups.

02:35

Pretty cool. Seuss is largely responsible for our love

02:40

of literature…

02:40

…and especially for the notion that a book doesn’t have to be cold and humorless to

02:44

be… important. The next time you pick up a copy of Infinite

02:47

Jest or War and Peace…

02:49

…first of all, we hope you stretched first…

02:52

…and second… remember that you’re probably reading the way you are because of the Doc.