Dr. Seuss’s Impact on Child Development

Guest Authored by Molly Rein, MS, DT

Dr. Seuss has been a family name for a long time now, and there’s no doubt of his impact on children’s development. Books can be an essential learning tool and a ticket to a faraway fantasy land for every child, but the way Dr. Seuss crafted each of his books has captivated his audiences for very specific reasons. Dr. Seuss’s magic is written in the rhythm, the colors, and the tone and alliterations of each story. Plus, they’re fun for all! If you are a parent struggling to sit down and read a book with your child, just remember what the great Dr. Seuss once said: “You do not like them. So you say. Try them! Try them! And you may!” (Green Eggs and Ham, 1960.) 

Dr. Seuss has been popular for so many years because of his masterful craft. The rhythm of his books help children learn vibrant language that captivates their attention, promoting sustained engagement with an adult. When engaged, adults have the opportunity to support children’s learning of book pragmatics, including how you hold a book, how you read from left to right, how the images relate to the words written, and even more.

Dr. Seuss is also notable for his many made up words throughout his books. These nonsensical words are similar to early childhood language. Rhymes and made up words can also challenge your child to make up their own during song play and storytelling, thus supporting your child’s self-esteem and confidence in cognitive and language abilities. 

Because learning to read can be a challenge for some kids, Dr. Seuss’s ability to include repeated sounds and engaging storylines support children as they connect sounds to letters. But sometimes, getting your child to attend to a book can be the biggest challenge. Dr. Seuss is also known for his use of bright and vibrant colors, which are captivating to young children. Add in your own quirky voices and intonations throughout reading, and you’ll find your child one fascinated audience member.

Dr. Seuss has mastered the ability to teach many lessons while entranced in a story about fictional characters with whacky names, but the most important lesson of all are the life lessons entwined within the pages. Whether it’s What Was I Scared of? or Oh, The Places You’ll Go!, you can always find a meaningful lesson to help your child learn to be themselves, treat others the way you want to be treated, not be afraid to try new things, or to delve into their imaginations. Dr. Seuss’s books will last you a lifetime and each time you read one of his magical stories, you’ll discover brand new lessons. Just remember, “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…” (Oh, The Places You’ll Go!, 1990.)