AlphaBooks Blogging today features two books starting with C: That would be The Cat in the Hat by the beloved Dr. Seuss and Curious George by H. A. Rey. It’s a scientific wonder, or perhaps advertising genius, that both authors, long since dead, continue to write more books. These two appealing characters have their own TV shows and websites with tons of games, books to order, movies, and videos.
Personal notes: I dislike any movies with people dressed up as fictional animals. (My dear widower hates any animal movies at all, but I think my tastes are more discriminating.) Also, The Man with the Yellow Hat was actually a pipe-smoking animal poacher, but has now become politically correct. It was a different world in 1941.
I do prefer the original books by far. I believe “The Cat in the Hat” has particular value for developing readers. All of Dr. Seuss’ books have delightful rhyming. They provide parents (and grandparents) a terrific opportunity for word play, which is actually phonological awareness. One of the early warning signs of dyslexia is an inability to rhyme and manipulate sounds. If your child does not “get” rhyming by kindergarten age, assuming he or she has had lots of exposure to fun books and activities, I’d be a bit concerned. Check to see if your child can identify discrete words in short sentences (you could clap the words, for instance). I would also explore whether your child can add or delete syllables, again in a playful context. For example, if you say the two syllables of “mo-ther” slowly, can your child hear the word “mother?” You might say “eyelids” (from “And To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street”) and then ask your child to say that word without the last syllable (so the word becomes “eye”). No need to use the word “syllables”; you can say “parts” of a word. For most kids, these phonological skills are acquired naturally. But if you or close family members have a reading disability, and your child can’t perform these simple sound manipulations, consider an evaluation to rule out dyslexia. Early intervention is crucial.