Using books as a jumping point for language activities is vital to good speech and language therapy. Here are some ways to encourage kids to engage with literature.
Activities for young children:
1) "read" the book (look at pictures, read some of your favorite rhyming parts, talk about emotions), I rarely read all of the words in long Dr. Seuss books with young kids, but that doesn't mean we don't interact with the pages and learn about the story.
2) have your child point out different animals or actions they see on the pages, then act them out together.
Horton is an elephant: Stomp around the room like a big elephant. Touch your ears and listen really hard like you have big elephant ears.
Kangaroos: Jump...what are we going to do? Jump! what are we doing? Jumping!
Monkeys: wave their arms, Eagles: fly, Whos: bang on drums, toot trumpets, etc.
*This is a great way to practice action words and verb tenses and complete sentences. Also anything that gets little kids moving AND reading books is a win-win!
3) use the idea of the Whos talking so quietly and then making music to be loud and arttact attention to work on describer words and comparatives. Make/use some kidsinstruments and practice loud/soft, fast/slow
I had some shakers and a little xylophone set, we practiced playing along with picture cue cards, I cued for "we are playing loud!" let's play softer...ok, now you want to play...Louder! This also extended into drumming on the table and walking around the house (slowly, quickly, softly, loudly)
4) visit seussville.com for an awesome colorsheet of Horton
Activities for Older Children
1) read through the book together, point out the different emotions Horton feels (confused, surprised, overwhelmed, hopeless, worried, etc.). There are tons of other great things you can point out as well, go with what your child seems interested in.
2) create Venn Diagrams for Horton vs. the Whos or Horton vs. Kangaroo (that is the map that has two big empty circles that overlap in the middle). After the map is complete you can talk more about how the two are similar and how they are different. Maybe follow-up with some what-if questions...what if Horton had ears like the kangaroo? etc.
3) visit seussville.com for activity sheets about helping others and doing good deeds (they have a nice writing activity where you write a note to Horton telling him about a good deed you have done).
4) visit seussville.com and check out the activity where your child thinks of animals in the Jungle of Nool (or any jungle) and then you ask questions trying to guess which one they are thinking of (ex. does it fly? does it have a long trunk? does it have fur?)
5) extend activity #4 into a simile and metaphor discussion: what if I said someone was as "sour as a kangaroo?" as "helpful as Horton", as brave as a lion, felt small as a Who...wolfed down their meal, a busy bee.
6) extend activity #5 into a Describe It game...I am thinking of an animal that sounds like...looks like...eats... practice guessing and giving clues to help build semantic connections.
There is SO MUCH you can do with this book. These games have been a huge hit with my clients. Give them a try!
I love Dr. Seuss because his books are a great jumping point for so many different language goals. Enjoy Dr. Seuss Day :)