The Best Dr. Seuss Books for Read Across America Day
Every year, Read Across America Day is celebrated on March 2 to commemorate the birthday of beloved and prolific children’s author, Dr. Seuss, and to kick off National Reading Month. For this special occasion, we’ve compiled the best Dr. Seuss books on our reading lists his year.
For many of us, Dr. Seuss brings to mind happy childhood memories of learning to read, and we know that teachers love a day in the classroom dedicated to celebrating his cute, quirky, and timeless illustrated books.
If you’re looking for other ways to celebrate Dr. Seuss and all things reading, check out our National Reading Month Topical Resource Pack for free, downloadable activities to share with your class.
Add the following stories to your list of books to share throughout National Reading Month to help blossom your students’ passion for reading.
The Best Dr. Seuss Books for Students
Oh, The Thinks You Can Think!
“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh! The thinks you think up if you only try!”
The quintessential Dr. Seuss celebration of imagination, Oh, The Thinks You Can Think!, is a great story to share with your students to encourage them to run with their own creativity, embrace possibilities, and believe in their own abilities. Oh, the Thinks You Can Think! is yet another one of Dr. Seuss’s books that even adults should read from time to time. The story explores the different ways readers can think about things and embraces how it’s important to consider different or unusual viewpoints sometimes and to think outside of the box. This story also teaches us to embrace new ideas and the power of our own creativity.
You might also recognize this book as the inspiration for the musical Seussical.
Dr. Seuss's ABC
You can’t beat the classics, especially when it comes to Dr. Seuss. For early readers or those who are really just starting to get the hang of the alphabet and letter sounds, Dr. Seuss has quite a few books to choose from.
But, something about "Dr. Seuss’s ABC", which takes a refreshing break from the traditional “A is for apple, B is for book” format, deserves a special shout-out. The fun, nonsensical words makes learning letters and sounds fun for children and encourages them to think of letters in different ways than they might normally. It’s the sort of book you start out reading to children, and before too long, they’re tugging at your sleeves, begging you to sit down with them while they read to you.
Green Eggs and Ham
Who hasn’t had green eggs and ham?
Thanks to Dr. Seuss, sampling a bite or two of green eggs and ham has become a sort of rite of passage for many kindergartners or, at the very least, a fun excuse to use green food coloring. Besides providing an excuse to eat artificially colored breakfast foods in class, "Green Eggs and Ham" is a great lesson for children on trying new things, like new foods (and everyone knows how notoriously picky children can be about food).
Just like Sam-I-Am, when you try something new, you might be surprised at how much you actually like it.
What Was I Scared Of?
"What Was I Scared Of?" features a narrator who is terrified of an empty pair of pale green pants that can walk. Soon, the narrator realizes the pants are just as scared of him as he is of them, and the two decide to get to know one another and become friends.
Besides the fact that this story features some of the prettiest shades of blue and pale-green ever (and comes in a glow in the dark version), this charming tale does a wonderful job of showing us how getting to know someone can be scary at first, until you realize how much you have in common.
Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
There is probably more than one teacher out there who can admit to blinking away a tear or two while reading this book aloud, bidding farewell to a group of students at the end of the year.
Part of the magic of "Oh, the Places You’ll Go!" is that while it’s often read as a “goodbye” book to students (or, occasionally, as a lesson on using future tense), it’s really more of a “see you later” kind of story.
The open ending reminds us that no matter how old we are, where we are in life, or what we are doing, there are always new places to go, discoveries to be made, and things to see. It’s just as inspiring to the teacher reading to his or her class as it is to the students listening in closely.
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. No, it’s not.”
There’s hardly a better way we can think of to introduce young learners to the importance of caring for nature than by reading this classic cautionary tale.
While it’s always heartbreaking to read as the Lorax lifts himself up by the seat of his pants and floats away, the story ends on the hopeful note that maybe the Lorax and all of his friends might come back if we, the readers, can do our part to protect nature. Budding environmentalists will be inspired by the Lorax as he “speaks for the trees!”
Horton Hears a Who
“A person’s a person, no matter how small.”
"Horton Hears a Who" is an outstanding Reading Month addition to your next life skills education lesson. Dr. Seuss’ catchy rhymes make his lovable character, Horton the elephant, a great teacher of the importance of kindness and perseverance.
Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories
“And the turtles, of course…all the turtles are free. As turtles and, maybe, all creatures should be.”
"Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories" includes three stories, though it is best known for the first title story. Yertle the Turtle is a timely metaphor for our shared rights to freedom and equality—offered with signature Dr. Seuss humor and flair.
“Gertude McFuzz” is a story collected in Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories. Everyone, at some point or another, feels like Gertrude McFuzz with her one, small, plain tail feather, especially with all the Lolla-Lee-Lou types in the world, with their two pretty feathers (or new smartphone, fancy car, cool lunchbox, trendy haircut, etc.).
Thankfully, the tale (no pun intended) of Gertrude McFuzz exists to teach us the valuable lesson that extra tail feathers can’t make you happy if you don’t truly love yourself. Sometimes, the key to real happiness lies in loving ourselves for who we are because everyone is beautiful in his or her own special way.
I Can Read with My Eyes Shut!
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
How could our list be complete without "I Can Read with My Eyes Shut"? Dr. Seuss’ well-loved character, The Cat in the Hat, takes young readers on a fun and funny ride to discover the joy that books can bring.
Continue Celebrating National Reading Month
In addition to our National Reading Month Topical Resource Pack for guided activities, and visit our national reading month resources article for more tips to keep students reading all month long.