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Lesson Plan

Seuss and Silverstein: Posing Questions, Presenting Points

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Grades 9 – 12
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Four 45-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Helen Hoffner, Ed.D.

Helen Hoffner, Ed.D.

Ridley Park, Pennsylvania


International Literacy Association



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From Theory to Practice



In this lesson, classic stories from children's authors Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein provide the ideal springboard for struggling readers to discuss relevant social issues. Working in small groups, students select and read books or short stories from the provided list of relevant texts. Students may use the interactive Literary Elements Map to explore the conflict in their selected texts. The group then prepares critical thinking questions and leads a class discussion about the issues raised in the story. As a class, students can discuss how these issues relate to the conflicts and social issues in their own lives.

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Literary Elements Map Literary Elements Map: Use this online tool to help your students identify and analyze conflict in "The Zax."
Seuss/Silverstein Presentation Rubric Seuss/Silverstein Presentation Rubric: This rubric provides guiding questions to help you assess a group’s presentation, and includes room for notes about the materials presented.


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Juchartz, L.R. (2003). Team teaching with Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein in the college basic reading classroom. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 47(4), 336–341.

Texts addressing issues such as discrimination, greed, or jealousy are appropriate for teenage students to read and discuss. Stories by Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein are written on an elementary level; and yet, they raise questions concerning many social issues. These stories can enable older struggling students to read a text, apply their background knowledge of social situations, and discuss issues with their peers.

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