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Dr. Seuss Books Are Excellent Teachers

By Stephanie Ciccarelli

May 16, 2007

Comments (7)

The Cat In The HatWant to expand your voice acting abilities?

Try reading a book by Dr. Seuss!

It's not just child's play, it's good for your voice acting career.

Discover what a good old fashioned dose of Dr. Seuss could do for you!

Where can you find free, accessible, entertaining and challenging copy to read to help you develop voice acting skills integral to your success and vocal conditioning?

At your local library, of course!

After years of reading books and of also reading stories to children, I've found that books by the late American author Dr. Seuss, also known as Theodor "Ted" Seuss Geisel (1904-1991), are by far the most energizing and useful publications where exercising your vocal and acting techniques are concerned.

Last week, we featured a video by Rodney Saulsberry teaching you how to incorporate tongue twisters into your warm up routine.

This week, I'm trumpeting the works of Dr. Seuss, the benefits of reading his materials aloud and also provide you with some titles to look for either at the library or in your home collection.

All of Dr. Seuss' books embody challenging vocal tasks that take preparation, skill and stamina. They may look cute, but these kiddie books pack a powerful punch!

OK, so maybe you're not yet sold on the whole Dr. Seuss will improve my career thing, but that was just Act I. Drawing the curtain again, welcome to Act II :)

Dr. Seuss was a smart guy who liked creating endearing characters, new words, rhyming passages and instilled didactic, cautionary techniques in his storytelling. It is these attributes and qualities of his books that have kept them on shelves and in print decades after their first go round at Random House in New York.

I mentioned that this fellow was a smart cookie, but just how smart? Although he wasn't a real doctor, there's no questioning his genius!

Dr. Seuss planned each page carefully as a vocal exercise that involves every inch of your mental power, acting ability, and vocal prowess.

Here are some of the benefits of a Dr. Seuss Workout:

• Better articulation
• Breath Control
• Phrasing and Timing
• Characterization
• Develops Sight Reading / Cold Reading Skills
• Interpretation

Another benefit I didn't mention is that if you are reading these to your kids or children in your care, they will enjoy your storytelling and you will also enjoy the pleasure of having an appreciative audience to test your voice acting techniques out on.

If you're looking for some Dr. Seuss books to help you develop particular skills mentioned above, I recommend the following:

Rhyming, Phrasing, Voice Acting: Hop On Pop, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish

Phrasing, Breath Control, Articulation: Green Eggs and Ham, The Cat In The Hat (50th Anniversary this year!)

Characterization, Stamina, Emotional Variance: The Lorax, How The Grinch Stole Christmas

Do you have a favorite Dr. Seuss book that you return to again and again? Is there one that you like to practice with?

Share your thoughts by leaving a comment!

Best wishes,

Stephanie

P.S. "The Lorax" is an environmental cautionary tale. Just to let you know, if you're doing a cold read (sight-read) of this book when performing for kids, you may wish to substitute words such as "stupid" with "silly" and "shut up" with "be quiet" - I'm always careful with what I recommend and wanted to be sure that you either read it ahead of time or sub those in during your first run-through :)

Image © Seussville.com / Doctor Seuss

Related Topics: child, Christmas, Dr Seuss, how to, New York, YouTube


Comments


    My favorite was always "Horton Hatches the Egg"... not for anything voice related, I just liked the story. Come to think of it, I used to have it memorized and would recite/perform it to try to impress girls in junior high. "I meant what I said and I said what I meant, an elephant's faithful one hundred percent."

    Posted by:
    • Jerome Santucci
    • May 16, 2007 2:55 PM

      Great article, Stephanie.

      In addition to practicing (& having great fun), reading books to children is also a marvelous way to simultaneously imbue them--at an impressionable age--the love of reading, art, and theatre. (Alas, my daughter is now well past that age, but we have great memories of it.)

      By the way, Pat Fraley has a great CD entitled: "Read it Again (How to Read to Kids so They Come Back for More)." If you haven't seen it, you might want to check it out.

      Posted by:

        Stephanie,

        My favorite Seuss book is "The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins," one of his very earliest. I read it for the first time at my grandparents farm house many years ago and have loved it ever since.

        Be well,
        Bob

        Posted by:

          Stephanie - you are PSYCHIC.

          For years, I've used ONE FISH TWO FISH to guide my clients who struggle with "what word[s] should I emphasize in the line of ad copy so that I don't sound announcery?!?"

          There is ONE KEY TRICK buried in that book that is 100% analagous to the necessary rhythms of ad copy (esp. TV copy).

          It works every time.

          Posted by:

            Hi Jerome, Ed, Bob and Nancy,

            Thank you for taking interest and for sharing your thoughts!

            Ed, I am aware of Pat's book about how to read to kids and will be reviewing it sometime this year.

            Keep the comments rolling,

            Stephanie

            P.S. Thanks to Donna Papacosta for blogging about this topic too and linking back :)

            Article at Donna's blog

            Posted by:

              How many hardcover books are in the Dr. Seuss Storybook collection. I recently joined a club that is sending me two books to start with and then the remaining 24? Are there 26 books all together in the original series??

              Posted by:
              • Chasie Peters
              • October 26, 2007 11:14 PM

                "Fox in Socks" of course! What do you know of Tweetle-Beetles? -TL

                Posted by:

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