Dr. Seuss is known for using zany, creative words in his stories. In Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?, Dr. Seuss opens our ears to the sounds around us. Besides being fun for your students, you can use this book as a wonderful language learning opportunity that teaches about “onomatopoeia,” a type of figurative language. Onomatopoeic words are words that imitate the sound of the object or action it refers to. Simply put… an onomatopoeia is a sound word, such as “moo,” “cluck,” and “pop.” Here are some activity ideas for you to use:
Read the book Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? to your students and have them raise their hands every time they hear an onomatopoeia. You can also write the words on a board or paper that everyone can see so you can go back over them later.
Give your students a category and see how many sound words they can name. For example, give them the category “animal sounds” and have them name as many as possible. Other categories could be “weather sounds,” “sounds machines make,” and “sounds you hear at school.”
Making up onomatopoeia
Dr. Seuss made up words, such as “dibble, dibble, dibble, dopp!” to describe rain. Have your students quietly listen for sounds from things such as people walking by or a computer on your desk. Have them make up new words that could describe these sounds.