Rocket the dog doesn’t know how to read yet, but his teacher, yellow bird, starts to teach him. Yellow bird reads aloud and shows Rocket the letters and sounds of the alphabet. Rocket learns the alphabet and the sounds that the letters make. Rocket discovers new words and the excitement of listening to stories, but best of all, he learns to read. This book includes important reading readiness skills like oral language, beginning writing, letter knowledge and phonological awareness skills like blending and segmenting words.
Before, During and After Reading
Introduce the book. It is important to talk about the cover of the book and the picture you see on the front. Ask your child what story she thinks the little bird is reading to Rocket. Explain who the author is and what an author does: In this story Tad Hills is not only the author but also the illustrator. He wrote the words and drew the pictures.
Talk about and define words your child may not be familiar with. Some examples could include: startled, interrupted, argue, wondrous, gorgeous, marveled and captivated. For your convenience, you can look up the words in advance in a dictionary or online and write short definitions on sticky notes. Place the sticky notes on the pages with the vocabulary words to remind you to introduce the new words.
Discuss the different sounds that letters make. Little yellow bird hangs up a banner with the entire alphabet for Rocket to see. Little yellow bird explains to Rocket that the alphabet is “where it all begins.” Little yellow bird shows Rocket that the letters /g/ and /r/ together make a “growling” sound.
Segment sounds in a word and see if your child can guess your word. Rocket blends sounds to make words such as D I G, S U N, and C O L D. Say each sound in a word slowly, without showing the word to your child. See if your child can guess the word by saying the word fast. You might say, See if you can guess this word. Listen: /d/ /ĭ/ /g/ What’s the word? Say it fast!
Invite your child to write words and letters in a sand tray. In the story, after little yellow bird flies away for the winter, Rocket practices writing his letters in the snow. In the spring Rocket practices writing in the mud. Create a special sand tray where your child can practice writing letters and words. Spread some sand evenly in an old cookie tray. Make the sound of a letter and see if your child can write the letter that matches the sound.
Explore other recommended children’s books and reading activities for five-year-olds, or take the Reading BrightStart! Preschool Reading Screener. The screener can help you determine if your child is on the path to reading readiness, and provides a free plan for moving forward.