Rocket loved to play hard. One day after a romp, he fell asleep under his favorite tree. He woke up to find a little yellow bird declaring, “Aha! My first student! Wonderful!” The little yellow bird pointed out a sign that said “class starts today”. She told Rocket that she would be there every day until the weather ‘turns’. Rocket did not want to be a student, he wanted to nap. He went off to find another play to sleep. After awhile, the yellow bird started reading a story about a dog who had lost his favorite bone. At first Rocket was irritated, but then he was captivated. The yellow bird stopped reading the story at the most interesting part. Rocket got up but could not find her. The next morning he was waiting at the tree for class to start.
Tad Hills has written a book, How Rocket Learns to Read, that mimics the way many children approach learning to read. The yellow bird started the day by finishing the story she was reading while Rocket was napping. Every day she taught Rocket a new letter. Soon they were singing the sounds in each letter and spelling the sounds they heard around them. When the weather turned, the little yellow bird had to leave to fly south but she told Rocket she would be back in the spring. Rocket spent the winter sounding out words like W-I-N-D and C-O-L-D . He even spelled out the names of his new dog friends. When Rocket sounds out M-U-D he realizes that spring is near. Soon the little yellow bird arrives and she and Rocket read books about birds and dogs together.
Rocket’s Mighty Words is really just a book with pictures and identifying words. Many of the words are things found in Rocket’s world, like wind, up and down, in and out and grass. But there are four pages of pictures and words written on a blackboard that are relevant to kindergartners and first graders too, like robot, ball and sock. The last pages have sight words that Rocket has found useful like again, there and very. The book comes in a board book version and an electronic version (Kindle and Nook).
The Sonoma County Library has many copies of How Rocket Learned to Read and the Yulupa Library also has a copy. The AR level is 2.9, which makes it a great read-a- loud book for K-1 graders. So far, I have been unable to find neither the electronic nor board book version of Rocket’s Mighty Words in either library. How Rocket Learns to Read can also be found as an app for the iPad in the iTunes store