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How Rocket Learned to Read (Rocket and the Little Yellow Bird)

4.17  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,487 Ratings  ·  403 Reviews
Learn to read with this New York Times-bestselling picture book, starring an irresistible dog named Rocket and his teacher, a little yellow bird. Follow along as Rocket masters the alphabet, sounds out words, and finally . . . learns to read all on his own!

With a story that makes reading fun—and will even help listeners learn to read—this book is ideal for kindergarten cla
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published July 27th 2010 by Schwartz & Wade (first published January 1st 2010)
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Feb 16, 2011 Kathryn rated it it was amazing
This was such a wonderful surprise! I haven't read any of Tad Hills' work before but I'm definitely going to read more of it now.

This is the gently humorous, inspiring and heartwarming story of how a young pup named Rocket became interested in the wonderful world of words. His teacher is a wise, bright-spirited yellow bird and she entices him with fascinating stories in books so that he understands why words are important and powerful and necessary. Then, when she flies south for the winter, Roc
Lisa Vegan
Jul 03, 2016 Lisa Vegan rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: dog lovers, bird lovers, kids who love books and are eager to learn to read
Recommended to Lisa by: Kathryn
I was smiling throughout this adorable book because the illustrations, particularly of Rocket the dog, are so expressive. Rocket’s facial expressions are a hoot; they are so cute.

If the story is read to kids who love books and/or are eager to learn to read, I think this is a fabulous book. (If the book is used to try to coerce or entice reluctant readers or reluctant listeners, I’m not as big of a fan of it.) But, I’ve always loved books and reading, and dogs, and I’d have always loved this book
Feb 23, 2011 Ann rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Ann by: Kathryn
Okay, I loved this!

Rocket is an adorable little dog who, one day, finds himself in the company of a very persuasive birdie. The little yellow bird decides it is going to be Rocket's teacher, and the first thing Rocket learns is how to read.

I love the way this story approached education and reading - instead of demanding that Rocket "needed to learn his ABCs" the little birdie instead introduces Rocket to the wonder of stories found in books, so that Rocket *wants* to learn to read so that he, to
Rebecca Wilson
Feb 15, 2014 Rebecca Wilson rated it it was amazing
Opening: Have you ever learned something new? What have you learned about? In our story today, Rocket the dog meets a bird who loves to teach. At first Rocket doesn't think he will like learning, Have you ever not liked learning? Well the bird in this story helps to change Rockets mind, and when he does he changes Rockets life for the better. Let's read to find out what happens to Rocket in the story, How Rocket Learned to Read.

Opening Moves:
Invite personal connections.
Raise questions to spark c
Rocket the dog learns to read after attending lessons each season with a clever yellow bird. A great book for launching a reading year with young children.
Sep 02, 2012 Sierra rated it it was amazing
From the cover of this book to the very last page the illustrations are adorable, super kid-friendly and vivid in color use! I thought the meaning and message behind the plot was cute! Rocket is cute dog who has a little yellow bird as his teacher. I love the way this story approached education and reading - instead of demanding that Rocket "needed to learn his ABCs" the little birdie instead introduces Rocket to the wonder of stories found in books, so that Rocket *wants* to learn to read so th ...more
Sep 02, 2012 Nicole rated it it was amazing
This book is absolutely adorable and I highly recommend it to K and 1st grade teachers. It is all about a little dog named rocket who loved his life of chewing sticks and taking naps under the same tree everyday until one day when everything changes. One afternoon while trying to take a nap under his favorite tree, a small yellow bird approached him and said she was happy he had joined her class. Rocket explained to the bird that he didn’t come for any class and that he just wanted to take a nap ...more
Jan 10, 2013 Barbara rated it really liked it
There's an old saying that when the student is ready, the right teacher will arrive, and that's exactly the case in this book. Rocket, an exceptionally cute little black and white dog, has settled down for a nice relaxing fall nap when a yellow bird intent on being a teacher arrives. She sets forth a few class rules and begins to teach her student to read, using many practices commonly followed by emergent and early literacy teachers. First of all, the yellow bird reads aloud to Rocket and leave ...more
Oct 26, 2010 David rated it really liked it
Shelves: picturebooks
Follow along as Rocket masters the alphabet, sounds out words, and finally ... learns to read all on his own. Fresh, charming art by Tad Hills, the author & illustrator of Duck & Goose, will make this a favorite. (Goodreads summary)

How Rocket Learned to Read by Tad Hills is an encouraging picturebook about learning to read and the love of reading.
(Apparently also marketed as an easy reader, some of the vocabulary is above easy reading level).

The text moves the story along nicely, but th
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
Rocket is a playful, busy dog whose life changes when he meets a yellow bird who teaches him the alphabet and reads stories to him. This is like the playful child who enters school and finds a whole new world opening up. It's a simple story that will give preschoolers a heads up as to what they might learn in school and will show them that it will be fun. I liked the way the bird enticed Rocket, who was initially uninterested, to join the class, by reading a story aloud, within Rocket's hearing, ...more
Jan 17, 2013 Ashley rated it it was amazing
Audience: The audience for this book would be primary grades. Kindergarten to second grade would enjoy this book because it is about learning how to read.

Appeal: This book is appealing to kindergartners up to second graders because they too much like Rocket are in the process of learning how to read. They are learning from a teacher and practicing independently to master such skills. Students can connect to listening to stories, learning the alphabet, learning to say and spell words, using words
Sep 07, 2010 Sarah rated it it was amazing
Rocket has had a busy day and is ready for a nap when a little yellow bird arrives and wants to teach him how to read. Rocket isn’t sure he wants to be the bird’s student -- there are sticks to catch and dog things to do, but he’s soon hooked on the little bird’s story times about a dog named Buster, and soon he has developed a friendship with his teacher and is learning to read himself. This is a great book to share with any child who is learning to read - it helps children and caregivers devel ...more
Kathleen Ferrel
Jun 04, 2012 Kathleen Ferrel rated it liked it
How Rocket Learned to Read This is a very cute story about a puppy who learns to read (as the title indicates). I enjoyed the illustrations and I especially loved how the author incorporated a little yellow bird, the puppies teacher, who makes reading and learning fun for the puppy.

This book would appeal to elementary children (grades K-3rd) who are learning to read, interested in learning to read or just simply enjoy reading! This book is from the Golden Sower Award list.
May 04, 2016 Anneliese rated it it was amazing
Some things can be small but with a big mind
Mar 21, 2011 Laura rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s, 2011, picture
A little yellow bird teaches Rocket the dog how to read. Rocket, a charming puppy, doesn't want to go to school but is interested in the little yellow bird's story. After convincing the puppy to come to school, the little yellow bird teaches him the alphabet and the sounds that each letter makes. The bird flies south for the winter but Rocket continues to practice his reading skills. My favorite part is when Rocket spells his friends' names. A cute story about a sweet friendship and a little dog ...more
Jan 27, 2010 Angela rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Tad Hills has lent his talented mind and hand to a wonderful new picture book about learning to read. In this new literary adventure, we follow Rocket as he discovers the joys of reading. Rocket's teacher is an enthusiastic, motivated and cunning little yellow bird who could convince the most reluctant reader to jump right in. Beginning with the alphabet, then learning to construct words, and finally, Rocket and the little yellow bird share the joy of discovering stories. A must for book-loving ...more
Kay Carman
Feb 23, 2016 Kay Carman rated it really liked it
Shelves: wishlist, reading
I read hundreds and hundreds, if not thousands, of picture books in a year but only post those I like the very best here - those I'd like to have for my home library or that I can't wait to fit into a storytime.

Rocket lays down under a tree to take a nap and finds a pushy bird on the branch above, determined to make him her first student. At first he's disturbed by her reading aloud to him, but quickly is drawn into the story of an unlucky dog named Buster who's lost his bone. Rocket returns to
Catherine Chang
Nov 15, 2015 Catherine Chang rated it really liked it
This book tells a story of a dog, Rocket. Rocket likes to play freely outside. He is not interested in learning to read at all until he meets a bird who tells him a very captivating story but keeps the ending a secret. Rocket is so curious that he starts to learn reading by remembering the name and sound of letters, and finally be able to read by himself. This book is a great one for teaching children letter names and letter sound. Teacher can pronounce the sound of each letter and then the whol ...more
Mar 21, 2015 Michelle rated it it was amazing
Shelves: slib-520
Picture Book

How Rocket Learned to Read Hardcover – July 27, 2010
by Tad Hills (Author, Illustrator)


Best Books :
Best Children's Books of the Year, 2011 Bank Street College of Education
Choices, 2011 Cooperative Children's Book Center
NYPL Children's Books 2012, 2012 New York Public Library
Smithsonian Notable Book for Children, 2010 Smithsonian Magazine

Awards, Honors & Prizes :
Children's Choice Book Award, 2011 Finalist United States
Irma S. Black and James H. Black Awa
Lauren Carlson
Feb 19, 2015 Lauren Carlson rated it really liked it
how Rocket Learned to Read by Tad Hills is a story of a little dog named Rocket that could not read. He laid by a sign on the tree that said “class starts today”, a little yellow bird flew by Rocket and was happy that someone was in its class. Rocket did not want to be in class, he just wanted to take a nap. Then the little yellow bird read a story about a dog named Buster and him losing his bone. The little bird did not finish the story and Rocket wanted to know the ending so the next morning ...more
Bethley Giles
Oct 19, 2014 Bethley Giles rated it it was amazing
Shelves: libs642
Hills, Tad. How Rocket Learned to Read. New York: Schwartz & Wade, 2010.
Teacher's Choice 2011

How Rocket Learned to Read is a wonderful book that shows the natural process of learning to read. Rocket the Dog is mesmerized by a story the Bird reads, and so joins her class. She teaches him the alphabet and letter sounds, but then has to leave for the winter. While she is gone, Rocket continues his study, spelling out everything he encounters. This book is just as much for teachers as it
Mar 07, 2014 Marilyn rated it it was amazing
This book is certainly a winner and it is quite understandable why it became a New York Times- bestselling picture book. If you are not familiar with Tad Hills's work then you are in for a treat indeed.

Rocket, an adorable little pup, loves chewing sticks and having naps. One day his whole life changes. He hears someone reading a story out loud. He is so enamoured by the story that he comes back the next day to find out how the story ends. The story reader is an irresistible, smart yellow bird w
Jun 01, 2014 Alicia rated it it was amazing
1. Opening: Looking at the title, what do you think this book might be about? (Possible response: I think it will be about an animal that learns to read.) Which animal do you think will be learning to read? (Possible response: The dog will, because his name is Rocket!) How many of you know how to read? How did you learn? (Take responses from students or have them share with a partner so that everyone gets a chance to share.) I remember when I learned to read. I was about your age, and once I lea ...more
Emily Patterson
Nov 28, 2010 Emily Patterson rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture
This delightful story features a quirky yet recognizable pair (the initially reluctant student and the enthusiastic teacher) in the unlikely form of a dog and a little yellow bird. The text, a charming hymn to the "wondrous, mighty, gorgeous alphabet," begs re-reading as much as the charming, tranquil illustrations invite a second look. A creative introduction to reading through onomatopoeia and a fun read-aloud for both children and adults.
May 08, 2011 Glenda rated it it was amazing
The best thing about this book is what Tad Hills doesn't say about how his dog Rocket learns to read. Rocket doesn't sit in front of a computer screen, an "educational" children's show, or a canned curriculum program to learn to read. Rocket learns to read by experiencing the world, and his teacher is a bird. Read: nature, Hills' nod to Thoreau, who went to the woods to learn. This is a fantastic picture book.
Jayme Taylor
May 02, 2016 Jayme Taylor rated it really liked it
This is a story about Rocket, a dog who is learning to read. One day rocket stumbles upon a little yellow bird, who reads him a story and he becomes captivated. The little yellow bird becomes rocket's teacher, and teaches him to read.

This book is a great start for children who are learning to read, or even learning the alphabet. It will help get children excited, because they are learning to read along with Rocket. The book spells out words for children which provides a great interactive readin
Mar 16, 2014 Jill rated it it was amazing
Author: Tad Hills

Illustration: Tad Hills

Title: How Rocket Learned to Read

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade Books

Copyright: 2010

Genre: Picture Book

Grade Level/ Age: 5 – 7

Lexile: AD600L

Rating: 5

Summary/Reason for Rating: This is a story about a dog named Rocket who learns to read from a little yellow bird. I rate this book with a 5 because of the feeling I felt while reading this book and looking at the pictures. The dog and the little yellow bird are adorable and it’s sweet how they become friends;
Jared White
Feb 15, 2016 Jared White rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
First the "negative," based on the pictures (they're just so darn adorable) you may think this is for the very youngest tykes but there's actually quite a bit of text, so they probably wouldn't sit through the whole thing. I'm talking about preschool and under, I think most pre-k and over would really enjoy it. After all, it's about a cute little bird who teaches an adorable dog to read.

It's also great because it does a good job of showing some of the wonders of reading, of how stories can make
Teacher 007.5
Dec 15, 2014 Teacher 007.5 rated it it was amazing
All Rocket wanted to do was enjoy a wonderful day of snoozing but a little bird had other ideas. As Rocket rested under the shade of a tree a bird pops up and welcomes him to class. When Rocket shows no interest, the bird plops down and begins to read a book out loud. Not just any book, but a book about a dog and a bone. NOW, Rocket is interested. The little bird then goes on to teach Rocket the letters of the alphabet and how to spell. When school closes for the winter, Rocket continues to stud ...more
The Library Lady
Oct 21, 2010 The Library Lady rated it really liked it
It's tickling my saccharine meter ever so subtly, but I'll give it a pass as this is a story with which many young reluctant readers may identify.
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“Whenever I picture myself [as a child],” says Tad Hills, “I am doing art. I spent a lot of time on my own making things, drawing, and painting.” Hills was not consciously trying to become an artist, rather his motives were innocent and pure. “I liked making things,” he says.

As a graduate of Skidmore College in New York with a degree in art, Hills describes himself as the ultimate freelancer. He’s
More about Tad Hills...

Other Books in the Series

Rocket and the Little Yellow Bird (3 books)
  • Rocket Writes a Story
  • Rocket's Mighty Words (Oversized Board Book)

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