Ricky Rocket

Books and activities to build background knowledge — from Reading Rockets

collage of images of kids learning through books and hands-on activities

Active Reading

upshot of man reading to a child while outside

Learn more about reading aloud with children (and how to do dynamic read alouds), choosing great kids’ books, building background knowledge, reading fluency, strengthening vocabulary and word knowledge, and how to encourage children to write.


Reading Aloud

Reading aloud is one of the most important things parents can do with their children. Reading aloud builds many important foundational skills, introduces vocabulary, provides a model of fluent, expressive reading, and helps children recognize what reading for pleasure is all about. See Reading Aloud section ›

Building Background Knowledge

When kids have lots of experiences to draw on, they have a better chance of making a connection with what they read! Help children build background knowledge this summer with these tips and activities. See Building Background Knowledge section ›

Choosing and Using Kids’ Books

Delight, educate, and inspire the kids you care about with children's books! Below are ideas on how to build a great home library, tips on how to choose books for your child, links to themed booklists, and more. See Choosing and Using Kids’ Books section ›

Reading Fluency

Fluency is a critical skill for a young reader — evidence that he is comfortable "decoding" the words on the page and can read aloud with expression. If your child is struggling with fluency, there are simple things you can do at home to help build confidence and skills. See Reading Fluency section ›

Vocabulary and Word Play

Building a large "word bank" is one of the best ways to help children with reading comprehension. Get tips and ideas for strengthening children's word knowledge and sense of play in learning new words. See Vocabulary and Word Play section ›

The Importance of Summer Reading

For many children, learning slows way down (or even stops) during the summer. Poorer families often miss out on the opportunities that wealthier families take for granted: enrichment camps, lots of books at home, regular visits to the library and museums, and family road trips that keep young minds engaged and build background knowledge. The Importance of Summer Reading ›

Parent Tips for Reading, Writing, and Learning

From tips on building background knowledge to strengthening writing skills, get ideas for active learning all year round. See Parent Tips section ›

Summer Reading Tips to Go

Our summer learning tips provide ideas to jumpstart reading, writing, and simple science activities for you and your child. You’ll receive 3-4 text messages each week, all summer long. We hope these tips will help you and your kids have a summer full of learning and fun! Sign up for summer reading tips ›

Adventure tracker

Adventure Tracking Chart

Learn all year long in your own community! Track your learning adventures with our downloadable map and log sheet. Match your adventures with our Start with a Book themes — and find lots of related books, activities and apps to extend the learning.

Download your adventure tracker ›

Book tracker

Reading Log for Kids

Log and rate all of your summer and afterschool reading!

Download your book tracker ›