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Rooted in Language



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Regular price $5.00
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Rats! is a colorful picture book that includes step-by-step phonics strategies for successful reading and early writing practice. 

Students share the adventure of two rats who accidentally come upon the family cat. New readers build basic decoding skills as they follow these lovable rodents. Then, phonics knowledge is reinforced by writing copywork passages at the end of the story. 

Research reveals that teaching reading and writing together grows stronger literacy skills in students. Young readers need to practice handwriting skills, as well, so copywork practice is a necessary ingredient for growth!

Rats! also includes early suffix practice for engagement in simple word study. Learning to combine the skills of word study plus phonics builds the strongest foundation for reading fluency and accurate spelling.

All Rooted in Language products incorporate research-based methods to support students with dyslexia, dysgraphia, developmental language disorders, and other literacy-based struggles.


To purchase Rats! in paperback instead of PDF, buy on Amazon.

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  • Grade level: K-2 (can be modified for older students with reading struggles)
  • File count: 1 PDF
  • Page count: 27 pages
  • Picture book with supporting early phonics, reading, and handwriting instruction
  • Free downloads: 3 PDFs (33 pages) including Small Letter Tile Manipulatives (cardstock recommended); Short Vowels (1 page cardstock recommended); Handwriting Paper


Rats! introduces and practices the following:

  • Short vowel sounds and letter formation: a, i, o 
  • Consonant sounds and letter formation: c, h, n, p, r, s, t, and z
  • Punctuation: periods plus an exclamation and question mark
  • Suffix -s to create plurals and verb tense
  • Single-syllable short vowel words
  • Consonant digraph: sh
  • Onomatopoeia: pat, zzzz
  • Speech bubbles vs. thought bubbles

Frequently Asked Questions

Will Rats! help my student who struggles?

Yes. Regardless of age, students with learning struggles need to develop the foundational skills required for successful reading and writing. They need explicit and systematic instruction, with many opportunities to practice using text controlled for success. Rats! will be a welcomed addition to your controlled text library, and the PDF version will have an older “look” for older learners. The extra materials and supplemental lessons provided will inform the educator on the kinds of instruction that students with learning difficulties need. 

For additional support, consider Rats! in conjunction with our Pinwheels early literacy curriculum or our Foundations for Teaching Reading, Writing & Spelling educator course.


What is the best way to print the Rats! PDF?

Rats! should be printed single-sided or double-sided, one image per page, then stapled or spiral bound. Trimming pages to size is optional.


I purchased the paperback version of Rats! on Amazon? Are there any supplemental activities or resources to go with it?

Yes. Download the following free resources:

Customer Reviews

Based on 2 reviews
Ella, Amazon Review

This book has been a delightful entry-point for my late reader. The illustrations are delightful - sometimes illustrations can be a distraction to the text. I like how the author and illustrator keep things really simple - a needed attribute for the early or struggling reader. In addition to phonics practice, RATS! gives children an introduction to various punctuation (!!) and various other literary elements (thought clouds, onomatopoeia). I'm looking forward to more books like RATS!

Lee, Amazon Review

Rats is an interesting and imaginative way to introduce children to reading. Simple enough to be a quick lesson (or reminder) of vowels and reading, and imaginative enough to hold their young minds! The illustrations are adorable! Love this book for folks who are helping children learn to read!