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The Ruggit

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By Debbie Pullingerfreelance writer

Join Yellow Door and blast into space for an alien adventure to develop your children’s phonic awareness

If you are struggling to find enjoyable books that are decodable in the early stages of Letters and Sounds, you will love Yellow Door’s new Ragtag Rhymes series. This article focuses on The Ruggit a new title from the series. The aim of Ragtag Rhymes is to offer children rich, using knowledge acquired in Letters and Sounds Phase 2. As a result, they will learn about the joys of reading at the same time as they acquire the skills of decoding text.

Read the books aloud to let the children enjoy the humour, rhyme and alliteration. Explore and talk about the pictures, and encourage the children to apply their developing phonic knowledge to the text. Each book focuses on a particular initial letter sound, in this case r. All of the stories use only the letter-sound correspondences plus the high frequency words from Phase 2 of the Letters and Sounds programme.

Discuss the cover

Talk about The Ruggit’s cover (Open the eBook, available below). Read the title, noting that it contains a nonsense word, and invite the children to comment on what they think it refers to. (The purple character in the illustration.) Then look at the illustration as a class and ask the children what they think the book might be about and what sort of character the ‘ruggit’ is. Do the children agree with each other?

Talk about the text

As you read the story with the children, draw their attention to:

  • the tricky words the and to
  • the two-syllable words ruggit, pocket, parrot and rocket
  • the last line – what is p-p-p-p-p? (The sound of the rocket.)

Ragtag talk

  • Talk about the ruggit’s name and the letter it begins with. Look for other words in the text that begin with r.
  • Look together at words that rhyme.
  • Can the children tell you where the story is set? (On another planet.)
  • What other objects are visible in the sky? (Stars, a planet, a flying saucer.)
  • What sort of character does the ruggit appear to be? (We are not told very much at all, so we can only infer from the pictures.)
  • Where do the children think the rocket has come from? Why does the ruggit and its companions run to the rocket? (There are no right answers, so encourage the children to speculate and make up their own stories.)
  • What do the children think about the rock? Do rocks usually have feelings and emotions? Talk about the fact that a rock is not a living thing and that only living things have feelings. Explain that this story is set on another planet, where there might be living rocks. Can the children say why the rock might be feeling sad? (Perhaps because it will be left alone.)
  • Ask the children if they think anything else might live on the planet. If so, what sort of things (objects or creatures) might they be?

Small-world play

Make a small-world space scene using a tray of silver sand with some rocks, a toy rocket, some play figures and a dark blue backdrop with sequins or shiny paper stars. Encourage the children to invent their own space adventures.


Using classroom instruments, create a three-part soundtrack for The Ruggit poem. Let one group of children create a sound picture of the scene on the planet, including twinkling stars and a flying saucer. Ask the second group to create a sound picture of the three creatures ‘running’ to the rocket. Encourage them to think about what sound each creature would make (note that the parrot is flying rather than running).

Challenge the third group to create the sounds of the rocket. Tell them to think about what it would sound like preparing for takeoff, taking off, and then getting further and further away.

Invite the children to play their soundtrack in sequence, prompting each group as you read the story. Record a reading of the poem with the finished soundtrack.


Talk about the stars in the picture. Why can we see stars shining at night? (They give out light.) What else in the story gives out light? (The fire from the rocket.) Talk about other things that shine in the dark (torches, candles, streetlights), and the difference between things that give out light and things that reflect light. Make a display of ‘night lights’.

Ragtime Rhymes

The Ruggit is one of six titles in Ragtag Rhymes Set 2, published by Yellow Door. The ideas in this article are taken from Debbie Pullinger’s Ragtag Rhymes Set 2 Teacher’s Guide, free with the pack of books. For more information, visit

Yellow Door is offering ChildEd PLUS a ten per cent discount on Ragtag Rhymes. Call 0845 503 6903 and quote ‘Child Education May 2009 offer’ to claim your discount.

Art and design

Design, plan and make either one large rocket or several smaller ones. Think about the shapes and what materials you will need. Try making a large rocket that a child can fit in, which can then be used for role play and drama activities.

Reasons for writing

Can the children suggest where the ruggit and its companions might go next? Invite them to draw the scene and write a suitable caption to describe it.