LANGUAGE! Live offers more for struggling readers than any other product. Proven foundational and advanced reading intervention. Peer-to-peer instruction. Literacy brain science. A captivating modern, digital platform for grades 5–12. All
in one affordable solution. More is possible
Grades K-5 blended literacy intervention
Grades K-5 online reading practice
Grades 4-12 print literacy program
Grades K-12 writing program
Grades 4-12 literacy intervention
TransMath® Third Edition is a comprehensive math intervention curriculum that targets middle and high school students who lack the foundational skills necessary for entry into algebra and/or who are two or more years below grade level in
A targeted math intervention program for struggling students in grades 2–8 that provides additional opportunities to master critical math concepts and skills.
Empowers students in grades K–8 to master math content at their own pace in a motivating online environment.
Inside Algebra engages at-risk students in grades 8–12 through explicit, conceptually based instruction to ensure mastery of algebraic skills.
Developed by renowned literacy experts Dr. Louisa Moats and Dr. Carol Tolman,
LETRS® is a flexible literacy professional development solution for preK–5 educators. LETRS earned the International Dyslexia Association's Accreditation and provides teachers with the skills they need to master the fundamentals
of reading instruction—phonological awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension, writing, and language.
Literacy solutions guided by the Science of Reading pedagogy, the Structured Literacy approach, and explicit teaching of sound-letter relationships for effective reading instruction.
NUMBERS is an interactive, hands-on mathematics professional development offering for elementary and middle school math teachers.
Best Behavior Features Elements to Create a Happy, Healthy School Environment
Look to ClearSight to measure student mastery of state standards with items previously used on state high-stakes assessments. ClearSight Interim and Checkpoint Assessments include multiple forms of tests for grades K–high school.
Reliable, Research-Based Assessment Solutions to Support Literacy and Math
Assess essential pre-literacy and oral language skills needed for kindergarten.
Enhance early reading success and identify students experiencing difficulty acquiring foundational literacy skills.
A universal screening and progress monitoring assessment that measures the acquisition of content-area literacy skills for 7th and 8th grade students.
A companion tool for use with Acadience Reading K–6 to determine instructional level and progress monitoring.
Assess critical reading skills for students in grades K–6 and older students with very low skills.
Predict early mathematics success and identify students experiencing difficulty acquiring foundational math skills.
Give educators a fast and accurate way to enter results online and receive a variety of reports that facilitate instructional decision making.
A brief assessment that can be used with Acadience Reading K–6 to screen students for reading difficulties such as dyslexia.
A new, online touch-enabled test administration and data system that allows educators to assess students and immediately see results, providing robust reporting at the student, class, school, and district levels.
Unparalleled support for our educator partners
We work with schools and districts to customize an implementation and ongoing support plan.
Grades 5-12 blended literacy intervention
Flexible literacy professional development solution for preK–12 educators.
Focused on engaging students with age-appropriate instruction and content that supports and enhances instruction.
Reading intervention for grades K–5.
At Voyager Sopris Learning®, our mission is to work with educators to help them meet and surpass their goals for student achievement.
Step Up to Writing®
This school year, the importance of closing reading gaps and maintaining strong skills is more important than ever due to COVID learning loss and a shift to remote learning. Join us for a timely and insightful podcast with respected literacy expert and
author Dr. Tim Rasinski, as he discusses the long-term impact of COVID learning loss on reading fluency and skills. Dr. Rasinski will share strategies educators can use to help students maintain strong reading skills, whether they are learning remotely
or in the classroom.
Timothy Rasinski is a professor of literacy education at Kent State University and director of its award-winning reading clinic. He also holds the Rebecca Tolle and Burton W. Gorman Endowed Chair in Educational Leadership. Dr. Rasinski has written more than 200 articles and has authored, co-authored or edited more than 50 books or curriculum programs about reading education. He is author of the best-selling books about reading fluency, The Fluent Reader and The Megabook of Fluency. His scholarly interests include reading fluency and word study, reading in the elementary and middle grades, and readers who struggle. His research about reading has been cited by the National Reading Panel and has been published in journals such as Reading Research Quarterly, The Reading Teacher, Reading Psychology, and the Journal of Educational Research. Dr. Rasinski is the first author of the fluency chapter for the Handbook of Reading Research, Volume IV.
He served a three-year term on the board of directors of the International Reading Association and was co-editor of The Reading Teacher, the world's most widely read journal of literacy education. He has also served as co-editor of the Journal of Literacy Research and is past president of the College Reading Association; he has won the A. B. Herr and Laureate Awards from the College Reading Association for his scholarly contributions to literacy education. In 2010, Dr. Rasinski was elected to the International Reading Hall of Fame.
Prior to Kent State University, he taught literacy education at the University of Georgia. He taught for several years as an elementary and middle school classroom and Title I reading intervention teacher in Omaha, NE. He is a veteran of the United States Armed Forces.
Reading Rangers is a meaningful reading practice program filled with engaging experiences that help improve fluency and comprehension. Use it with any core curriculum.
Disclaimer: *Dr. TIm Rasinski does not endorse or make any representations or warranties about any of the products in this email nor is he affiliated with Voyager Sopris Learning.
Narrator: Welcome to EDVIEW360.
Tim Rasinski: What we found is pretty, pretty convincing evidence that when you bring fluency into the classroom or into the intervention setting, you're going to help kids become not just better readers, not just better oral readers, but actually better comprehenders, so it really is something that has been neglected. But I think finally we realized that it can no longer be neglected. It has to be part of our reading curriculum.
You just heard Dr. Tim Rasinski, a literacy researcher and expert, as well as the professor of literacy education at Kent State University. Dr. Rasinski is our guest today on EDVIEW360. Here's your host, Pam Austin.
Pam Austin: This is Pam Austin. Welcome back to the EDVIEW360 podcast series. We are so excited to have you back with us. I'm conducting today's podcast for my native New Orleans, channeling the heart of Voyager Sopris Learning® in Dallas, TX. Today, we are honored to have with us Dr. Tim Rasinski. Hello, Dr. Rasinski, welcome. We're so happy to have you here today.
TR: Well, thanks Pam. I'm so glad to be here with you today and to talk about a topic that is very near and dear to me, reading fluency.
Oh yes. Tell us a little bit about your background and how you became involved in education and your love of reading fluency here.
TR: OK. Well, it's kind of interesting. I did not start out to be a teacher or an educator. My undergraduate degree is actually in economics. I guess I wanted to be a banker, make lots of money. But at the time I just had gotten out of college and I was actually in the service and I happened to be working with/in groups, like Big Brothers and programs for kids.
And I had friends who were telling me, Tim, you ought to be a teacher. You seem to work really well with kids. Well, that was pretty much the last thing I wanted to do. I have family members who are teachers and I saw how hard they worked. And I said, that's the last thing I want to do. But anyways, they convinced me to give it a try and well, the rest is history. Here I am today, and I think I've made a great choice, and had a great career, met great people. I think teachers are some of the best people in the world. They're my heroes for sure. How did I get into reading fluency? Well, I started out as a upper-elementary grade teacher, fourth, fifth, sixth grade, and developed an interest in kids who are having difficulty in reading, so I decided to put in my application to becoming an intervention teacher.
And I thought I was really hot stuff. I was working on my master's degree at the time, same time working with kids. And, well, it turned out I wasn't such a great intervention teacher as I thought I would be. I was doing all the things that I was taught, teach kids phonics, develop their vocabulary, teach them comprehension strategies, build their background knowledge. And yet I had kids who were still not making progress. They were kind of bouncing along the bottom. I couldn't budge them off the dime. Well, fortunately for me, as I mentioned, I was doing my master's degree and this is more than 40 years ago, but there began to appear in the professional literature that the professors had us reading, some articles that began to appear on this thing called reading fluency.
I wasn't sure, I even knew what reading fluency was. You know, I certainly knew the term, but what did it have to do with reading? Well, I read these articles and they really hit home for me. And I decided to try some of these methods that they were talking about. No. 1, the method of repeated readings; No. 2, assisted reading, and lo and behold, these kids who previously were hardly making any progress at all, began to take off, and in some cases, it was really quite breathtaking. From that experience working directly with kids in a school, I went on with my masters and my doctorate and focusing all the time on reading fluency. And it really has become a game changer I think for many children.
PA: Right. What a journey there always is a story limping, leading to another isn't there.
PA: Through your experiences you became an expert, I would say in reading fluency. Why is reading fluency important for proficient reading?
TR: Yeah. People ask that question all the time. You know, part of the reason is that fluency has been neglected and misunderstood over the years. And, so, one of my missions in life is try to explain what reading fluency is and why it is important. Some people have described reading fluency as a bridge between two major competencies that we teach kids. On one end, imagine a river, and you have two banks on this river. At one bank, you have a phonics, and word study, and vocabulary. And at the other end, you have comprehension. As I mentioned earlier, two of the main competencies that kids need to develop to become readers. But somehow you have to connect those two and that's what reading fluency is. It's that bridge from phonics and word study all the way over to comprehension.
There's two major, well actually, maybe even three major components to fluency. One is this ability to recognize words automatically or effortlessly. We call that automaticity. And that's actually the part of the bridge that connects to phonics. When we teach phonics, we teach kids to just decode words accurately, and that's fine. But what we really want kids to do is decode words automatically or effortlessly so that all their mental energy can be devoted to comprehension. I often say a quote that is often attributed to me is that the goal of phonics instruction is to get kids not to use phonics. Then, we have this other part of fluency it's called prosody or expression. If I think about somebody who's a fluent speaker or fluent reader, it's not somebody who talks fast or reads fast. It's somebody who uses their voice to make meaning they get loud, and soft, and fast, and slow.
They have dramatic pauses. And what they're doing is they're actually adding to the meaning of the text. Maya Angelou had a famous quote in her poem I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and she talks about, it's not just the words on print that carry the meaning. It's the way those words are interpreted and expressed by human beings. The human voice makes such a powerful contribution to meaning. And, so, that's the other part of fluency, the expression part, the reading and phrases. When we teach phonics, we teach kids individual words, but we need to take those words and put them into phrases and put them into sentences. And that's what prosody helps us to do. So, it's that bridge. And for many of our kids, if you're a normal developing reader, that bridge develops on its own, just through lots and lots of practice and reading. But for our kids, especially the ones who struggle and our younger readers, that bridge doesn't always develop the way we would like it.
And, so, these kids need this assistance on us, from teachers helping them to create that bridge, using those strategies that we often talk about associated with reading fluency. And the research has borne this out. Along with three other colleagues a few years ago, I wrote the fluency chapter for the Handbook of Reading Research. We looked at the research related to reading fluency. And what we found is there is pretty convincing evidence that when you bring fluency into the classroom or into the intervention setting, you're going to help kids become not just better readers, not just better oral readers, but actually better comprehenders. So, it really is something that has been neglected. But I think finally, we can realize that it can no longer be neglected. It has to be part of our reading curriculum.
PA: Right. Oh, that's just wonderful explanation there, because the goal of learning to read is to comprehend.
And if you don't build the bridge between the two, the idea of automaticity, right. Reading with ease and prosody, reading with expression.
That's the goal. Yeah. Thank you for sharing.
Yeah. Think about those kids who are the ones who struggle. They can read the words they're stuck on that Island, where there are, the side of the bank called phonics. Yeah, they can read the words, but they read those words so slowly, without any enthusiasm, word by words, staccato reading. I often say, God bless these kids for working so hard, but they're putting all their effort in the wrong area, what we want them to be as so effortless in reading those words that they can extract the meaning out of the texts that they're reading.
Right. Extract the meaning, find a joy in reading as well, I would say.
Yeah. Joyful reading.
What are your thoughts about the pandemic and how it has affected students, especially regarding literacy? And what do you think about those long-term effects? We have to consider that, right? Will students be able to make up for this learning loss?
Yeah. And you know, that's a great question and it's really hard to tell at this particular point, but what I do know though, is that reading is fundamentally a social activity. When we read, we often want to read to people, we want to read with people. We want to talk with other people about what we've read and where's the best place for this to happen? Oh, in a classroom, if you're a child developing, developing as a reader. How can we get this to happen when kids are not in the classroom or when we have to ask them to be socially distanced in the classroom settings now with this pandemic going on? So, that's really a challenge. And another one that I think of is motivation. How can we motivate kids? Especially in an online environment, it's one thing to be in a classroom and read to kids and then say, “OK, how about you taking over and reading this great story?” But can you do it in an online environment?
Yes, you can. But it's going to be more of a challenge therein, and of course we obviously are more dependent on parents and family members to help us with this notion of motivation. But as far as learning loss, you mentioned that, we encounter this almost every year. We call it summertime. When kids are out of school, we know that a significant number of kids actually lose ground over the summer because they don't read. But what we also know is, it doesn't take too much effort to bring those kids back onboard as soon as we're back in school. So, I don't think that we're going to be in for long-term losses in terms of reading achievement, as long as we keep our eyes on the prize there, and keep that idea of motivation alive, and find ways of making reading that social interactive activity that it was meant to be.
Right. A challenge for the hard-working teacher, as you stated before.
Right. Well, you kind of led into my next question, Tim, when we think about all of the components of reading and all of the areas of reading, you mentioned that fluency. When we have that gap and for kids during the summer, how we're able to catch up. Will we be able to do that for our students? I mean, is this the literacy skill that is affected most about a pandemic? Kind of elaborate more on that.
Well, yeah, it's interesting because as I thought about your question, it actually occurred to me that fluency can lend itself really well to remote learning. And I'd like to just elaborate on that a little bit, there's two key approaches to developing fluency. One is called assisted reading and the other one's called repeated reading. Assisted reading is where students read something and they hear it read to them at the same time. And that can take a variety of forms. Oftentimes, it's a teacher sitting side by side reading with a child in a classroom, or an interventionist, or a volunteer. But it also can take a variety of forms that lend themselves to remote learning. For example, caption videos, same language subtitling lends itself very well. Suppose that we would have children say, watch caption television or watch YouTube videos where the captioning is presented.
They're seeing the words on the screen and they're hearing them at the same time. There's actually quite a bit of evidence that suggests that this could be quite a powerful tool. We also know that there are different kinds of applications that are being developed that can be used remotely for assisted reading. Apps, like VoiceThread or Audacity. These are devices where a teacher can record her or his voice and then send that recording to the student, whether it's in a classroom or across town to their home. And as long as the child has the text in front of them, they can read that text and listen to the teacher reading it to them at the same time, for as many times as they would like, so two, or three, or four readings there. And, again, there's actually some evidence that shows just how powerful this can be to develop not only fluency, but helping kids cross that bridge to comprehension.
The other one that I mentioned was this repeated reading. Repeated reading is really quite simple. It's you ask students to read something, not once, but two, three, four, five times until they can read that text fluently, where they read it at a level that a good reader would. The problem with that, and this is one that teachers have been challenged with for a number of years is how do you get kids to read something multiple times, right? You just say, “I want you to read this five times and tell me when you're done, we'll talk about it.” And I think you're going to get a lot of kids rolling their eyes at you. We need to give kids an authentic reason for repeated readings. And, for me, that reason is performance. If you're going to perform a poem, or be in a play, or sing a song for that matter for an audience you're going to rehearse and rehearsal is repeated readings.
If students know they're going to rehearse, then that they have a reason to practice. This talk I'm giving right now. Fortunately, you gave me a hint about some of the questions you were going to give me, so I had a chance to rehearse. And the reason I did was because I want to do as good a job as possible. I had a natural reason to do that. Now, this lends itself very well to remote environment also because we can find ways for kids to perform online, via their various Zoom-like applications where we can get together and have kids perform. In my own family, for example, I have four adult children and they live in different parts of the country. And every Sunday night we have family chat. We do it on Zoom. And what I've been doing lately is so usually Sunday evening, we do this, but on Sunday morning, I will send them a text and I will assign parts.
Usually it's a long or short script, not terribly long. And I give them parts. And what I say is, “OK, practice, rehearse. During our family chat, we're going to have a 10-minute poetry slam or we're going to perform this script.” And, you know what, we love it. This opportunity for every one of us to become a star. If we can create those kinds of situations for children, even in remote environments, I think we can go a long way to help develop fluent, authentic fluent readers in all our kids. Think about having a poetry slam with your class. And every child is assigned a poem that you've given them two or three days to rehearse. And then of course on that big day, we get together on Zoom and everybody gets to perform their poem. And then of course the following week, we do the same thing, except maybe we look at a poetry by a different poet, maybe David Harrison, or Brod Bagert, or Kenn Nesbitt some of these great poets for kids. Really fun stuff and lends itself very well.
Yes. I just love the various types of creative ways for practicing fluency. And you've actually answered my next question, which was how do we remain strong? How do we make sure our students are actually having the opportunity to practice fluency in a remote environment? You gave me many, many examples of both asynchronous and synchronous learning opportunities with assisted readings and repeated readings. And I'm sure lots of teachers are just really impressed with the variety of ways you can make it happen. I have to let you know that I watched your webinar and I loved your singing, Tim. It was great to hear.
Well, you better watch it, or I might break out in song right now.
Well, you're a man after my own heart because I'm a walking, talking musical myself.
Well, you are in New Orleans. How can you not be a musical person, right?
Most definitely. Now, I've got another question. You gave a lot of examples of what to do remotely, and I'm assuming you can do these types of fluency practices for prosody and of course, for automaticity in person as well.
When we think about kids who may not be taught remotely, but maybe they're taught in person and they're wearing masks, how does that affect that fluency practice? What advice do you have for teachers?
Yeah, that definitely is a problem because nowadays, kids in school are in many cases expected to wear masks appropriately so. And I think what we have to do is, as we've been talking as a nation, we have to go to the science and the science says we have to go to social distancing so that kids are separated if they take that mask down. We can find ways of keeping kids apart, creating barriers when they perform. One thing that came to my mind though, is actually having kids record. In many classrooms, there are recording studios, teachers have a little setup where kids can record themselves reading something. And that could be the performance where the kids read into the recording device.
And can you imagine then the teacher uploading that into the classroom website? Parents at home could listen, even though their children are in school, they could still listen to their children perform via the recording that's up on the classroom website. It is a problem with fluency, because a lot of fluency activities deal with oral reading. And we know that when you read orally or to speak orally, there's always that greater risk of transmitting the virus that we're so worried about. So, finding ways to keep ourselves distant, finding other ways for kids to actually record and perform their material, I think would work in a classroom as well as in online environments.
All right. Thank you. Such a variety of examples of ways that we could make it happen for students. Your advice would be, do not stay away from providing that practice, find ways to make it happen with precautions.
Yeah, the key is practice, and different sorts of practice, but make it authentic. Make it purposeful practice.
Now, you mentioned singing earlier. Tell us a little bit more about singing to help build fluency.
OK. Well, it's kind of interesting. I mentioned this term before earlier prosody, which is expression. When I first encountered this several years ago, linguists would tell me that prosody is the melody of language. And when I think of melody, the first thing that comes to my mind is song. It was just kind of a natural connection for me. And as far as using poetry also in song, I call these rhythmical texts. They're ideal for developing fluency and especially for our struggling readers. Think about the nature of a song or a poem. They're not terribly long. They have embedded in them rhythm, and rhyme, and melody. All those things that make them very accessible. It's not hard to learn a song. It's not hard to learn a poem because of the nature of these.
If you're talking about a younger child, or you're talking about a kid who's struggling, these things are just perfect I think for our kids. In our reading clinic here at Kent State, the clinic is for all kids who struggle and we find that fluency is a big issue with them. One of our goals for our kids is to learn to read something well every single day. These children have not experienced a lot of success in school. And, so, I want them when they come to our clinic, to everyday feel successful. Well, what can you learn to read in about an hour and 15 minutes or so, or less. Well, a poem or a song, so every day our children and I tell this to our clinicians, “We want these kids to be able to learn to read something well, so they can go out and walk up to mom or dad and say, ‘Mom, I can read something really well that I could not read at the beginning of the day.’” That sense of accomplishment.
And it's usually a poem or a song, and the kids just love it. Some of our scientists tell us that when we sing, something happens in our brains, that just makes it fun. It touches our hearts, and these are things we want to do with our kids. We don't want to read only for information we want to have that aesthetic experience also. And we want our kids to have that and songs certainly is one of those and poetry also for touching our hearts.
Yes, bringing back the joy of reading again. I'm seeing a theme flow through singing to build prosody. I love it.
When we think about success, building that success, it garners more success, doesn't it, Tim?
Exactly. Yeah. And just the opposite too, but yeah, if you're successful at something you want to keep building on that, but think about those if you're not successful. How many of us as adults do things we're not very good at? We tend to avoid those things and you can see that with children. If they don't see themselves growing like their classmates, in terms of their ability to read, they're going to start avoiding reading, start hating reading. And of course, that's the last thing we want kids to do. So, you're exactly right, Pam. We want kids to have that sense of success and that they're getting better and better all the time. And I think these kinds of texts that I mentioned to you, poetry, song, speeches for that matter. Speeches for American history, these are texts that lend themselves to reading with expression and learning to read well, and without too much effort.
Thank you, Tim. I've got another question for you who’d have thought, right?
Yeah, I know. Is this a quiz or what?
Yes. What can district and school leaders do to support their teachers? Educators are facing so many challenges this school year. How can the administrators support the teachers who are in the trenches?
Yeah, that's another great question. I think a couple things came to my mind as I thought about this. Obviously, if we're talking about remote environments for learning and teaching, teachers need that support there, they need the materials, the equipment, documents, cameras, technical support, training, all these things are...Many of the teachers I've been chatting with just over the last few months, all this got thrown on them within a matter of, in some cases, days back in March or so. And they had to learn it on the run and many of them still do not feel comfortable. What that teached us, our school administrators can really help and pick up the ball and provide that training and support for teachers. I mentioned another thing also is we're talking about remote in-home learning. Well, that means parents.
And how can we support parents, too? Not just in terms of the technical stuff, but also help parents develop strategies for helping their kids become better readers. For example, there's an activity called paired reading. It's really a very powerful technique. And it was actually developed for parent use by Dr. Keith Topping from the University of Dundee in Scotland. Basically, it's where mom or dad would sit down with their son or daughter for 10 minutes daily. And they would read out loud together. And then the child would point to the text as they're reading and they would read out loud, so the child is hearing mom or dad read, but they're also doing their own best to read with mom and dad. That simple activity has been found to accelerate children's progress in reading by a factor of three to five. Now, what does that mean?
Well, let's take a kid who is making a half months progress in reading for a month's worth of school. OK. They're making progress, but not the kind of progress we want them to make. Well, they start doing this 10-minute paired reading with mom or dad. And, now all of a sudden, they're starting to make one and a half to two and a half months progress for every month's worth of instruction.
It's almost unbelievable.
But the research is out there and it's pretty darn clear. And it's not just a matter of reading more fluently. We're finding progress in comprehension as well. If we could train parents and this is where school administrators could really give us a hand, bringing parents together and training them to do this. It doesn't take more than an hour or so. And then of course provide them with the support along the way. If you're not familiar with paired reading anybody out there, who's listening to this, all you need to do is go to YouTube and search paired reading P-A-I-R-E-D reading. And you'll find several examples, but it really is so simple to do. This is the kinds of things we should be doing as school districts, as state education agencies, to help parents and support them in ways that are not overly burdensome yet can have an impact on their kids' reading.
Right. Just another avenue to help build that bridge for phonics to comprehension, right?
Exactly. Make that bridge across the river.
Right. Very good. You've already actually given me some examples of various ways that we could help educators build that fluency. When we think about starting next year, is there any more that you would add that administrators and teachers really need to know about?
Yeah. It's not so much about fluency. It's actually, I think giving teachers more certainty. I know many of our schools here were, even into the middle of August, they didn't know whether or not the kids were going to be in person or being taught remotely. And for a teacher, you're talking about two different kinds of teaching here. If we could provide some degree of certainty for teachers so that they know what they're expected to do. And then also give teachers room to prepare, over this past summer, many of our teachers did not know what was going to happen and how were they supposed to prepare. If we could give teachers a little bit more time in advance and that opportunity to develop strategies and applications that they can apply once school starts, it will be very helpful.
We are nearing the end of our podcast. What is your best advice for teachers that supports building students' fluency this year? And what's the most important thing they can do to help their students no matter where their learning is occurring?
Oh, I've got a good answer for that. And it's really pretty simple, make it authentic. Teachers look for those materials that lend themselves to fluent reading, oral expression. And I mentioned these before, and I probably sound like a broken record, but poetry, songs, reader's theater scripts, oratory, dialogues, monologues. And in finding those kinds of materials that kids can really sink their teeth into and have fun with. Can you imagine now, right now it's October, when we're doing this podcast and next month is November. Well, November is the month that Abraham Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address. Can you imagine having students learn to read the Gettysburg Address or at least a portion of that, and then performing it on that special day. Government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from this Earth. Or, how about also Veterans Day is in November.
One of the things I've always loved doing with kids is saluting veterans. We'll take a group of kids down to the local American Legion Hall on the Saturday before or after Veterans Day. And we will do a little salute. We'll sing all those military service songs. And we'll ask the veterans to stand when they're hearing their song being sung. Over Hill, over Dale, as we hit the dusty trail, all the army guys stand up and we salute them. Off we go into the wild blue yonder and on and on. now I got myself singing, now I can't stop. Or, how about dialogues? One of my favorites is that old Abbott & Costello Who's On First. You can actually find that online. But can you imagine kids practicing and then performing it for an audience there? Give kids a reason to perform.
Have a weekly reader's theater performance or a weekly poetry slam where the kids get to perform their poem and we get to celebrate each other for the accomplishments that we have made through that fluent reading. Make it authentic and you're going to find kids really engaged because it's real life stuff.
Right. Authentic, meaningful opportunities to practice fluency. I absolutely love it. Well, finally, Tim, if you could wave a magic wand and change anything in the world of education, what would you change and why?
Oh, I thought you said if I could change anything and I would grow some hair on the top of my head, that was something that I would like to do, but you throw in it with the world of education, so I can't answer it that way. Well, those of you who have been following literacy education, which is probably everybody in the audience, knows that one of the hot topics has been the science of reading. We're supposed to follow the science much like we do with the pandemic here. And I absolutely agree with that. We need to teach phonics, phonemic awareness, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension, but there's another part to teaching also, it's an art.
It's not just a science, it's an art. That's why teaching is such a challenge. To be a great teacher, you have to be an artist and a scientist. And, so, we need to support our teachers in learning the science of teaching reading, but also the art of teaching reading. And you said it earlier, this word, creative, we need to give the teachers that opportunity to be creative, to use that creative streak that got them into teaching in the first place and create lessons that are not only scientifically valid, but lessons that are engaging and authentic and give kids a real reason to want to read. So, it's art and science that’s what it's all about.
Definitely going to remember that. Art and science, every teacher applying those skills. Please tell our listeners how they can learn more about you. How they can follow you on social media as well?
Sure. First of all, I'll give you my information. My email address, if you have any questions, you want to follow up, I'll spell it. It's actually my first initial T followed by my last name without the last letter. So it's T-R-A-S-I-N-S-K@kent. My university is Kent State University, so it's kent.edu. And I will tell you, I do answer my emails, so if you write to me with a question, or a comment, or a thought, I'll get back to you I promise. I have a website. My website is www.timrasinski.com T-I-M-R-A-S-I-N-S-K-I, reason I mentioned that is I have a lot of follow-up materials.
I do a blog where I put lessons in and ideas for teaching kids fluency and foundational reading skills, and many of the articles I've written over my 40 plus years in reading education, I've posted so you can get those as well, as well as other resources too. And, then finally, I will mention my Twitter feed, I guess it's called, or my Twitter handle. I've just gotten into this the last year. My Twitter feed is @TimRasinski1. So, it's my Tim Rasinski 1 at the end of that. And the reason why I do this is because ever since our pandemic started back in March, I've been doing three lessons every week. On every Monday, I do something called morphology Monday, where we examine a word root and help kids expand their vocabulary, using that word root. So, if you know that bi means two, you can figure out words like biplane, and binoculars, and biceps and so on.
On Wednesday, we do word ladder Wednesday. So, it's a lesson I post on my Twitter feed a word ladder is a little word-learning game that I helped develop, a lot of fun to do. And then on Fridays we do fluency Friday. And usually what I do is I take a theme, seasonal theme, like right now we're into autumn and I'll put up there a poem or some other texts related to autumn that teachers can use with their kids, whether at home or in school, and they can practice this autumn poem several times through and eventually perform it. I'm really excited about this. I challenged myself back in March. Can I create three lessons a week? And, so far, it's been working out and I've gotten great response from teachers around the country, actually around the world who have been using these lessons. So, @TimRasinski1, and look for me every Monday, Wednesday, Friday.
Thank you, Dr. Rasinski. It was a joy to have you with us. You've shared so much valuable information.
Thank you, Pam.
This is Pam Austin bringing the best thought leaders in education directly to you.
Narrator: This has been an EDVIEW360 podcast produced by Voyager Sopris Learning. For additional thought-provoking discussions, sign up for our blog, webinar, and podcast series at voyagersopris.com/podcast. If you enjoyed the show, we'd love a five-star review wherever you listen to podcasts, and to help other people like you find our show. Thank you.