Tim Rasinski Meets Me in St. Louis to Talk About the Art and Science of Reading
by Dr. Sam Bommarito
Yesterday was quite the adventure. My good friend Tim Rasinski was in town and asked if we could meet and talk about literacy. Of course, I said yes. And so, there we were in the Lafayette Square part of St. Louis, talking about the Art and Science of the teaching of reading. I have just got to show you a picture:
In his post about this on twitter Tim explained that the C on his cap stood for Cleveland not Chicago. He even quipped that it was also his college GPA (really? Hmm). Lots of folks commented about our little meeting including a friend of mine from London who shared a video of his 5-year-old grandson reading like a storyteller (don’t read like a robot- read with expression). Another of my friends said she wished she could have been a fly on the wall during the conversation. Decided I might grant that wish and talk a little about what we shared and most especially remind my readers about what Tim means when he says the teaching of reading is both art and science.
In the coming year I will be pushing into a local elementary school for two days a week. I will be doing that with cyber visits. I will use Zoom and my doc camera. I’ve talked about my doc camera a couple of times lately LINK1, LINK2. Here is the plan:
When I carry out my cyber-visit with each class, two first grades and two second grades, I will share a word ladder with them. When I do, I will put my doc camera to good use. The class will hear and see me live. The class and teacher can chime in as we all work the word ladder together. The teachers and I will select short passages (including lots of poems) from the Megabook of Fluency, the book Tim co authored with Melissa Cheeseman Smith. We will also be using one of his older books Phonics Poetry- Teaching Word Families. He and Belinda S. Zimmerman wrote that book back in 2001, I found my copy on Thrift books. The kids will practice reading the passages daily for about 5-7 minutes. Every two weeks they will “perform” their passage on Zoom. All this teaches the kids how words work and to read like storytellers. We are picking passages that support the progression of phonics skills found in their basal. So, the kids will learn a lot about sound-symbol relations as they do their repeated readings. It also teaches them to read like a storyteller. As you well know, Tim views fluency as more than just reading fast. He also includes prosody.
To see what that means, have a look at his reading rubric in the Megabook. Also have a look at my previous post about what Tim had to say on the topic of the teaching of reading as both art and science during a session he did for our local ILA in St. Louis a couple of year ago. Here is a LINK. There will be more to my push in’s than just the prosody part. I will be taking advantage of Raz Kids Plus to help the teachers carry out a guided reading program. Thanks to the features of Raz Kids Plus, we will be able to do a concurrent face to face/and distance learning program with kids from the on-site setting and the at home learners. Both will be able to be in the same reading group and meet in real-time. Again, this component will also reinforce the progression of skills found in their basal. I talked to Tim about how all that might work and picked his brain a bit about how to carry out this plan. It is a plan that might prove useful to any school that is carrying out face to face and distance learning currently. I will be sharing the details of how it is done in future blogs- so stay tuned!
Tim said something during our talk that really caught my attention. He said that the science of teaching reading can (and should) be used to inform teachers as they carry out the art of teaching reading. The science of reading informs the art of reading. WOW! Now that is worth thinking about. I found out Tim and some others have written an article about the Science and Art of Teaching Reading. It will be coming out in the next issue of the ILA’s national magazine, Literacy Today. I will be putting that article at the very top of things to read in September. (In case you missed it Tim did a very complete interview about the teaching of reading as both art and science in last December’s Robb Review. Here is the link https://therobbreviewblog.com/2019/12/)
In the meantime-
Happy Reading and Writing
Dr. Sam Bommarito (aka- the luckiest guy in the town of St. Lou)
Copyright 2020 by Dr. Sam Bommarito. Views/interpretations expressed here are solely the view of this author and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other person or organization.
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