Close Reading with Paired Text: An Interview of Dr. Tim Rasinski & Lori Oczkus

conducted by Dr. Sam Bommarito

Recently I had the honor of interviewing two major figures from the literacy world, Dr. Tim Rasinski and Lori Oczkus. While they really need no introduction, I’ll begin by sharing a few facts about each of them.

Here are a few facts about Tim taken from his biography on his website

•  Timothy Rasinski is a professor of literacy education at Kent State University

•  He is the director of its award-winning reading clinic. He has written over 200 articles and has authored, co-authored or edited over 50 books on curriculum programs in reading education.

•  His research on reading has been cited by the National Reading Panel and has been published in many professional journals.

•  He was the first author of the fluency chapter for the Handbook of Reading Research.

•  He was the co-editor of The Reading Teacher & Journal of Literacy Research.

•  In 2010, Dr. Rasinski was elected into the International Reading Hall of Fame.

This biography  is taken from Lor’s website:

  • Lori Oczkus is a literacy coach, author, and popular speaker across the United States. Tens of thousands of teachers have attended her motivating, fast paced workshops and read her practical, research-based professional books. Lori has extensive experience as a bilingual elementary teacher, intervention specialist working with struggling readers, and staff developer and literacy coach. She works with students in classrooms and knows the challenges that teachers face in teaching students to read!
  • Lori’s best selling books on comprehension and literacy have been featured in the Reading Teacher journal. The third edition of Reciprocal Teaching at Work: Strategies for Improving Reading Comprehension foreword by John Hattie (ASCD, 2018 book and video) features 40 new lessons and is endorsed by many noted reading experts including Donalyn Miller, Tim Rasinski, Doug Fisher, and Regie Routman. Lori has been inducted into the California Reading Hall of Fame for her many contributions to literacy in California and internationally.
  • Lori resides in Reno, Nevada near Lake Tahoe with her husband, Mark. She enjoys spending time with her three grown children, traveling anywhere by any means, reading historical fiction, walking with friends, dancing, and snowshoeing!

As you will hear in the video interview, Tim and Lori’s sessions at ILA have always been well attended, standing room only events. Who wouldn’t want to hear one of the top researchers in the world, and a gifted practitioner talk about their collaborations?  This interview focuses on one of their most effective collaborations- the book series Close Reading with Paired Texts. In the interview, you will find out where the idea for the series came from and how they implemented it. The series is an amazing resource. Using short preselected readings, the series provides teachers with easy-to-implement lessons. Lori will talk about just how effective those lessons have proved to be in the field. There are books spanning KG through High School. The series has multiple uses. Lori and Tim discuss those in the interview. Here are the questions they answered. They are time-stamped so you can go to the questions that interest you the most first. If you are looking for effective, easy-to-implement reading interventions, please do give this interview a look and a listen. The questions asked are as follows:

  1. Would you each tell us a little bit about yourselves?

Tim 00:48

Lori 01:46

  • What is the rationale for the Close Reading with Paired Texts? 04:05
  • Is this a substitute for a regular reading program? 11:44
  • How have teachers and students responded to this program (Lori, I think you have info on this, with improvements in students achievement levels.  14:45
  • Final Thoughts? 22:30

I hope you enjoy the interview. Now here are some additional resources from Lori and Tim.




Screen Capture of Page One of the  Lori’s PDF

Note Screen capture link to materials is not functional- here is the functional link to the materials:

Close Reading with Paired Texts | Teacher Created Materials

Here is a link to the full 5 page PDF- LOTS of nuts and bolts ideas about implementing this program. It includes one complete sample lesson  LINK

Close Reading with Paired Texts k-12 series  by Lori Oczkus and Timothy Rasinski, Shell 2105 LINK

For Reciprocal Teaching at Work by Lori Oczkus, foreword by John Hattie, 2019 ASCD. LINK

Article with ILA on Close Reading plus video and bookmark LINK

 (blog and free resources)

@timrasinski1  Twitter- Tim posts on Twitter every MWF, giving  free resources each day

 Daily Word Ladders by Timothy Rasinski is available at:

 The Megabook of Fluency is available at:

 The Fluent Reader can be found at:

 Resources for Building Students’ Vocabulary and Word Knowledge are available at:

Next week I’ll be interviewing Nicki Simonetti, a long-time Dyslexia expert about her new book Dyslexia Defused. Until then:

Happy Reading and Writing,

Dr. Sam Bommarito, aka the centrist who uses ideas from all sides to inform his teaching

Copyright 2021 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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