The Missouri Reader Vol. 42, Issue 2 | Page 27



Nine Reasons Why I Like Poetry (and Song) for Teaching Reading

Timothy Rasinskil


For more see: Rasinski, T.:

Daily Word Ladders, K-1, 1-2, 2-4. 4-6. Scholastic.

Vocabulary Ladders, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Teacher Created Materials/Shell Education

Timothy Rasinski

Timothy Rasinskil

“The world is full of poetry. The air is living with its spirit; and the waves dance to the music of its melodies, and sparkle in its brightness.” James Gates PercivalSPECIAL SECTION- DIFFERENTIATION

students were asked to practice and then perform for classmates a new poem (or other short text) using the Fluency Development Lesson format (Rasinski, 2010). Each poem performance was followed with a brief exploration of and instruction in words from the poem. In approximately a four-month implementation (less than half a school year) of poetry reading and performance, Ms. Mackenzie found that her 3rd graders made over a year’s growth in reading achievement while her fourth-grade students made more than three-quarters of a year’s growth.

The world is indeed full of poetry. Yet, poetry (and song) may be some of the most underutilized texts in our reading classrooms today. Perhaps it’s time for reading educators to rethink the value and importance of these wonderful texts.

Rasinski, T. V. (2010). The Fluent Reader: Oral and silent reading strategies for building word recognition, fluency, and comprehension (2nd edition). New York: Scholastic.

Rasinski, T. V. & Smith, M. C. (2018). The Megabook of Fluency. New York: Scholastic.

Dr. Timothy Rasinski is a professor of literacy education at Kent State University and director of its reading clinic. He has written over 200 articles and has authored, co-authored, or edited over 50 books or curriculum programs on reading education. He's published numerous best-selling books. His scholarly interests include reading fluency and word study, reading in the elementary and middle grades, and readers who struggle. His research on 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.

Poetry -- A Word Ladder

Timothy Rasinski

Start with the word “Poetry” and guide students to each new word by changing the previous word slightly.

PoetryTake away 2 letter to make a person who writes poetry.

PoetTake away 1 letter to make something you boil water in.

PotRearrange the letters to make the opposite of bottom.

TopChange the vowel to make what you might do with your finger when you touch it against your desk or another person.

TapAdd 1 letter to make a device for catching animals or people.

TrapTake away 1 letter to make a form of popular music in which rhyming lyrics are spoken or chanted.

RapChange 1 letter to make a male sheep or what you might do to break down a locked door.

RamAdd 2 letters to the beginning to make a word you might use when you want someone to leave you alone.

ScramTake away 2 letters to make a name for a boy or girl.

SamAdd 1 letter to make a contest for performing poetry.