Missouri Reader on poetry

Hi everyone,

There is more to this issue of Missouri Reader but a large section of it is dedicated to poetry. My thanks again to Sam Bommarito and Glenda Nugent for all their work to create this special issue of the Missouri IRA journal.

To see the entire issue, click on this link. https://joom.ag/o1ta To turn pages, hit the arrows at either margin. To increase font size, roll the top of your mouse forward or backward. To move around the page, move your mouse where you want to be. In the poetry section you’ll find beautiful articles by Mary Jo Fresch, Tim Rasinski, Eric Litwin, Melissa Cheesman Smith, William Kerns, Betty Porter Walls, and Molly Ness. My article also highlights our friend Susan Hutchens, April Halpin Wayland, and Missouri poets Constance Levy and Peggy Archer. Together it’s a joyful tour of how poetry enriches the learning experience of students and it provides numerous ways for teachers to make it all happen.

I hope you will give this issue a read and share it with as many people as you can. It is highly unusual to dedicate so much of an entire journal to the subject of poetry. Sam and Glenda have done their part so now I’d like to see the link shared as widely as possible. I haven’t asked if the editors would allow articles from this issue to be reprinted in other reading journal across the country, but I feel confident they would be happy to discuss that possibility as well as other ways of getting out the word!


Hi everyone,
My book with Tim Rasinski— Rhymes for the Times: Literacy Strategies through Social Studies — is off to a turtle-esque start and I need to pay more attention to marketing. I worked hard on the book and it turned out well, he mentioned modestly. The project began as three books, one each for 4th, 5th, and 6th grades and I agreed to write twenty poems for each book around a core social studies subject. For 4th, the states; for 5th, American history; and for 6th, ancient civilization.

At some point an editorial decision was made to combine all the material into one book. What I like about the format is that so many classroom activities are designed to put my poems to use. A partial list includes reader’s theater, word ladders, rhyming riddles, Greek and Latin roots, connections through writing, and poetic form. The book is full of such strategies that teachers can put to immediate use with their students. I don’t know if I’ve ever posted a poem from the book. This one is from ancient civilizations.

Imperial Rome
2,100 years ago

Caesar himself,
so it was said,
hated the ruckus —

chariots rattling stony streets,
dogs yapping, screaming boys,
vendors shouting, crowded shops,
roaring hubbub, thrumming noise —

Caesar might have said —

pounding hoof beats, beggars’ cries,
bleating animals, shrieks, squeals,
cracking whips, roaring crowds,
warlike groaning iron wheels —

“I cannot think!”

All was jangle, throb, and clamor,
Clatter, chatter, clang, and clop.
Caesar must have held his head
and longed to make the noises stop.

The biggest city on the earth,
a million people called it home.
“It’s noisy here,” said Caesar.
It was Rome!

I hope to see more schools discover this resource in the coming months. Until they do, I’ll try to spread the word!

Greetings to a new friend

Hi everyone,

Timing is everything. We went out with friends last night. When we got home, I found a package on the porch with two copies of my new book with Tim Rasinski, RHYMES FOR THE TIMES. It was an out with the old in with the new sort of day. I will always miss the three titles that just went out of print but it helps to be holding this new one, especially now.

This is an educational book but the sixty poems in it would make three stand alone trade books, one each on the states, American history, and ancient civilization. Here’s a sample from American history. It’s a villanelle. ‘
American Indians

Our tribes were many, our nations strong.
From the great plains to the bountiful sea
We danced our dance, sang our song.

Mostly our people got along,
Lived their lives in harmony,
Our tribes were many, our nations strong.

Our customs were old, our patience long.
Throughout our ancient history
We danced our dance, sang our song.

We taught our children to belong,
To learn their part so they could see
Our tribes were many, our nations strong.

To kill more than we needed was wrong.
As our animal brothers roamed free,
We danced our dance, sang our song.

We didn’t know of the coming throng
Of men who wouldn’t let us be.
Our tribes were many, our nations strong.
We danced our dance, sang our song.

The waiting game

Hi everyone,

The other day I checked my book with Tim Rasinski, RHYMES FOR THE TIMES, LITERACY STRATEGIES THROUGH SOCIAL STUDIES, on Amazon to see if there was anything shaking yet. The title was issued about twenty days ago.
One reason I checked was because my name doesn’t appear in the “about the authors” paragraph. I notified our editor some time back that I would appreciate a little acknowledgement and I’m sure she’ll handle it, but so far, nada. My name’s on the book of course, just not in the write-up.
The upcoming trade book, NOW YOU SEE THEM, NOW YOU DON’T, doesn’t come out until February 16 so there is no rating yet and readers can’t review it until it is released. But the book is still ranked even though you can’t buy it. Here’s what it says.
6,354,606: overall ranking
4,099: zoology
10,723: poetry
53,538: science and how it works

Am I right in assuming that these numbers represent how many books Amazon makes available and how many they group in these categories? Good grief!

If I’m correct, I only need 10,723 people to order my book online and I’ll rank #1 in poetry. This is much easier than I thought!

New England Reading Association Journal

Hi everyone,

I’m pleased to announce that the winter issue of New England Reading Association Journal is out. Edited by Helen R. Abadiano, Central Connecticut State University, the entire issue is dedicated to poetry in the classroom and was led and coordinated by Tim Rasinski at Kent State.

The ten articles are a balanced mix of scholarly work and contributions from poets. Tim is joined by Wendy Kasten, Belinda Zimmerman, Kasim Yildirim, and others. I’m one of the poets along with Jane Yolen, Lee Bennett Hopkins, Brod Bagert, and others.

For anyone interested in the subject of what research has shown about the value of using poetry in the classroom as a tool for teaching both reading and writing, as well as personal insights from some of us who specialize in writing and/or teaching children’s poetry, I recommend this issue. The NERA Journal is one of the finest in the country. It’s an honor to appear in it.

I received my copy on Saturday and I think the online version will soon be available too. Here’s the link for when it does. http://nereading.org/?page_id=34