Timothy Rasinski

Dr. Timothy Rasinski is a professor of literacy education at Kent State University and director of its award-winning 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 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 past-president of the College Reading Association and 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 inducted into the International Reading Hall of Fame. Prior to Kent State, he taught literacy education at the University of Georgia and taught for several years as an elementary and middle school classroom and Title I teacher in Nebraska.

Dr. Tim Rasinski was awarded the William S. Gray Citation of Merit by the International Literacy Association in October 2020, which is the highest award given by the largest literacy and literacy education association in the world.

His scholarly interests include teaching reading fluency and word study, reading in the elementary and middle grades, and helping readers who struggle.

Other Notable Honors and Service Positions

  • Editor of The Reading Teacher, the world's most widely read journal in literacy education (1992-1999)
  • Co-editor of the Journal of Literacy Research
  • Lead author of the fluency chapter for the Handbook of Reading Research

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the definition of fluency according to Dr. Rasinski, and why does he not include rate of reading or speed?

In Dr. Tim Rasinski's own words:

"In its fullest and most authentic sense, fluency is reading with and for meaning, and any instruction that focuses primarily on speed with minimal regard for meaning is wrong. [...] Fluency has two essential components: automaticity and prosody. Automaticity refers to the ability to recognize words automatically or effortlessly (LaBerge & Samuels, 1974). Prosody completes the bridge by connecting to comprehension. [...] To read fast often means sacrificing prosody (as well as meaning). Fast reading very often is devoid of meaningful expression. Indeed, I feel that excessively fast reading can be just as disfluent as excessively slow reading—prosody and meaning are compromised in both excessively fast and slow reading."

(WHY READING FLUENCY SHOULD BE HOT! The Reading Teacher Vol. 65 Issue 8 pp. 516–522 DOI:10.1002/TRTR.01077 © 2012 International Reading Association)

What are some strategies that Dr. Rasinski suggests for building fluency?

Dr. Rasinski suggests four strategies to build fluency:

Orally model fluent reading

Reading to children aloud models reading fluency naturally. Children who are read to regularly by fluent readers "have larger vocabularies, are better comprehenders, and are more motivated to read." Assisted Reading - Group, Paired, or Technology-Assisted Developing readers can significantly improve fluency with help from a more proficient "supportive listener," whether it's in a group setting, with a one-on-one partner, or with a digital recording such as a podcast or captioned television.

Wide Reading and Deep (Repeated) Reading

Children must practice both wide reading (regularly reading new materials) and deep reading (reading the same materials repeatedly) to develop proficient fluency and comprehension.

Synthesizing Fluency Instruction

By integrating the three components listed above into a single lesson, children "gain more from it than if they received instruction in each component separately."

(Delivering Supportive Fluency Instruction—Especially for Students Who Struggle. Reading Today, April/May 2014, pp. 26-28)

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Timothy Rasinski

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