4Writing as Rap

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Around dinner time in the Lanson household, Jerry and his 7-year- old granddaughter Devon stand around the dining room table most nights and get ready to fire up the beat. They pull out knives, forks, and spoons; stand around the dining room table; and, with glasses, salt shakers, salad dressing bottles, chair rungs, and walls as their instruments, begin to work rhythms with different syncopations. Soon they’re clinking and clacking, singing a little scat, playing off each other, and having fun with sound.

Making jazz, they call it.

Words, too, can be both jazzy and rhythmic. They’ve got pace and tempo, cadence and rhyme. They ...

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