'Reading with a Rapper' uses rap lyrics to help teach reading and writing to young students

Organizers visited Crete Academy near Inglewood to teach students and teachers how music can make a big difference in education.

Ashley Mackey Image
Saturday, October 8, 2022
'Reading with a Rapper' group uses rap lyrics to help teach literacy
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Leaders with the Houston-based group visited teachers and students at Crete Academy on Crenshaw to show them how the curriculum works and what students can expect.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Music and pop culture are everywhere and one national organization is on a mission to bring culture to the classroom.

The Reading with a Rapper program strives to teach reading and writing to kids using rap lyrics.

"We understand that Hip-Hop is the most listened-to music across the world. We understand kids are getting access to that more and more and faster," said Jarren Small, one of the co-founders of Reading with a Rapper. "So, we're not really trying to dismiss that. We're trying to create a balance of it to really give them a more efficient and effective way to try and take in information how they process it."

Leaders from the Houston-based group visited teachers and students at Crete Academy on Crenshaw to show them how the curriculum works and what students can expect from it.

"Music makes us come together as a team and as a family," said Antania Barker, a 5th grader at Crete Academy. "Every single day, when you wake up, everything makes music."

The event also featured music by the late rapper and Los Angeles native Nipsey Hussle and a special dedication to him.

"It was a no brainer when we got the call and I think it just helps us continue the marathon that he was always talking about and then also continue his legacy and what he's done through his music to his community around and hopefully the country," said Small.

The learning doesn't just stop with the program's events.

Organizers say they're donating an eight-week Reading with a Rapper program to Crete Academy.

They're also donating a grant for the school to renovate a space on campus.

"My favorite part was probably where we got to look for similes, metaphors, idioms, stuff like that," said Andrew Ramirez, a 6th grader at Crete Academy.

Rapper Rapsody, who sits on the board of Reading with a Rapper, said she didn't have this curriculum when she was growing up, but understands how music has helped her development.

"It taught me how to be a great communicator," said Rapsody. "It taught me how to comprehend things and so, I know what it did for me and my development and I want to pour back into these kids so they can feel the same excitement and have an outlet."

"Even though you're having fun, you can also at the same time learn in a good manner," said Ramirez.

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