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Inquiry, v10 n1 p41-45 Spr 2005

In 1988, the author taught remedial Senior English reading at a rural high school. None of the students intended to go to college. Instead, they all planned to be homemakers, farmers, or watermen. On the second day of class, he assigned a short story from the cumbersome literature book. The classroom was quiet for a moment, and then one of the boys spoke up. I don't want to read any stupid story, he said. I'm gonna drive a tractor. What's that got to do with made-up people in a made-up story? The author remembers those words so clearly because it was such a defining question, and he has spent spent much of the last 16 years working on the answer. Although he now teaches developmental reading and writing in a community college, the author still encounters a similar problem. Many of his students do not read for pleasure and, even more significantly, do not see any tangible link between reading literature and living their lives. This article shares the value of using humor and everyday documents in the teaching of reading analysis and inferences in the developmental English classroom.

Descriptors: Inferences, English Instruction, High Schools, Rural Areas, Reader Text Relationship, Reading, Teaching Methods, Inquiry

Virginia Community Colleges Association and Virginia Community College System. 101 North 14th Street, Richmond, VA 23219. Tel: 804-819-4666; Fax: 804-819-4771; Web site:

Autor: McCarter, William S.


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