The qualitative method of story is used in this article to discuss the author's work in teaching a remedial college reading course for the first time. The article highlights the instructional methods and community-building exercises used to critically teach basic reading to an educationally and culturally diverse group of first year college students at a predominantly White institution. The author discusses the approach to the course and interactions with students using a culturally responsive teaching framework. She illustrates how reading instruction can be contoured around music, popular culture issues and students' interests in order to exercise essential reading skill sets: critical thinking, active questioning, making connections and inferences, and ongoing reflection. The author describes the print and non-print texts used in the course that include music, short stories, poems, and a novel to exercise and improve reading and writing. The literacy instruction discussed reflects real-world connections between reader and text, and promotes student engagement and citizenship. the article outlines the author's ability to relate to and connect with students in order to strengthen their literacy skills, and encourage them to rethink their relationship with reading. A summary of students' feedback about their learning and impressions of the course is also included.



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