Fourth-grade Common Core reading worksheet features story about adultery

Fourth-grade Common Core reading worksheet features story about adultery

“Making inferences is a skill with which students often need much practice.” So begins the syntactically challenged introduction to a series of Common Core-related educational materials at a site called

The worksheets and the site were created by Donald Morton, who — judging from the photograph accompanying the bio under “About” — is a cat. He is also, he informs the visitor, “a prolific online reading, language arts, and teaching enthusiast. Holding a B.A. in English from Northern Illinois University, and as a masters of arts candidate at Northeastern Illinois University, Mr. Morton has been immersed in the higher study of the reading and language arts for the last decade.”

Somewhere in the course of his immersion in the higher study of the reading and language arts, Morton cultivated the bizarre notion that topics like infidelity and adultery are suitable for reading passages designed for elementary schools students. The story below is a sample of his handiwork:

Ruby sat on the bed she shared with her husband holding a hairclip. There was something mysterious and powerful about the cheaply manufactured neon clip that she was fondling in her newly suspicious palms. She didn’t recognize the hairclip. It was too big to be their daughter’s, and Ruby was sure that it wasn’t hers. She hadn’t had friends over in weeks but here was this hairclip, little and green with a few long black hair strands caught in it. Ruby ran her fingers through her own blonde hair. She had just been vacuuming when she noticed this small, bright green object under the bed. Now their life would never be the same. She would wait here until Mike returned home.

According to the website, the story originally appeared in Inferences Worksheet 1 on this page of Morton’s site. A photocopy of the printed page, marked up by a distraught parent, appears below, with the handwritten annotation “Inappropriate!! I’m not explaining to an 8 year old!”

third-grade-Common Core adultery

Morton has since reluctantly swapped the passage out for the one shown below.

Revised worksheet

The introduction to the worksheet at has been amended and now states: “I have revised this worksheet to make it friendlier for all readers.”

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Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy has written for The Blaze, HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.


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