StudentsCommon Core State Standards tell us that students need to be given challenging text. I wasn't always sure this was the case for struggling readers; however, I have found it to be very true with my students. In fact, early in the year last year, one of our fourth grade students, Nick, finished all the stories in level 5.0. He wasn’t ready to exit the program since his fluency and comprehension scores were not where we needed them to be, but we were concerned that the stories in level 5.6 would be too challenging. The change in difficulty of the content from level 5.0 to 5.6 is great and the number of comprehension questions increases as well. We talked about it with Nick and he was excited to be challenged. The first few stories were hard and he needed our help. After three stories or so, Nick was able to work on his own. After a few more, he was excited about the serious material he was reading and the interesting information he was learning. The other students saw what happened Nick’s reaction to the challenging stories and wanted to read them too. By the end of the year, many other students were in level 5.6 and thriving! They shared knowledge gained from the stories, they discussed challenging topics addressed, and they were excited to keep reading and learning. Obviously, we were enthusiastic too! We were ecstatic to see that their end of year test scores had improved and that they loved to read, something most of them hated just nine months earlier.