Welcome to Common Core Texts, a project by Michael DeJoseph. Here you'll find high-quality reading passages for grades 3 to 12 in ELA, Social Studies, History, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and many other topics.

The Great White
A Reading Comprehension Passage by Common Core Texts

The line for “The Great White” moved slowly. My friends chattered and laughed, but I was too nervous to talk. I didn’t want to admit to them that I had never ridden a rollercoaster before. I didn’t want to admit that I was terrified.

“It’s OK to be scared,” I told myself, “as long as you don’t chicken out.” Still, every part of my body and mind wanted to turn the other direction and run. I felt light-headed and dizzy. I thought that I might throw up. Every thirty seconds or so, the coaster’s cars zoomed by with a “thunk.” I listened carefully for clues in the screams of the riders. Were they screams of joy or terror?

We came to the front of the line. My heart pounded like a drum. “Grab your seatbelt and fasten it tight, ’cause you’re about to take a trip on the Great White!” cried the voice on the loudspeaker. I took my seat on the coaster and yanked on the seatbelt as hard as I could.

A bell rang, and a huge plastic safety bar lowered down across my chest. All at once, I felt a sense of calm wash over me. I saw that the safety bar was so tight and so secure that it would take nothing short of a nuclear blast to knock me out of my seat.

The coaster began to move. I heard my friends yell with a mix of excitement and fear. But I just smiled to myself. There was no turning back now. I’d done it. I hadn’t chickened out, and everything was going to be fine.

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