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.

Tough Love
A Reading Comprehension Passage by Common Core Texts

As a boy, I used to wait in the kitchen for my father to come home from work. When he came through the door, he would pick me up and kiss me on the top of my head. “How was work?” I’d always ask. I knew that a story was sure to follow. It seemed like something funny was always happening at my father’s worksite. Dumitru tripped on a stack of bricks and spilled his lunch everywhere. Nicolae added too much water to the cement and was ridiculed by the boss.

My father made his work sound like a constant series of hilarious incidents. But looking back as an adult, I realize that my father’s work was not fun at all. It was backbreaking labor that left him too exhausted to do anything but sit on the porch in his chair, listening to me talk about my day at school as he drifted off to sleep.

My father’s dream was for me to work with my brain, not my hands. I still remember the forlorn look on his face when at the age of 14, I took my first summer job shoveling sand with a road crew. He had always been strict about my grades, but from that day on, he seemed like a man possessed. Any grade less than an “A” was “below my abilities,” and a “C” or lower meant a week grounded to my bedroom.

For several of my teenage years, I thought my father was the cruelest taskmaster to ever raise a child. But now I realize that he was protecting me with his tough expectations. He wanted to give me a better life than he had.

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