My thesis is that culturally relevant texts—both traditional ethnic folk tales and contemporary ethnic narratives—combined with higher order comprehension questions of interpretation and evaluation, rather than lower order questions of basic recall and recognition, provide excellent material for teaching reading to ethnically diverse students. Culturally congruent texts increase student enjoyment, interest and motivation, resulting in improved performance in reading comprehension. Drawing on data derived from a two-year research project conducted in a middle-school classroom in an urban enclave in northern California, I demonstrate that despite conventional thinking, weak readers are not necessarily weak thinkers. To the contrary, when afforded the opportunity (through culturally congruent literature) and adequate scaffolding (through strategic questioning), they are quite capable of demonstrating critical and original thought.