Long-term English learners (LTELs) are frequently characterized as struggling with academic reading in English. This paper moves beyond broad generalizations about this population's English-reading practices to a situated analysis of one ~LTEL' - Lizbeth Sanchez's - making meaning in her sophomore biology classroom. This analysis of Lizbeth's reading practices reveals that she successfully navigates the primary reading practices through which she was expected to acquire new disciplinary knowledge. Although the examined reading practices were fundamental to academic success in her biology classroom, they are distinct from those predominantly portrayed as academic reading on standardized tests and in the research literature. Nevertheless, these findings provide an important counter-narrative about a population that is frequently represented as lacking both academic and linguistic ability. In addition, they illustrate the significance of how academic reading is conceptualized for recognizing and building upon the abilities of ~struggling readers.'