Module C – Lessons 11 to 20


Click here for Lesson 11
Click here for Lesson 12
Click here for Lesson 13
Click here for Lesson 14
Click here for Lesson 15
Click here for Lesson 16
Click here for Lesson 17
Click here for Lesson 18
Click here for Lesson 19
Click here for Lesson 20
Core Knowledge (R) Independent Reading 

(Review guidelines for publishing Core Knowledge (R) materials at the bottom of this page-view. This lesson is a “READ-ALOUD” Core Knowledge (R) passage that has been rewritten to be at a lower-grade independent reading level complexity than the original, largely by shortening and simplifying sentence structures while maintaining the richness of the text content.)

ative Americans

Lesson 11 – Part Five 

NEW WORDS: Wampanoags, appanaug, appanaugs, beings, celebration, chats, cornfield, crunchy, grateful, guests, heaps, heating, hiding, hooks, kernels, lobsters, marsh, nets, nuggets, raked, rockweed, saplings, shallow, shelled, shortly, spears, thanked, tide, uninvited, verdant, wading, walker, walkers, watering, wetu

Chapter Five: Bear, Gull, And Crow
It was long ago. There were three animal friends. They lived in a verdant land. There were wild forests. There were green fields. There were shining waters. Gull made her home in the marsh grass. This was near the bay. Bear lived in a cave. It was deep in the woods. Crow had a nest. It was in an old oak tree. It was at the edge of a garden.

Bear, Gull, and Crow got together a lot. They liked to spend time with each other. They enjoyed their long chats. They talked about one thing a lot. They talked about the “Upright Walker beings.” They lived nearby. They called themselves the “Wampanoags.” The animals called them Upright Walkers. That’s because of how they walked. They stayed upright on two legs all the time. And they could not fly.

The Upright Walkers lived in houses. They called each of them a wetu. They were built from bent saplings and tree bark. They could make fire. Wood burned just as if lightning had struck a tree. They grew corn from kernels. They planted it in small Earth hills. These kernels were sweet, crunchy nuggets. (Crow loved to steal them!) They fished in the bay. They used nets, spears, hooks, and lines. They hunted in the forest, too. They used bows and arrows. So, Bear took great care. He tried to steer clear of them.


One day, Gull was talking to Bear and Crow. “I just saw some Upright Walkers. They were wading in the bay. There was a man and a boy. They picked up lots of smooth rocks from the water. They took them to the woods. They said the rocks were for the appanaug. I don’t know what an ‘appanaug’ is.”

Crow thought hard. “An appanaug must be an animal. It might eat rocks!”

“Can there be any animal bigger than I am?” asked Bear. “I want to see this thing. Tomorrow, I’ll go and spy on it.”

The next day came. Bear found the stone pile. He hid behind the trees. He waited. Shortly, the Upright Walkers came. They dug a shallow hole in the ground. They gently laid the rocks into it. Then, they left. Bear waited a long time. But the appanaug did not come to eat the rocks.

Bear got tired and bored. He went to talk to Gull and Crow. He told them what he’d seen. “The Upright Walkers dug a hole. They filled it with rocks. But the thing did not come.”

“Leave it to me,” said Crow. “Tomorrow, I’ll find out what’s going on.”


The next day came. Crow perched in a tree. He was near the rock pit. The Upright Walkers came. They picked up lots of dry wood. They piled it next to the pit. Crow flew to find Bear and Gull.

“The Upright Walkers picked up wood. They will build a wetu for the appanaug!” said Crow. “Those things will live in our woods. It will live in its own wood house of wood!” He thought for a while. “But what if it’s not a nice appanaug?” Bear and Gull were scared.

It was now the next day at sunrise. Gull flew over the bay. She saw the Upright Walker man and boy. They were on the beach. A girl was with them. Low tide had let show some wet sand. It had been under the water at high tide.

The Upright Walkers poked in the wet sand. They looked for small holes. From time to time, water shot up from these holes. They were holes for breathing! That’s how soft-shelled clams got their air. They lived under the sand. Gull watched. The Upright Walkers dug the clams out. They used long sticks to do it. Some clams spit water after they were dug up.


Soon, a large basket had been filled with clams. They would wade back in the water. They filled another basket! In a bit, Gull came to Bear. He was excited. “The Upright Walkers got tons of clams. They said they were glad to have found so many. They were for their appanaug. I hope it does not eat up all the clams and fish in the bay!”

Gull went on. “Next, those Upright Walkers stayed in shallow water. They pulled rockweed off of the rocks.”

“That appanaug will eat rockweed, too,” said Bear. “What will it eat next?” Bear looked back and forth. “Where’s Crow? Wasn’t he to meet us here? Do appanaugs eat crows? I hope not!” But then, there came crow. He was flying to meet them.

“I saw the Upright Walkers in the cornfield!” yelled Crow. “They picked lots of corn. They said it was for the appanaug, TODAY! That thing will come today!” Bear, Crow, and Gull looked at each other.

“Let’s go!” said Bear. Off they set for the rock pit. They got there quickly. They hid among the trees. A bit of time passed. Upright Walkers started to show up. More and more came. There were men, women, and children. They were big and small. They were old and young.


Some of them took the dry wood from its pile. They laid it on top of the stones. One man got the wood to burn. Some stayed by the fire. They kept it going. They raked the burning wood. That way, hot ashes fell into the cracks between the rocks. Soon, ashes covered the rocks. They were heating the rocks up.

Then they laid rockweed on top of the ashes. Steam rose from the damp rockweed. It gave off a sharp smell of salt. They placed heaps of clams on top of the rockweed. They added lobsters, corn, and potatoes. The food was soon loaded on. Then, they covered it with more rockweed. Bear, Crow, and Gull sniffed. The food smelled good. It would be tasty. It made them hungry!

Now they all fell silent. An old Upright Walker stepped up. He said a prayer. It was to the Great Spirit. He thanked the Great Spirit. He was grateful for the animals, plants, rocks, and trees. All the Upright Walkers joined hands. They formed a circle. They all stood in silence. A flute and drum sounded. The Upright Walkers began to dance.

The dancing ended in a bit. The old Upright Walker spoke. “This is a fine day for our appanaug. This is a celebration. It is a time for our people to come together. We can give thanks to the Great Spirit. We can feast on delicious food.


“So, let the feast begin!” The rockweed was lifted off. The Upright Walkers began to load their bowls with food.

Bear, Gull, and Crow looked at each other. An appanaug was not a huge animal. It wasn’t a huge rock-eating thing with big teeth! An appanaug was a party. It was a clambake feast. It was a mouth-watering, nose-tickling feast! They wished they could leap out from their hiding place. They wished they could join in. But the Upright Walkers think them to be uninvited guests.

Just then, a girl walked toward them. She carried a bowl. It was piled high with food! It was the girl that Gull had seen. She’d been digging in the sand for clams. The girl laid the bowl on the ground. She waited to run back to the party. First, she called out some words. “To the birds and animals who share the forest and the bay with us Wampanoags. May you enjoy sharing our appanaug, our clambake feast!”

And that’s just what Bear, Gull, and Crow did!

Core Knowledge (R) Independent Reading 

(Review guidelines for publishing Core Knowledge (R) materials at the bottom of this page-view. This lesson is a “READ-ALOUD” Core Knowledge (R) passage that has been rewritten to be at a lower-grade independent reading level complexity than the original, largely by shortening and simplifying sentence structures while maintaining the richness of the text content.)

ative Americans


Lesson 12 – Part Six

NEW WORDS: Atlantic, Lenape, adjust, appeared, bask, baskets, blossoms, burrows, changes, changing, chilly, collect, cornmeal, creation, crop, dugout, elders, firewood, furs, gathered, glided, gourds, guided, harvest, herring, huckleberries, molded, pottery, raccoon, raspberries, ripening, salmon, season’s, seasons, shad, smoothly, snowshoes, storage, strengthened, success, sunflowers, there’d, tobacco, trekked, turkey, wigwams, woodlands

Chapter Six: The Lenape – The People Of The Seasons
Let’s learn about the Lenape. They lived in the Eastern Woodlands of North America. They’d been there thousands of years. They mostly lived on the land. They hunted and gathered. Later, they began to farm. The seasons guided their day-to-day lives. Each season brought changes.

Spring meant warm, bright days. New life appeared all over. They looked for the first signs of spring. They’d see flowering plants and trees. They’d see the black cherry blossoms. These were pretty white blossoms. They made the Lenape smile. Most of the time, the blossoms meant there’d be no more snow. Thus, the animals would soon shed their winter coats.

The spring sun warmed the Earth. So, the Lenape set to work. They planted their spring crops. The men and boys prepared the fields. The women and girls planted the seeds. There were corn, squash, and beans. There were herbs, tobacco, and sunflowers.


The Lenape worked hard in their fields. And the land and sky creatures got to work, too. Some animals woke up from their winter sleep. Some dug burrows. Birds built nests. They prepared for their young. The Lenape and the animals and birds worked side-by-side.

Now the ice and snow were gone. So, men and older boys could go on longer trips to hunt. Most times, they would hunt on foot. Sometimes, they’d branch out further in their dugout canoes, which glided smoothly and silently. They were used in many rivers of the mid-Atlantic.

They would come back. Often, their trips brought great success. They brought back meat. They brought back animal furs. The Lenape would hunt for more than one kind of animal. They’d hunt bear, deer, elk, and raccoon. They’d hunt and trap birds, too.

Spring turned to summer. The sun’s heat was stronger. At this time, the Lenape fished a lot. They’d catch salmon, herring, and shad. They’d guard their ripening crops from birds. The children would gather berries. They’d collect firewood. They’d play in the sparkling rivers. There, they might search for turtles. The turtles liked to bask in the open, soaking up the sunshine.


They would harvest some food in the summer. They’d pick their corn, beans, and squash. Corn was a key food crop. It was ground to make cornmeal. It was used to make bread. They would roast corn in the fire. Kernels were stored for use in the winter.

They would harvest more in the autumn. They gathered gourds and pumpkins. They gathered nuts, roots, and berries. The Earth was rich. There were huckleberries, raspberries, and strawberries. They made pretty baskets. They stored their winter food in them. They strengthened their homes. They lived in wigwams or longhouses. They had to be ready for winter. There would be much wind and snow.

In late fall, more change came. The leaves turned gold, red, and orange. They fell from the trees. The children rushed to catch them. And they might jump in the large leaf piles. Soon, the leaves blew away. They were blown by the chilly winds. It got dark sooner. Winter came.


Now, the Lenape spent more time in their homes. These were called wigwams. They were made from saplings, rushes, bark, and fur. They were warm. Their elders told stories of times long past. They talked of the history of their people. They talked of the Earth’s creation. They talked of the Great Spirit. Women and girls worked hard. They made clothes and moccasins. They used animal skins and turkey feathers. They made pottery jars. These were for both cooking and storage. Men and boys made spears, bows, and arrows.

The sky was often dark. Lots of snow would fall. The children, just like kids everywhere, rushed out to play in it. Even in winter, men and older boys would hunt some. They trekked through the deep snow. They wore snowshoes. They looked for animal tracks in the snow. They hoped to come back with meat. The women and girls would cook up a warm stew or soup.

One season followed another. That’s how it has always been. The Lenape lived their lives around each season’s changes. They would adjust to spring, summer, fall, and winter. They’d change with the Earth’s rhythm of life. The Earth gave them what they needed. They were guided by the Earth’s turning. Their lives were molded by the changing seasons. Such was the way of the Lenape.

Core Knowledge (R) Independent Reading 

(Review guidelines for publishing Core Knowledge (R) materials at the bottom of this page-view. This lesson is a “READ-ALOUD” Core Knowledge (R) passage that has been rewritten to be at a lower-grade independent reading level complexity than the original, largely by shortening and simplifying sentence structures while maintaining the richness of the text content.)

ative Americans

Lesson 13 – Part Seven

NEW WORDS: Anishinabe, Blackfeet, Cherokee, Cheyenne, Choctow, Cree, Dakota, Goshute, Hopi, Iroquois, Kaw, Massachusetts, Micmac, Mohawk, Navajo, Penobscot, Rappahannock, Shinnecock, Taos, Tuscarora, Umpqua, Ute, Walla, Wampanoag, Wea, Zuni, adobe, alphabet, apartments, celebrations, ceremonies, crafted, dancers, dye, elaborate, exist, farmed, feasts, fishermen, forested, freely, fringed, gatherings, grandkids, harmony, herded, hogan, honor, jeans, juniper, kachina, listened, loom, mobile, porcupines, powwows, pueblo, replaced, roofs, sneakers, totem, traditional, traditions, travelers, tribal, turkeys, venison, waterways, weave

Chapter Seven: An Indian Alphabet
Long before you or me,
Native Americans were running free,
Many tribes with many names,
Shared this land for all to see.

“A” is for Adobe bricks. They made Pueblo homes.

“B” is for Buffalo. They roamed the plains.

“C” is for Canoes. They would drift on silent rivers.

“D” is for Drum. They gave rhythm to songs sung long ago.

“E” is for Elders. They led their tribes in prayer.

“F” is for Feasts. Feasts would have lots of clams and corn.

“G” is for Great tales. Tales were told with totem poles.


“H” is for Hopi ovens. They baked warm bread.

“I” is for Iroquois. They had fast runners on the trail.

“J” is for Juniper berries. They were used to dye tan blankets.

“K” is for kachina dancers. They dance to bring the rain.

“L” is for Longhouses. They were built of logs and bark.

“M” is for Moccasins. They were made of leather and beads.

“N” is for Navajo. This tribe herded flocks of sheep.

“O” is for Ornaments. They made their clothes more beautiful.

“P” is for Powwows. These were held now and then.


“Q” is for Quills. They were from porcupines. They were used for weaving.

“R” is for Rugs. They would weave them on a loom.

“S” is for Salmon. They cooked it in a woven basket.

“T” is for Tipis. They were made with buffalo hides.

“U” is for Under. The Navajo slept under hogan roofs.

“V” is for Venison. This was stew cooked for Iroquois travelers.

“W” is for Wampanoag. They lived in wetus set near the coast.

“X” is for Xs, which decorated tribal dress.

“Y” is for Young children who listened to stories.

“Z” is for Zuni Pueblo who crafted water jars.


Chapter Eight: Native Americans Today
There were many Indian tribes. Here are some of them. Anishinabe, Mohawk, Goshute, and Cree. DakotaChoctow, Hopi, Wea, and Iroquois. Micmac, Crow, Wampanoag, Cheyenne, Blackfeet, and Sioux. There were these and many others. Their tribes were spread out. They lived across the North American continent. Many are still here now.

They lived in open plains. They were in forested woodlands. They were by coastal waters. They hunted, farmed, and fished. This brought to them their food, shelter, and clothing. Rabbits, turkeys, and squirrels dotted the forests. Buffalo, elk, and deer roamed freely. Fish, clams, and whales filled the waterways. These Indians taught themselves so much. They learned how to live in harmony with nature. They were hunters, farmers, and fishermen.

Some Indian tribes still hunt, farm, and fish. But North America doesn’t look the same. So, their tribes don’t just live just off the land, now. Many of their forests don’t exist now. Roads have replaced the buffalo on the open plains. Many rivers don’t have enough fish swimming in them.

So, how do Indians live now? What do they eat? Where do they sleep? What do they wear? What do YOU think?


They still eat corn, squash, fish, and meat. But they buy it at stores. They may use pueblos, tipis, wetus, and hogans. That’s just some of the time. Most sleep in houses, apartments, and mobile homes. They no longer wear fringed leggings and deerskin moccasins. They wear jeans and sneakers. They wear clothes worn by other Americans.

Many Indians still know their tribes’ traditions. The Wampanoag still have clambakes. You can see them on the coast of Massachusetts. They’re like the appanaug that Bear, Gull, and Crow went to. The Lakota have elaborate ceremonies. You can see them on the plains of North and South Dakota. They dance, drum, and sing. The Lenape pass down their stories. They tell them to their kids and grandkids. They still hold their traditional celebrations.

“Powwows” are gatherings of Indian tribes. They’re held across the U.S. The people may dress in native clothes. They’re trimmed with beads, feathers, shells, and bones. It’s there that they honor the past. And they tell family stories.

Here are some more tribe names. Penobscot, Navajo, Cherokee, and Taos. Rappahannock, Tuscarora, and Shinnecock. Kaw, Walla Walla, Umpqua, Zuni, and Ute. These are just a few of the tribes who live in the United States today. They were the first-known people here. And for a long time, they were the only people here. Today, they share their land with people from all over the world.


Lesson 14 – Poems And Rhymes

NEW WORDS: Bonner, California, Grundy, Mexico, Pacific, Solomon, babe, bedclothes, boatman, brilliant, burns, capable, ceasing, christened, cities, clippings, collects, counterpane, coverlet, desire, destroy, displeasing, drippings, dying, emerald, excellent, fabrics, ferry, fleets, flint, gladdest, grumpy, hapless, heaven, hums, leaden, licks, loss, mannerly, monsters, mothers, mourn, mower, opal, patter, pillow, pitter, prairies, purse, railroad, railway, rattlesnake, rejects, ruby, runny, sapphire, shrill, sighs, snoring, something’s, talkative, uniforms, vastly, whilst, woe

Five Little Monsters
Five little monsters,
By the light of the moon,
Stirring pudding with
A wooden pudding spoon.

The first one says,
“It mustn’t be runny.”
The second one says,
“That would make it taste funny.”

The third one says,
“It mustn’t be lumpy.”
The fourth one says,
“That would make me grumpy.”

The fifth one smiles,
Hums a little tune.
And licks all the drippings,
From the wooden pudding spoon.

Poem by Eve Merriam


The Old Woman Of Gloster
There was an old woman of Gloster,
Whose parrot, two dollars it cost her.
But it’s tongue never ceasing,
Was vastly displeasing,
To the talkative woman of Gloster.


The Blind Boy
O say, what is that thing called light,
Which I can never enjoy?
What is the blessing of the sight?
Oh, tell your poor blind boy!

You talk of wondrous things you see.
You say the sun shines bright.
I feel him warm. But how can he,
Then make it day or night?

My day or night myself I make,
Whenever I sleep or play.
And could I ever keep awake,
With me it were always day.

With heavy sighs I often hear,
You mourn my hapless woe.
But sure with patience I may bear,
A loss I never know.

Then let not what I cannot have,
My cheer of mind destroy.
Whilst thus I sing, I am a king,
Although a poor blind boy.

Poem by Colley Cibber

Ferry Me Across the Water
“Ferry me across the water. Do, boatman, do.”

“If you’ve a penny in your purse, I’ll ferry you.”

“I have a penny in my purse. And my eyes are blue.

So ferry me across the water. Do, boatman, do.”

“Step into my ferry-boat, be they black or blue.

And for the penny in your purse, I’ll ferry you.”

Poem by Christina Rossetti

White Fields
In the winter time we go,
Walking in the fields of snow,
Where there is no grass at all.

Where the top of every wall,
Every fence and every tree,
Is as white as white can be.

And our mothers always know,
By the footprints in the snow,
Where it is the children go.

Poem by James Stephens

Whole Duty of Children
A child should always say what’s true,
And speak when he is spoken to.
And behave mannerly at table,
At least as far as he is able.

Poem by Robert Louis Stevenson

An emerald is as green as grass,
A ruby red as blood.
A sapphire shines as blue as heaven,
A flint lies in the mud.

A diamond is a brilliant stone,
To catch the world’s desire.
An opal holds a fiery spark.
But a flint holds fire.

Poem by Christina Rossetti

Sewer And Sewer
My mom is an excellent sewer.
My dad is a capable mower.
The fabrics she rejects,
And the clippings he collects,
Both of them, they dump down the sewer.


It’s Raining, It’s Pouring
It’s raining. It’s pouring.
The old man is snoring.
He bumped his head,
And went to bed.
And he couldn’t get up in the morning.


Solomon Grundy
Solomon Grundy,
Born on a Monday.
Christened on Tuesday,
Married on Wednesday.
Took ill on Thursday,
Worse on Friday.
Died on Saturday,
Buried on Sunday.
This is the end
Of Solomon Grundy.


Policeman Joe
Down at the corner stands Policeman Joe.
He tells cars when to stop or go.
We stand waiting. Cars rush past.
Cars and trucks and buses whiz by fast.
But they all have to mind Policeman Joe.
Unless he lets them, they can’t go.
Up goes his hand! Hear his whistle, shrill.
Slow down, stop! They all stand still!
Then pitter, patter, patter, go our feet.
At last, we children cross the street!

Poem by Olive Beaupre Miller

Sweet And Low
Sweet and low, sweet and low,
Wind of the western sea.
Low, low, breathe and blow,
Wind of the western sea,
Over the rolling waters go.

Come from the dying moon, and blow.
Blow him again to me,
While my little one,
While my pretty one, sleeps.

Sleep and rest, sleep and rest.
Father will come to thee soon.
Rest, rest, on mother’s breast.
Father will come to thee soon.

Father will come to his babe in the nest,
Silver sails all out of the west,
Under the silver moon.
Sleep, my little one. Sleep, my pretty one.

Poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson

The Land of Counterpane
(Note: a “counterpane” is little-used word today. It means “quilt or coverlet for a bed. A bedspread.”)

When I was sick and lay in bed,
I had two pillows at my head.
And all my toys beside me lay,
To keep me happy all the day.

And sometimes for an hour or so,
I watched my leaden soldiers go,
With different uniforms and drills,
Among the bedclothes, through the hills.

And sometimes sent my ships in fleets,
All up and down among the sheets.
Or brought my trees and houses out,
And planted cities all about.

I was the giant, great and still,
That sits upon the pillow-hill.
And sees before him, valley and plain,
The pleasant land of Counterpane.

Poem by Robert Louis Stevenson

Afternoon On A Hill
I will be the gladdest thing,
Under the sun!
I will touch a hundred flowers,
And not pick one.

I will look at cliffs and clouds,
With quiet eyes.
Watch the wind bow down the grass,
And the grass rise.

And when lights begin to show,
Up from the town.
I will mark which must be mine,
And then start down.

Poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay
A Song Of The Railroad Men
The great Pacific railway,
For California, hail!
Bring on the great big engine.
Lay down the iron rail!

Across the rolling prairies,
By steam we’re bound to go.
The railroad cars are coming, humming,
Through New Mexico!

The little dogs in dog-town,
Will wag each little tail.
They’ll think that something’s coming,
A-riding on the rail.

The rattlesnake will show its fangs.
The owl, “too-whit, too-hoo!”
The railroad cars are coming, humming,
Through New Mexico!


A Pig
As I went to Bonner,
I met a pig,
Without a wig.
Upon my word and honor.


The Sleepy Song
As soon as the fire burns red and low,
And the house upstairs is still.
She sings me a strange little sleepy song,
Of sheep that go over the hill.

The good little sheep run quick and soft.
Their colors are gray and white.
They follow their leader, nose and tail,
For they must be home by night.

And one slips over. And one comes next.
And one runs after behind.
The gray one’s nose at the white one’s tail,
The top of the hill they find.

And when they get to the top of the hill,
They quietly slip away.
But one runs over. And one comes next.
Their colors are white and gray.

And one slips over. And one comes next.
The good little, gray little sheep!
I watch how the fire burns red and low.
And she says that I’ll fall asleep.

Poem by Josephine Daskam Bacon

Lesson 15 – Stories Misc: Two Mid-1900s Short Stories

NEW WORDS:  Russ, Russ’s, adventurous, announced, aquamarine, artery, atop, automobiles, basin, blustery, bottles, brakes, bustled, buttoned, cease, clink, clinkety, clump, clumped, clumperty, clumsy, cluster, clutching, converse, countless, crammed, dapper, deposited, distinctive, dodging, embraced, endless, exploding, faucet, firecrackers, flashes, footways, gangles, gazing, gleefully, goggles, gracious, gradually, grasped, hook, indigo, legion, lumbering, lustrous, magazines, massaged, milkman’s, motor, motorcycle, motorcyclist, myriads, newspapers, numerous, paisley, pajamas, passenger, pedals, pedestrians, perch, pitz, plunked, plush, positioned, powdery, procession, pronounced, purring, races, racket, resonant, rooster, rumbling, sauntered, scour, scrambled, scuttles, securely, seemly, shuteye, smaller, snoozing, spluttered, sponged, spurt, sputter, squealed, staggering, statues, steady, storefronts, straddled, stride, swash, taxi, taxis, thorough, thuds, thumps, thwacked, toothbrush, touches, transported, tremendous, underpants, undershirt, uproar, ushered, vehicles, washbowl, washcloth, whizzes, wisps, workmen, zooming

Good Morning, Russ
Once there was a boy. His name was Russ. He was asleep in his pint-sized bed. There was a sound. What did Russ hear? “Cock-a-doodle-doo!” The rooster crowed! Russ opened his eyes.

Then he heard, “Rumble! Rumble!” That was the milkman’s truck. It came up the driveway. Then, “Clumperty, clump!” That was the milkman walking. He clumped up to the house. “Clinkety, clink!” It was a resonant song. It was the milk bottles. He deposited them at the door.

Now Russ was wide awake. He picked up his Teddy Bear. Bear slept each night in his bed.

“Hi, Teddy!” Russ pronounced. Then he hugged Bear. He embraced him securely. He massaged his face against Bear’s plush fur. He talked to Bear. They had quite a conversation.


By and by, the door flung open. Russ’s mom sauntered into the room. She said, “Well, well! Good morning! Are you awake yet? Did you get enough shuteye?” Russ sat up in bed.

“Russ get up!” he said. Mom let down the side of his bed. Russ scrambled over it. He bustled down to the floor. He was clutching Teddy under one arm. Mom took his other hand. She ushered him into the bathroom.

She took Bear. She plunked him down on the washbowl. Bear would watch Russ get dressed. Mom settled down on a stool. She removed Russ’s pajamas. She reached for the faucet. She turned on the water. It went “Swish, swish, spurt! Swish, swash! Sputter, splash!”

The water spluttered up high. It thwacked Bear on the nose. Russ chuckled. He had distinctive dimples. He squealed, “Water hit Bear’s nose!”


Mom took a washcloth. She sponged Russ’s face and hands. She reached for his toothbrush. It hung on a hook. She took it down. “Brush, scour, polish.” She gave Russ’s teeth a thorough scrub. She announced, “Bear sees Russ get all clean. Russ’s skin is sparkling!”

Mom took Russ’s underpants. She positioned them so he could step into them. Russ put in his left leg. Then he put in his right leg. She lifted up his undershirt. Russ put in one arm. Then the other arm. Mom said, “Bear sees Russ put on his underwear.”

Mom took Russ’s new suit. It was a lustrous indigo color. She held it for him. He gradually got each arm and leg into it. Mom buttoned it up. She said, “Bear sees Russ get into his dapper new suit. What pretty brass buttons!”

Mom grasped Russ’s socks. She pulled them onto his feet. She said, “Bear sees Russ’s seemly paisley socks.” So far, Mom has helped Russ. But now, he grabbed his shoes. What do you think he did? He put them on by himself! Mom didn’t have to help him. She said, “Good gracious! Well, I’ll be. Look at that! Bear sees Russ put his own shoes on! Excellent job!”

Mom took a brush and comb. “Slick, slick!” She brushed Russ’s hair down smooth. Then she took Bear from the basin. She put him in Russ’s arms. Russ held Teddy Bear gleefully. They ran off to play. They would have an adventurous day!


Big Street in the Big City
Somewhere there’s a street. It’s a long street. It’s a wide street. It runs through the middle of a huge city. There are sidewalks for pedestrians. They’re smooth, cement sidewalks. There’s one on each side of the street. Each day, countless feed stride atop the footways. Heavy feet stamp. Smaller feet tramp. Dainty feet skip and patter.

And what about the street? Myriads of wheels zip by. They pass in a long procession. They are lumbering and rumbling. Whizzing and zooming, they roll down the street. First comes a clumsy motor truck. It gangles along on its big wheels. It needs broad tires to stay steady. Inside, it’s crammed with bricks. There are wisps of straw between them. Where’s it taking them? Perhaps to workmen who are building a new house? It thumps and thuds down the street.


Then a cab with a passenger scuttles by. It is black and yellow. It flashes past the people. It is swerving and curving past the truck. It just misses the clumsy truck! Then a tremendous bus glides by. It has ample rows of seats inside. There are a legion of faces, too. They’re gazing out of the numerous windows. Some of their looks are happy. Some are sad. Some read books. Some read magazines or newspapers. Some are snoozing. Some converse with each other. The bus is its own little town. It’s enormous and smoothly purring. It’s shiny with its aquamarine and white paint.

Then there’s an uproar. “Pitz! Pitz!” What’s exploding? It’s like a moving cluster of firecrackers! All this noise from that small thing? It’s straddled by a man in goggles. Yes! It’s a tiny motorcycle. So much racket! And look at its speed. Whew! It rushes by. It’s dodging the truck. It’s darting past the bus. Look! It has caught up with the cab! It passes the whizzing taxi.

Another truck. It’s full of ashes. An immense cloth is spread over them. Two men sit on top. A blustery puff of wind blows. Powdery ashes fly out from under the cloth.


More taxis. More automobiles. More trucks! Then they all stop. A light shines red. The trucks stand still. The taxis and buses take a rest. The motorcyclist spreads his legs. He touches the pavement with his feet.

Green light! The truck driver takes off his brakes. He steps on the gas. But watch the cab. With a jerk, it is off first. Away it whizzes. Then the colorful bus. Pitz! Pitz! The motorcyclist has his feet on the pedals again. He passes the bus. He passes the cab. He’s gone!

There’s an endless movement of vehicles. They get going. Then they cease to move. They perch like statues. Then, green light! Off again! First the cabs. Then the bus. Then the motorcyclist who races ahead. Finally, the trucks. It’s like this all day long. First the red light. Then the green light. The long street is an artery for the city. People get to work. Kids get to school. Products are transported to storefronts. The wide street is designed to carry a staggering amount of traffic. The street helps the city to come alive!

Story by Lucy Sprague Mitchell

Lesson 16 – Stories Misc: Lost, Forever?

NEW WORDS: Hubble, Hubble’s, Latin, ancient, applause, assure, awesome, awestruck, awry, blond, bounty, classmates, closets, contact, cryptic, curtains, daughters, doubters, dramatic, expected, flourish, forever, forgive, frantic, genuine, gifted, glitter, gosh, graceful, hidden, laden, magician, mirrors, misapplied, naught, nether, outfit, palms, piercing, piping, presence, refused, reopened, scarves, secrets, serious, shoulders, skeptics, stage, stomped, suspect, suspicious, time’s, unbelievers, unforgivable, visiting, wrinkles, younger 

How could one NOT love a superb magic show? We got to see one last week! Thanks to our teacher, Mrs. Hubble, that is. She gave us a huge surprise. “Students! My mom and dad are visiting me. My dad’s a gifted magician. He’ll be at the school on Friday. He’ll put on a magic show. It’s JUST for our class!” We all clapped and cheered.

So, that day, he was to come at noon. We were in the gym. We were so looking forward to the show! Soon, a tall man walked to the stage. He was handsome. He had silver white hair. It fell to the top of his shoulders. It was thick, like a lion’s mane. His eyes were bright blue. He had a piercing look when he made eye contact. But he wasn’t scary. He smiled a lot. He looked like a caring soul. He was close to the age of my Gramps. I could tell by the wrinkles on his face.

“Hello, new friends,” he said. He had a deep, but soft, voice. We were caught in his spell. He had us right from the start. We were in the palms of his hands! “I’m Dr. Magic. I’ll surprise you many times today! But I must do one thing before we start. Let me have you meet my helper, Miss Ann.”


A pretty young lady came to the stage. She was graceful. She had long, blond hair. She was dressed in an outfit with red glitter. It was SO sparkling! She smiled warmly at us. Then she took a slow bow. What stage presence! (We found out more about her later. She was Mrs. Hubble’s younger sister. They looked a lot alike.)

Dr. Magic was awesome! He did great card tricks. He pulled a rabbit from a hat. He pulled an endless rope of scarves from his suit. He could tell us secrets about ourselves. He knew how to ask just the right questions. He even made a big parrot appear from out of nowhere. It flew around the gym. Then, it went back into a box on the stage. Dr. Magic closed the box. He then reopened it. The box was empty! No way! How did he do that?! It was like the bird had turned into a ghost.

The tricks just kept getting better. No one could figure out how he did it. Then he told us that his last act would be the best of all. He pulled something large onto the stage. It had been hidden. It had been back in the shadows. It was like a closet on wheels. One person could fit in it. Miss Ann got inside. The Dr. closed the door. He had a serious look. He called out strange chants. (They sounded Latin to me.) Then he gave a dramatic flourish. He opened the closet door. Miss Ann was gone! WOW! We all gasped!


Dr. Magic turned to us all. “I know what you think. You suspect that it was a trick. You don’t believe in REAL magic. Such doubters! Such unbelievers! Such skeptics!” Then he pointed at two of my classmates. He bid them to come to the stage. “Walk around. Test me. Challenge me. Go anywhere on the stage. Look for trap doors. Look for mirrors. See if Miss Ann is hanging on a rope. Bang on the closet. Go inside of it. See if she’s hiding in the shadows. I can assure you this. It will all be for naught!”

Ann and Chuck spent about five minutes poking around. The Doc said, “Time’s up. Come over to me. Did you find anything suspicious?” They both nodded their heads, “no.” And they shrugged their shoulders.  

“So, you found no monkey business? Of course, you didn’t!” he bellowed. “But now Ann will return,” said the good Doctor. “Here’s what can happen with GENUINE magic!” Another cryptic spell flowed from his lips. He opened the door. We expected him to be proud of his magic.


But, OH, MY GOSH. Ann wasn’t there! He threw his hands to his head. He circled the closet. He was frantic. He started to talk to himself, under his breath. Something was awry. What had gone wrong?

Then there was a huge scene. The Doctor cried out! “Oh no, Ann. Dear Ann! What have I done? Have I misapplied the ancient chants? Have I sent you to the nether world? Are you lost, forever? Oh, children, I fear it’s hopeless. Please, all of you. Come to the stage. Look everywhere once again. Look in supply closets. Look behind curtains. Maybe one of you will find her!”

We all rushed to the stage. Doctor Magic slumped on the edge of the stage. He started to sob, loudly. We were all in shock! We could hear him whispering to himself. “Please, forgive me, Ann. I have let you down. I have done you wrong. Such a mistake! Unforgivable!”


But forty-five seconds later, the magic happened. The Doc was also a GREAT actor. He had fooled us. From out of nowhere, in walked Miss Ann. She entered through a side door. She had a big smile on her face. AND, she was rolling in a table laden with boxes of piping hot pizza! What a bounty!

“Lunch time, kiddos!” she called out to us.

Then the Doc hugged his daughters. Ann, first. And then, Mrs. Hubble. They all three bowed. They looked like such a happy family. We cheered, stomped, and clapped. They deserved the applause!

We were awestruck by it all. What a magical day it had been! But we never did find out how they did that really cool and crazy last trick! Mrs. Hubble refused to tell us! But she did treat us to some cool magic tricks of her own!


Lesson 17 – Space Hawk: Fun On Space Hawk

NEW WORDS: badminton, basketball, chess, circling, cricket, directions, diving, dodge, five’s, football, goal, gooey, gravity, groovy, gymnastics, hurrah, lengths, limits, maze, newer, paintball, pickleball, ping, player’s, polo, pong, rugby, slimy, softball, target, teams, territory, tetherball, tunnels, video, volleyball, wacky, wrestling, zillions

Hurrah! Fun times! Party time! Let’s play! READY! SET! GO!

We’re never bored! But there’s more. We stay in tip-top shape! Most of us could do an “Iron Man!”

Deck Five is “PLAY LAND.” It’s HUGE. And tall! We can even play golf. Only once has a golf ball hit the ceiling! 

PLAY LAND has it all. Older sports first. Tennis, basketball, football. A nine-hole golf course. Soccer, rugby, cricket. Volleyball. Track and Field. Baseball and softball. Pingpong. Swimming and diving. Ice skating and hockey. Wrestling. Gymnastics. Water polo. Pickleball. Tetherball. Badminton. Paintball. You name it. We have it!

Then, newer sports from the last hundred years. “Target Golf.” Shoot the other player’s golf ball out of the air. Groovy! Wicked! Brilliant!

Dodge Bubble.” You have to keep HOLLY’s “hologram bubbles” from circling you. Tough job!


Then, there’s “Splat The Monster!” The BEST! Tunnels keep changing direction. You have to get to the end. Quite a maze! AND monsters come out. They chase you! You zap them with “SLIMY-GOOP!” Gooey fun! A total hoot!

But here’s the best. “Air Ball.” We turn Deck Five’s gravity off. We float! Poles come down from the top. Different lengths. And they keep changing. You need the poles to push off of and move through the air.

There are three teams. Eight per team. There are twenty balls. Lots of sizes and colors. They’re shot into Deck Five. They aren’t moving at the same speeds! Some zip by. Some just float. A few are slow. AND, all go in different directions! Your brain goes nuts! It’s wacky! Good luck keeping up with it!

The teams try for the most points. Each ball is worth different points. You have to make a plan. You have to think. It’s rough! Lots of body blocks. Lots of throwing balls back and forth. AND, two teams can join to work against the third team! Sweet!!


Air Ball is the best! That’s my thought. But there’s also “No-gravity Basketball.” Almost as fun!

And there are more than just sports. Each game you can think of is on board. But the video games have limits. No more than an hour a day. SORRY! Too big a “time-suck!”

I like four-person chess the best. It’s hard. It hurts your brain! But it keeps you on your toes.

Want to have a real blast? Let Aliens try out PLAY LAND! They love it! We learn about their sports and games, too.

One of their games blows me away. “Light Wars.” Zillions of lights float above a field. There are a hundred colors. At least! The Aliens move the lights with their minds. The goal is to build territory. You can have as few as two players. Or up to ten. Watching them play is mind-blowing. One round could last for days! It’s a shame for us. Our brains just aren’t ready. We can’t play that game, yet! Maybe soon! We love to keep learning! And to keep getting better!

So! On SPACE HAWK, we work hard. But we play hard, too!! We’re always on our toes! And we’re in GREAT shape! Three cheers for PLAY LAND!


Lesson 18 – Poems And Rhymes

NEW WORDS: Annie, Barnum’s, Georgie, Keziah, Kilkenny, Mary’s, Porgie, Robert, Tommy’s, Yankee, beams, bearing, beetles, belief, billows, boughs, cabbage, consulted, donkeys, frosty, gaze, giggles, growls, jiggety, jumbo, kitty’s, lesson, mended, molasses, nails, nay, night’s, nursery, opinion, orchard, pails, petticoat, petticoat’s, rarely, scolding, snorter, sofa, swallows, sweetness, trailing, unfortunately, vanished, vulture, washers, weeping, wiggles

Georgie Porgie
Georgie Porgie, pudding and pie,
Kissed the girls, and made them cry.
When the boys, came out to play,
Georgie Porgie ran away.


Kitty-Cat Mew
Kitty-Cat Mew, jumped over a coal,

And in her best petticoat, burnt a great hole.

Poor Kitty’s weeping, she’ll have no more milk,

Until her best petticoat’s mended with silk.


Only My Opinion
Is a caterpillar ticklish?
Well, it’s always my belief,
That he giggles, as he wiggles,
Across a hairy leaf.

Poem by Monica Shannon

Chimney Sweep
Chimney sweep, you’re sooty, your clothes are black tonight.

All the washers in London, can never wash them white!


What Does the Bee Do?
What does the bee do?
Bring home honey.
And what does Father do?
Bring home money.

And what does Mother do?
Lay out the money.
And what does baby do?
Eat up the honey.

Poem by Christina Rossetti

Mr. Toad
Mr. Toad set out on a journey, his donkeys each bearing a pack.

Said Mrs. Toad, “My darling, when are you coming back?”


The Little Girl With A Curl
There was a little girl, who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.
When she was good, she was very, very good.
And when she was bad, she was horrid.


Sleep, sleep, sleep!
Little beetles in the grass,
On their mothers’ backs are sleeping.
So on my back, baby mine,
Sleep, sleep, sleep!


Sing, Sing
Sing, sing, what shall I sing?
Cat’s run away with the pudding-string!
Do, do, what shall I do?
The cat has bitten it quite in two!


The Cabbage Field
Annie goes to the cabbage field,
She picks green leaves in the cabbage field, to feed her rabbits fine.
Johnny sees her, “Ha, ha, ha!”
Says, “I’ll catch you, tra, la, la!”
Nay,” says she. “Now go away!
I’ll not dance with you today!”


Jack Frost
Someone painted pictures on my
Window pane last night,
Willow trees with trailing boughs,
And flowers, frosty white.

And lovely crystal butterflies,
But when the morning sun,
Touched them with its golden beams,
They vanished one by one!

Poem by Helen Bayley Davis

Friday night’s dream, on Saturday told,
Is sure to come true, be it never so old.


The Vulture
The Vulture eats between his meals,
And that’s the reason why,
He very, very rarely feels,
As well as you and I.

His eye is dull, his head is bald,
His neck is growing thinner.
Oh! what a lesson for us all,
To only eat at dinner!

Poem by Hilaire Belloc

A Cat Meeting
All the cats consulted, what was it about?
How to catch a little mouse, running in and out!


Winter Sweetness
This little house is sugar.
Its roof with snow is piled.
And from its tiny window,
Peeps a maple-sugar child.

Poem by Langston Hughes

Up in the green orchard,
There is a green tree,
The finest of fruits,
That ever you’ll see.

The apples are ripe, 
And ready to fall,
And Robert and Roger,
Will gather them all.


For Baby
You shall have an apple, you shall have a plum,
You shall have a rattle, when papa comes home.


Dinosaurs lived so long ago,
They never had a chance to know,
How many kids would love to get,
A dinosaur to be their pet.

Poem by Bobbi Katz

To Market
To market, to market, to buy a fat pig.
Home again, home again, jiggety jig.
To market, to market, to buy a fat hog,
Home again, home again, jiggety jog.
To market, to market, to buy a plum bun,
Home again, home again, market is done.


Jumbo was an elephant,
As large as all creation,
He sailed across the ocean,
To join the Yankee nation.

He jars the ground as he turns around,
Jumbo, elephant Jumbo.
Biggest animal in this world,
Barnum’s elephant Jumbo!

He swallows peanuts by the ton.
I tell you, he’s a snorter!
Molasses, cake, and gingerbread,
And loves his soda water!

He lifts his trunk and growls a growl,
It’s like a clap of thunder.
When it comes, the people stare,
And gaze around in wonder!


Fears And Tears
Tommy’s tears, and Mary’s fears,
Will make them old, before their years.


I have a secret place to go.
Not anyone may know.
And sometimes when the wind is rough.
I cannot get there fast enough.

And sometimes when my mother,
Is scolding my big brother,
My secret place, it seems to me,
Is quite the only place to be.

Poem by Gwendolyn Brooks

The Kilkenny Cats
There were once two cats of Kilkenny.

Each thought there was one cat too many.

So they fought and they fit, and they scratched and they bit,

Till, excepting their nails, and the tips of their tails,

Instead of two cats, there weren’t any.


A Good Play
We built a ship upon the stairs, all made of the back-bedroom chairs,

And filled it full of sofa pillows, to go a-sailing on the billows.

We took a saw and several nails, and water in the nursery pails.

And Tom said, “Let us also take, an apple and a slice of cake,”

Which was enough for Tom and me, to go a-sailing on, till tea.

We sailed along for days and days, and had the very best of plays.

But Tom fell out and hurt his knee, so there was no one left but me.

Poem by Robert Louis Stevenson
Core Knowledge (R) Independent Reading 

(Review guidelines for publishing Core Knowledge (R) materials at the bottom of this page-view. This lesson is a “READ-ALOUD” Core Knowledge (R) passage that has been rewritten to be at a lower-grade independent reading level complexity than the original, largely by shortening and simplifying sentence structures while maintaining the richness of the text content.)


Lesson 19 – Part One

NEW WORDS: adapted, affects, blazing, cactus, classroom, creates, dandelion, differences, earlier, environment, environments, hazel, indoors, introduction, largest, lawns, nutrients, photosynthesis, plant’s, prettier, reaches, recap, reminder, shady, smallest, soaks, sprout, stems, sunflower, survive, thrive, tree’s, trunk’s, underwater, veins, vitamins, wither

Chapter One: Introduction to Plants
Many kinds of things live in our world. We have people, animals, and plants. You’ll know lots of the living things in this picture. People, animals, and plants have things in common. They’re all alive. They need food, water, and air. These help them to grow. These help them to stay alive. But there are differences, too. Animals and people make sounds. Plants don’t. And plants can’t move places.

How can plants live and grow? They need four things. Food, water, air, and light. A plant can survive with these four things. Even in a crack in the sidewalk!

What happened a few weeks ago? A dandelion seed floated through the air. It landed in this crack. There was a little soil in it. Enough for it to begin to grow. This dandelion gets plenty of sun. It gets plenty of air, water, and nutrients.

Let’s look at this shady forest. It is home to lots of types of plants. You’ll find the tallest tree. You’ll see the smallest flower. A forest is a large land area. Here, lots of trees grow close together. Lots of animals live in such a forest. They depend on these plants for food. Some plants become their homes. This forest is just one kind of environment. There are lots of kinds of places like this. Living things thrive on Earth because of them.


This is another type of forest. The leaves here aren’t like the ones in the forest you just looked at. Their colors aren’t the same. Their shapes aren’t the same. Later, you’ll learn about two types of trees. 

This place isn’t like forests. All plants need food, water, air, and light. But, different places have varied amounts of these things. This is a desert. Here, it’s hot and dry all year. There are plants here like this cactus. They’ve adapted to a life in sandy soil. They survive with very little rainfall. They’re fine with a blazing sun. How would the tough dandelion and the trees you saw earlier do here? They’d wither. They’d die. And a cactus couldn’t live in the sidewalk crack or the forest! Different types of plants grow in different environments.

Here’s an underwater home. Of course, fish live here. But there are plants down there, too. Underwater plants need the same things other plants need. You got it! Food, water, air, and light.

This home is neither forest, desert, or underwater. It’s a city park. People gathered seeds and planted them. People plant grass seeds on lawns and in parks. This creates places to play and relax. We plant flowers and trees to make the world prettier.

Some plants grow indoors. You might have one in your classroom. If so, someone needs to water it. That keeps it healthy and green.

Let’s recap. Plants have four needs. Food, water, air, and light. But not all plants can grow in all the same places on Earth. A dandelion can’t grow in the desert. A corn plant can’t grow underwater. You’ll now learn about different types of plants. And you’ll learn why plants are so important. They’re needed for both animals and people.


Chapter Two: Plant Parts
There are all kinds of plants. All plants need food, water, air, and light. Most plants have basic parts that are alike. They’re roots, stems, leaves, flowers, and seeds.

Take this sunflower. See the parts at the bottom. They’re roots. They are covered with soil. We usually can’t see the roots as we walk by. We’d have to take the plants out of the ground.

The plant’s roots reach down. They go deep into the soil. They grow underground. They help to hold the plant in place. But what’s most important? The roots take up water and food that are in the soil. Nutrients help plants grow. They keep them healthy. That’s just like vitamins. They help YOU grow. They keep you healthy.

The water and food move through the roots. They go up into the plant’s stem. The stem holds the plant up tall. The plant reaches toward the light. The water and food move elsewhere, too. They’re able to reach other parts of the plant. They even get to the leaves. The leaves are attached to the stem. They grow out from the stem. The leaves are usually green. But they can be other colors.


Lots of plants have flowers. They’re called blossoms. See the blossoms on this sunflower. Check out the outside. It has bright yellow petals. The flower petals of different plants come in lots of colors!

See the center of the sunflower blossom. This part has lots of petals around it. It’s made up of small seeds. How big is a sunflower seed? It’s about the size of a fingernail! Put the seeds of the sunflower plant into the soil. They’ll make a new sunflower plant! People eat certain plant seeds. You may have tasted a sunflower seed.

So, plants’ basic parts are roots, a stem, leaves, flowers, and seeds. They look different on different plant types. These flowers are from lots of plant types. Did you see this? The flowers’ colors are different. But their flower petals have different shapes, too.

This apple tree has the same basic parts. There aren’t any apples yet. That’s because this picture was from spring. At this time of year, the blossoms come out. The apples will grow in summer. We can pick them in the fall. We can’t see the apple tree’s roots. They grow underground. But we can see other parts. We can see lots of stems on the tree. The small stems are branches. See the apple blossoms and the leaves? There are lots of leaves on the branches of this apple tree.


The largest part of the tree is the trunk. The trunk’s outside is covered with bark. Bark is like clothes for trees. It protects the tree’s insides.

Here are leaves from varied trees. Take a close look. You’ll see that the leaves have lots of shapes. How can you tell what kind of tree you’re looking at?  Look closely at its leaves. The leaf on the top left is from a sugar maple. Below that is a white oak. The top right is from a witch hazel. Below that is a black oak. Remember this. Lots of plants have leaves. Not just trees. Leaves are important for all plants to survive.

Let’s learn about when light shines on the green leaves of a plant. The leaf soaks up energy from the light. This is an amazing process. It’s called “photosynthesis.” The leaf uses the light. The light affects the water and air that’s in the plant. It turns it into food for the rest of the plant!


Here’s a reminder. Earlier, we talked of the roots and stem of a plant. They move water and food from the soil. They bring it to the other parts of a plant. They bring it to the leaves. Photosynthesis is amazing. Water, nutrients, air, and light come together in the plant’s leaves. This is how plants make their own food. It’s a good thing, too. Plants can’t move like animals or people. They aren’t able to go find food somewhere else. Plants have to make food for themselves. So, the water and nutrients are made into food. This is through photosynthesis. There are parts of the leaves called “veins.” They carry the food back to the stem. From there, food gets to the rest of the plant.

Now you’ve learned about the basic parts of plants. Plants start as seeds. They sprout. They grow roots, stems, leaves. At last, they grow flowers. Roots, stems, and leaves work together with water, nutrients, air, and light. They make food for the plant. It’s called photosynthesis. Say that word three times!

Core Knowledge (R) Independent Reading 

(Review guidelines for publishing Core Knowledge (R) materials at the bottom of this page-view. This lesson is a “READ-ALOUD” Core Knowledge (R) passage that has been rewritten to be at a lower-grade independent reading level complexity than the original, largely by shortening and simplifying sentence structures while maintaining the richness of the text content.)


Lesson 20 – Part Two

NEW WORDS: absorb, becomes, beginnings, cycle, decay, decayed, decays, depends, dies, fewer, forgets, fully, germinate, germinated, germinates, germination, image, lifetime, mature, newly, sapling, seedling, seedlings, softer, sprouts, stages, sunflower’s, watermelon, woody

Chapter Three: The Life Cycle of a Plant
You’ve learned the parts of a plant. One of those is the seed. Lots of plants begin with a seed. Seeds come in all shapes and sizes. And seeds from varied plants look different. Each seed is a plant waiting to sprout. You have to plant it in the right place. Then it will grow to be a new plant. What grows from a sunflower seed? Only a sunflower plant. An apple seed? Only an apple tree. A watermelon seed? A pumpkin seed?

Seeds are the beginnings of new plants. Plants live like all living things. They live in a “life cycle.” A life cycle is the stages and changes that happen in living things.

A plant’s life starts with a seed. Most seeds have nutrients in them. These feed the new plants for a short time. Plants then “germinate.” They begin to grow into new plants. Here’s what the seeds must have. Water. Light from the sun. Nutrients from the soil.

Let’s look at the early-growth stage. The plant looks different from a fully grown, mature plant. Baby plants are “seedlings.” This image shows a plant’s growth from germination to seedling.


See the first picture. It’s a newly germinated seed. It’s just starting to sprout. Germination needs certain things to occur. The seed must get the right amounts of sun, water, and nutrients. Then the seed will open. The seedling will poke up through the soil. Look closely. You’ll see the plant start to grow its first root. The next pictures show the same plant. This covers several days. Watch the plant grow. You’ll see thin roots. They branch off deeper into the soil. They absorb water. They take in food. They push them up through the plant’s stem. The stem grows above-ground.

It takes time for a seedling to grow into a full-grown plant. How much time depends on the type of plant. What about a sunflower seed? It takes a month. Then the seedling looks more like a full-grown sunflower plant. An apple seed? It takes years to grow into a full-grown tree!

What happens when the plant dies? It decays. It breaks down into small pieces. It goes back into the ground. It turns into nutrients in the soil. A new life cycle of a plant starts!

Let’s learn the life cycle of this oak tree. This acorn contains the oak tree’s. You’ve likely seen acorns. They’re lying outside next to full-grown trees. Or they’re being carried away by squirrels.


Squirrels spend all day running around. They look for food. They hide food. They bury huge numbers of acorns. They often forget where they put some of them! The acorn that the squirrel forgets stays in the soil. The oak seed inside now has a better chance to germinate underground. Then the seed sprouts. It will grow into a seedling. But the young tree will grow only a foot or two in its first year.

A few years will pass. The oak grows ten feet tall. Maybe more! But it’s still a young tree. It’s called a “sapling” at this point. It’s a sapling for a number of years. 

Oak trees take a long time to mature. It takes about fifty years! And it does not produce acorns till then. How many acorns can an oak make in its lifetime? Tens of thousands! Only a few of those acorns will germinate. So, not a lot of them will grow to be new oak trees.

How long can oak trees live? For some, over two hundred years! But they’re like all living things. One day, the oak tree will die. It will die slowly. This will be over the course of a number of years. It will make fewer leaves each year. Its branches will drop off one by one. Its wood will become softer.


At the end, the roots die. Then, the tree will fall down. It will make a big crash on the forest floor. The branches will be the first thing to rot. They’ll disappear into the soil. What about the woody trunk? It takes many years to decay.

All the nutrients in the wood decay. They’ll be part of the soil again. What if there are lots of decayed plants? That area of soil will then have more nutrients. The more nutrients, the better. Then it’s easier for new seeds to germinate and grow.

Let’s recap. Plants live in a life cycle. This picture shows you a sunflower’s life cycle. The sunflower seed germinates. Then a new plant begins. It sprouts. It becomes a seedling. It needs the right amount of water, nutrients, and light. Then, the plant will keep growing. After a time, the plant becomes mature. It makes more seeds. New plants grow from them. The sunflower will die. It will decay. It will become nutrients in the soil. This helps other seeds to germinate. So, other seeds can grow to be new plants. So, a new plant life cycle begins.

Click on this link to move forward to Module C, Lessons 21 – 30


Note to Educators, Parents, Tutors, and Students: AOCR ® has attempted to provide authorship to all reading content where we have been able to find it. Some content is in the public domain without evidence of authorship. Some content has been written by AOCR ®.

All content contained in the AOCR ® curriculum is from one of four sources: 1) Content written by AOCR ® personnel; 2) Content derived from the Core Knowledge ® curriculum; 3) Content that is — to the best of AOCR’s knowledge — in the public domain and free of any copyright restrictions — with or without knowledge of authorship; 4) Content that is provided to us by an author with their permission, which shall be noted at the beginning of such content.

Further, ANY lesson that is identified as “Core Knowledge ®” is following all stipulations required by Core Knowledge ® in order for AOCR ® to reproduce it. The guidelines outlined in the next few lines, in italic, apply to ALL passages that are identified as originating from the Core Knowledge ® curriculum:

This work is based on an original work of the Core Knowledge ® Foundation made available through licensing under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. This does not in any way imply that the Core Knowledge Foundation endorses this work. With the understanding that for reuse or distribution, you must make clear to others the license terms of this work. The best way to do that is with a link to this web page:   .