Module D – Weeks 1 to 17

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Core Knowledge (R) Independent Reading 
(Review guidelines for publishing Core Knowledge (R) materials at the bottom of this page-view.)

Lesson 1 – Part One

NEW WORDS: Francis, Midwest, Spencer, Spencer’s, Spencers, cupcake, glimpse, harvests, plastic, raced, rinsed

Mister Spencer and the Rabbits
Grace Spencer’s dad has a farm. Her dad is a farmer out in the Midwest, where the land is flat, and the soil is rich. In the spring, Mister Spencer plants corn next to the farmhouse. All summer long, he takes care of the corn. By the end of the summer, the corn is ripe. Then Mister Spencer harvests it and sells it. That is how he makes a living.

Mister Spencer has a garden, too. In his garden he plants eggplants, beets, sprouts, and peppers. Mister Spencer has had some problems with rabbits. They crawl under the fence, hop into his garden, and munch on his plants. When Mister Spencer sees the rabbits in his garden, he gets mad as a hornet. He shakes his fist and shouts at the rabbits.

Grace and her sister Jill like the rabbits. Grace says they are cute. She tells her dad to be nice, and let the rabbits be. But Mister Spencer can’t stand those rabbits, and the Spencers need the plants in the garden to feed them in the winter.

Last summer, Mister Spencer got a dog, to force the rabbits out of his garden. The dog’s name is Pepper. He is a black dog. He sleeps out in the barn. When Pepper came to the farm, he gave the rabbits quite a scare. They were in the garden, munching on sprouts. Then Pepper came charging out into the yard, barking. The rabbits took off! They raced back into their hole as fast as they could.

Pepper ran to the rabbit hole and went in as far as he could. He started digging with his paws. But it was no use. It was a deep hole, and he could not get down to where the rabbits were. Mister Spencer was sitting in the living room at the time. He could tell what Pepper was up to. He smiled. “Good dog!” he said. “Good dog! I bet those rabbits will munch on sprouts somewhere else next time!”


The Picnic by the River
Last summer, the Spencers had a picnic by the river. They had a picnic basket filled with food. It was stuffed with all sorts of good things: chicken wings, ham, grapes, chips, and cupcakes. Mister Spencer set the picnic basket down. Grace and Jill went for a swim in the river.

After their swim, the children raced back to the spot where the picnic basket was. When they got there, there were ants marching down the side of their picnic basket. The ants were marching off with some of the food! The Spencers had set their basket down next to the center of a big anthill!

“Yikes!” shouted Grace in a loud voice. “Who asked those ants to this picnic?” Mister Spencer picked up the picnic basket and brushed off the ants. Much of the food was in plastic bags, so it was safe from the ants. Grace and Jill rinsed off the grapes after they brushed off the rest of the ants.

The Spencers sat down and ate their picnic lunch. This time they sat far from the center of the anthill. After lunch, Mister Spencer asked, “Should we pack up our stuff and get back to the farm?”

“Not yet,” said Grace, and she glanced back at the anthill. She smiled and slipped some bits of cupcake and ham into her pocket. Then she ran to the anthill. She set the bits of cupcake and ham on the ground next to the anthill. “There!” she said. “That will be lunch for the ants. I think ants are cool, when they are not crawling on our basket!”


The next week, Grace came running home after class. “Mom!” she said as she raced into the kitchen. “We got an ant farm for our classroom! It’s made of plastic, so you can see into it. You can look inside and see what the ants are up to. You can see them when they take bits of food back to their nest. It is so cool, because you get a glimpse into the lives of ants.”

Her mom smiled and nodded. She was glad to see Grace filled with excitement. Grace went on, “Miss Francis says that ants are insects. All insects have six legs. Bees and termites are insects, too! But they are not as cool as ants! In fact, some ants can lift objects that are one hundred times bigger than them.”

“Cool! What else did Miss Francis tell you?” asked her mom.

“Ants have a queen, but not a king,” Grace said. “The queen is the top ant. She is the boss. The rest of the ants feed her and take good care of her.”

“I like the sound of that!” said her mom.

“But it’s a hard life for her,” said Grace. “She has to make lots of eggs. So she has to be deep in the center of the anthill all the time.” Grace stopped to inhale. Then she asked, “Mom, can I run out in the yard and look for ants?”

“Yes, you can,” said her mom. And out Grace ran.





Letters “OE”:

A doe is a female deer.


Sir Gawain will face his biggest foe, the Black Knight, in a jousting contest.


Using a hoe will help me get rid of these weeds in the garden more quickly.


My friend Joe is having his birthday party at a roller skating rink.


Edgar Allan Poe wrote lots of very creepy stories.


Certain fish roe, or eggs, become a delicacy called caviar.


I tripped coming up the stairs and stubbed my toe.


Dr. Smith from “Lost In Space” moaned, “Oh, woe is me, William!”


The army troops saw their foes coming over the hill, ready for battle.


I like the saying, “What goes around comes around” as a great description of “karma.”


The farmer hoed his garden for most of the morning.


Dad said, “There were a number of types of hoes to choose from at Home Depot today.


We saw a three-toed sloth at the zoo today.


Mom said, “I think that my toes need a pedicure.”


Granny just complained about all of her various woes all day long.


The ship’s captain was nervous about getting too close to a nearby ice floe.


The lumberjack was using a froe to strip some young trees.


Sloe is the small, sour, blackish fruit of the blackthorn, and is a flavoring in some gins.


The fishing trawler had to navigate many ice floes each day.

Letters AR have the Long-O sound “roll into” the “ER” sound, i.e. the “OR” sound spelled “AR”:    

Most folks don’t realize that in the War of 1812, it was the U.S. that actually declared war on Great Britain.


This old man with mental issues is now a ward of the state.


I need to warm my cup of coffee in the microwave.


I need to warn you that my chess play is very aggressive.


I need you to complete this assigment at warp speed.


Lots of people thought that World War One was “the war to end all wars,” but they were wrong.


That wicked witch has a humongous wart on her nose.


In this scene from the movie, the hero wards off blows from his enemy.


It warms my heart to see these kids getting along so well.


Mom always warns us to look both ways when we’re crossing the street.


I love it when the U.S.S. Enterprise from Star Trek warps to light speed.


Sneezy is my favorite dwarf in the Snow White story.


Don’t step on that hive, or a swarm of bees will come after you!


It looks like that boat is pulling into the wharf to dock at way too fast a speed.


Letters “OU”:

We’re going to eat out at a great new soul food restaurant on Friday night.


We want to make sure that we mould our kids into children of integrity.


A snake will moult its skin, on average, three to six times per year!


Why bless your souls, kids, you couldn’t have given me a better birthday present.

Letters OU have the Long-O sound “roll into” the “ER” sound, i.e. the “OR” sound spelled “OUR”:

My brother will turn four years old tomorrow.


Can you pour me another cup of tea, please?


We need to sweep away a couple of puddles on the tennis court from last night’s rain.


Our baby crawls around lightning fast on all fours.


That gourd that you got to decorate our Thanksgiving dinner table looks like it has warts.


The country will mourn the loss of this popular Senator.


When grandma pours milk on her cereal, she always splatters a little bit of it.


I wish that your dog would stop chasing our cat.

Letters “AU”:

Au jus” is the natural juice that flows from meat as it cooks, and it’s like a very light gravy.


Mom’s pearl necklace is pretty, but they’re just faux pearls.


The “Fauve” painters in the early 1900s used vivid colors and bold contrasts in their paintings.


That famous chef has won many awards for his haute cuisine cooking.


I’d like a dress with a purplish color, something like this mauve gown.


I’d like some pants that are dark brownish  gray, like these taupe trousers.

Letters “EAU”:

Mom’s fancy French term for this brandy is “eau de vie.”


My favorite acting role that Beau Bridges played was in the movie “The Fabulous Baker Boys.”


Mom’s divorced friend has a new beau, and they seem to be a good match for each other.

Letter O has the Long-O sound “roll into” the “ER” sound, i.e. the “OR” sound spelled “OOR”:   

Make sure that you lock the front door when you leave.


On the show “Let’s Make A Deal,” you have three doors to choose from.


Mom yelled, “Why is the kitchen floor so sticky?”

Letter O has the Long-O sound “roll into” the “ER” sound, i.e. the “OR” sound spelled “OER” or “OHR”:

The cow jumped o’er the moon.


There were two Boer Wars in which England fought against who we now call South Africans.


Niels Bohr was a physicist who made important contributions to quantum theory, and he won the Nobel Prize.

Letters “EW”:

That fashion designer learned how to sew when she was just eight years old.


Granny sews pretty bibs for babies who are in families of her friends.


Mom sewed up all of the holes in our various pairs of socks yesterday.

Letters “OUGH”:

Dad let me help him knead the pizza dough that we’ll use for dinner tonight.

Letters “EO”:

Michelle Yeoh is one of my favorite all-time actresses.






Core Knowledge (R) Independent Reading 

(Review guidelines for publishing Core Knowledge (R) materials at the bottom of this page-view.)


Lesson 2 – Part Two

NEW WORDS: bandstand, belting, booms, coil, concert, drifting, knapsack, kneeling, rack, selfish, toots, trombone, winces

The Band
Grace and Jill are in a band. Grace toots on her trumpet. Jill toots on her slide trombone. When the children started out, they did not sound too good. Grace and her trombone sounded like a sick moose. Jill and her trumpet sounded like a flock of geese. The two of them made quite a racket.

It was so bad that Mister Spencer would yell, “I can’t take it!” Then he would run out of the house and hide in the barn. But, since then, the children have gotten a lot better, just as Mister Vance said they would. Mister Vance is the band master. He spends a lot of time with the children, helping them get better.

In the spring, there is a band concert in the park. Mister Vance gets up on the bandstand and waves his hands. The band starts belting out a jazz song. They sound good. Grace hits the notes on her trumpet. Jill’s trombone sounds good, too. The drummer is drumming up a storm. The band is knocking it out of the park.

Mister Vance has a big smile on his face. He is proud of Grace and Jill. Mister Spencer smiles, too. He has gotten tired of spending so much time in the barn.


The Yard Sale
Grace went to a yard sale. There were lots of things for sale at the yard sale. There were books and games and shells. There was a long coil of rope, a knapsack, and a lamp. There was a rack of pants and dresses. There was a bin filled with forks, spoons, and knives for the kitchen.

Grace spent some time looking at the books. She found one that she liked, and one that was perfect for Jill. There was just one problem. She did not have the cash she needed to get her book and the one for Jill. She would have to make a choice.

Grace saw that she would have to get just one of the books. But which one should she get? She looked at her book. Then she looked at the book for Jill. In the end, she dropped her book back in the box. Grace went to see the man who was having the yard sale. She said, “I would like to get this book.”

“Did I see you looking at two books?” said the man.

“Yes,” said Grace, “but I can’t get two with the cash I have. So I would like to just get this one for my sister.”

“Well,” said the man, “you are in luck! We are having a sale for sisters who are not selfish. That sort of sister gets two books for the price of one! So run back and grab that book that you liked!” Grace was thrilled. She ran back and got the book.


The Storm
There is a big storm on the farm. Dark clouds have blocked out the moon and stars. Thunder booms in the darkness. Gusts of wind sweep past the barn. Grace is in bed with the book she got at the yard sale. She is not scared of the thunder. In fact, she likes it. She sleeps better when there is a storm.

But Jill is not as brave as Grace. Just as Grace is drifting off to sleep, her sister yells in a scared voice. Grace jumps out of bed and runs into Jill’s room. Jill is sitting up in bed. She is weeping and grabbing her legs. She winces when the thunder booms. Her knees knock when the wind gusts.

“What’s the matter, Jill?” Grace asks, kneeling next to the bed.

“I’m scared!” says Jill.

Grace hugs her sister and sits next to her on the bed. “It’s just a summer storm. We will be safe inside the house.” Her big sister’s words make Jill feel better. The hug helps, too. But there is still one thing that has her scared.

“The ducks!” she says. “Will they be safe out in the storm?”

“Yes,” Grace says. “Those ducks are smart. When the thunder booms, they scamper off and take shelter. They will be just fine.”

Jill smiles and says, “I am glad the ducks have a safe place to run to in the storm. That makes me feel better!”



Core Knowledge (R) Independent Reading 

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Lesson 3 – Part Three

NEW WORDS: Knox, Pepper’s, cove, crashes, darts, fades, glances, hugging, napkins, sunscreen, whimpers, yelping

Dark Clouds and Wind
The next morning, when the Spencers wake up, the sun is out. Larks sing in the treetops. Socks and pants hang on the line. It seems like the perfect chance to have a picnic. The Spencers sit down next to the house and munch on their lunch. As they finish up, Mister Spencer glances up and sees dark clouds off to the west. The smile on his face fades.

“What’s the matter?” Jill asks.

“It looks like there’s a storm off to the west,” says Mister Spencer. The clouds get darker and the wind picks up. “I don’t like the look of it,” Mister Spencer says to his wife. “Let’s pack up and take the children down into the storm shelter, just to be safe.”

The Spencers pick up their picnic things. They stuff the food in the picnic basket. Grace grabs the cups and napkins. They take the basket down into the storm shelter. The storm shelter is like a basement. It is a safe place where the Spencers can take shelter in a storm. Once they are down in the shelter, Mister Spencer starts to lock up the shutters.

“No!” Grace shouts. “Not yet! Pepper’s still out there!” Mister Spencer darts out of the shelter to get the dog. Soon he is back. He is dripping wet, but he has Pepper in his arms.


In the Storm Shelter
The Spencers are down in their storm shelter. Outside the shelter, the storm has started. The wind gusts. Thunder cracks and crashes. Down in the shelter, the Spencers can’t tell how bad the storm is. But the Spencers will be safe down in their storm shelter. Their storm shelter can stand up to strong storms.

When the thunder booms, Jill grabs her mom’s arm. “I expect it,” she says. “But still, it scares me!” Her mom hugs her.

When it sounds like the storm is finished, Mister Spencer peeks out. “It’s safe,” he says. The Spencers step outside. Mister Spencer checks the barn. It is fine. Grace and Jill pick up some pots that were knocked off of the porch by the wind. “Things look to be in good shape,” says Mister Spencer.

“Good!” Mom says. “Let’s sit down and finish our picnic!”


The Visit
The Spencers are on a trip to visit their Gran. It’s a long car ride from the farm. Their dad drives in the morning. Then their mom drives after lunch. Grace and Jill feel like the trip will never end. At last, they get to Gran’s place. Grace and Jill run up to their Gran and hug her.

“It’s so nice to see you!” says Gran.

“Gran,” Jill says, “can we run down and swim?” After the long car ride, the children need some exercise. Gran smiles. She grabs her knapsack and points to the flip-flops on her feet and says, “I’m all set!”

Grace and Jill get dressed for swimming. They rub sunscreen on their arms and legs. Mister Spencer helps them rub the sunscreen on their backs. Once the sunscreen is on, Grace and Jill run down the path to the cove. When they get there, they wade in, yelping as the cool waves crash past them.

Grace and Jill splash and ride the waves. They dig for crabs and pick up shells. They toss a Frisbee back and forth. They munch on snacks and sit in the sun. It’s fun to visit with Gran.


The Soccer Game
Grace has a soccer game this weekend. It is a big game. If she and her pals win, they will be the state champs. At the game, Grace sees her pals Jane and Kim Knox and their dad, Mister Knox. “All set for the big game?” Mister Knox asks.

“Yup!” Grace says.

“Good!” says Mister Knox.

“We can win if we bring our ‘A’ game!” Grace and Mister Knox slap hands.

In the game, Grace starts off with a run of bad luck. She keeps missing the net, no matter how hard she kicks. One time she takes a shot but the keeper blocks it. One time she takes a shot, but the shot is off target. One time she shoots, but gets knocked down and skins her knee. “Arg!” Grace yells. She sits on the grass and pouts.

“Hang in there!” yells Mister Knox.

“Get back in the game!” yells her dad. “A quitter never wins, and a winner never quits!”

Grace whimpers for a bit, but then gets up and brushes herself off. She runs and makes a nice pass to Kim Knox, out on the left wing. Kim makes a pass back to Grace in the center. Grace has a shot! She swings her leg. Thwack! This time her shot is strong and on target. It shoots past the keeper and into the net.

“Yes!” shouts Mister Knox.

“Nice shot!” yells Mister Spencer.

Kim and Jane and the rest of her pals run up and hug her. Jane lifts her up. While they are hugging Grace and jumping up and down, the horn sounds. Time has run out! The game is finished. Grace and her pals are the state champs!





Letters “EW”:

Did you know that you call a female sheep a “ewe?”


I’m going to eat a few more potato chips.


It’s amazing to watch a sculptor hew a statue from marble.


Kew Gardens, in southwest London, is one of the most amazing botanical gardens in the world.


That little kitten is so cute when she makes her “mew” sound.


I got to church late, so I just sat in the back pew.


The bark from a yew tree is important for many modern drugs.


The ewes out in the pasture almost looked like they were having a social gathering!


Their dining room had beautifully hewn wood beams in the ceiling.


That huge wrestler hews his way through a crowd with ease.


Our cat mews incessantly when he wants some food.


The church pews had no cushioning, and they were uncomfortable to sit in.


They hiked through a thick stand of yews as they searched for the witch’s cottage.


Phew, that was a close call!


You need to skew your presentation more to the teachers in the audience than the parents.


Have you ever heard of a smew; I learned that it’s a Eurasian duck.


The volcano began to spew black ash and hot lava.


Our New York hotel had a great view of Central Park.


Whew, I thought the other team was going to score a winning basket in the final seconds of the game.


The tree man hewed huge dead branches from the oak tree in our back yard.


The kitty mewed until her owner finally poured her some milk.


On most political issues, my uncle skews to the liberal side of things.


We saw a flock of smews fly over the lake.


The demagogue always spews vitriol in his speeches.


That journalist’s views are generally conservative.


Loud “whews” arose from the crowd as the thrown rodeo rider escaped from the bucking bronco.


Letter U “by itself”:

Yul Brynner is best known for his acting role in the play and movie “The King And I.”


My best friend is named Hugh.


My favorite professor, Dr. Pugh, gave an interesting lecture today on gas giant planets.


The pioneers sighted a great butte rising above the otherwise flat plains.


I think that a Bach fugue is a devilishly difficult thing to learn to play on the piano.    

Letter U “by itself” has the Long-U sound “roll into” the “ER” sound, spelled “URE”:

I wonder if we will ever find a cure for the common cold.


The King said, “We must mure our city behind thick walls to protect ourselves from enemy invasions.


Honey, I am so jealous of your pure, unblemished skin.


I’ve been cured of a bad case of pneumonia.


We studied a primitive tribe that had some odd cures for various maladies.


They mured their dead pharaoh deep inside a pyramid.


Their society mures its dead emperors in giant tombs.

Letters “UE”:

After hitting a bad shot, the pool shark snapped his pool cue in half.


Tonight’s sunset is giving off a more crimson hue than usual.


The movie director cued the actors on when to deliver their lines.


The music director cues the choir on when it’s time for them to stand.


This famous painter tends to prefer hues on the blue and purple side.


In England, they say “get in a queue,” rather than “get in a line.”

Letters “OU”:

I thought that I’d find you here for your hiding place.


You’d better be careful walking on that slick ice.


I know that you’ll enjoy this new dessert recipe.


I heard the gang leader bark, “Which of youse guys is gonna start the fight for us?”  
Letters “EU”:

Have you heard of the famous feud between the Hatfields and the McCoys in the late 1800s?


Every time these two teams play each other, two or three feuds are likely to break out among the opposing players.

Letters “EAU”:

Oh, man, that’s one beaut of a black eye that you have!



Short Vowel A, “AU”:

My Aunt Alice taught adults who wanted to get their high school diploma.


Both of my aunts are older than my mother.

Short Vowel A, “A->consonant->silent E”:

Tell me what you have in your hand.

Short Vowel A, “AI”:

That’s a very handsome plaid shirt that you have on.

Short Vowel E, “EA”:

You’re gonna be dead when Mom finds out that you broke that vase!


My grandpa has almost gone deaf, and he uses a powerful hearing aid.


That’s disgusting; a bird pooped on my head!


Lead blocks the radiation from kryptonite that would endanger Superman.


I wasn’t dealt a single good hand of cards in today’s bridge game.


Are you going to call “heads” or “tails” when the ref tosses the coin?


I leant our set of training wheels to the Smiths that that their young son Troy could use them.


Spider Man leapt from the skyscraper to “web” his way through downtown.


I have no idea what the professor meant during that lecture on quantum physics.


In the Queen’s realm, there was peace for decades.


I think I’ll choose rye bread to make my sandwich with.


I really dread having to take tomorrow’s math test.


The Secretary of State attended the funeral in the President’s stead.


The tread on our car’s tires is getting dangerously thin.







Core Knowledge (R) Independent Reading 

(Review guidelines for publishing Core Knowledge (R) materials at the bottom of this page-view.)


Lesson 4 – Part Four


NEW WORDS: clunk, frosting, hoist, honks, hopper, hose, lipstick, mime, mimes, ooo, performer, plops, roped, starter, whoops

Grace invites two of her pals from soccer to visit her house for supper. They are twin sisters. Their names are Kim and Jane Knox. Grace and her mom spend the morning cooking. They gather fresh greens from the garden. They cook two chickens in a big pan. They bake fresh corn muffins and a cake.

Grace gets to crack the eggs and mix the cake. Her mom lets her help whip up the frosting, too. And, best of all, she gets to lick the spoon when the frosting is finished!

At six, a car drives up and toots the horn. Mister Knox is at the wheel. “That’s them!” Grace shouts. She runs out to meet her classmates.
They sit down for dinner. Kim Knox cuts the chicken with her knife. “Yum!” she says. “This chicken is the best! It’s so much better than the stuff our dad makes!” Jane nods. She would tell Grace how good the chicken is, but her mouth is stuffed with chicken.

“Save room for cake!” Grace says. After supper, Grace brings in the cake that she and her mom made. She helps her mom slice up the cake.

Ooo!” says Kim. “What sort of cake is it!”

“Red velvet!” says Grace.

“Yum!” says Kim. “Can we visit next weekend, too?”


Grace the Performer
Grace jumps out of bed and gets dressed. She slips on striped knee socks, green pants, and a green top. Next, Grace gets out her make-up. She rubs some white make-up on her face. Then she gets out red lipstick for her lips. She slips on a wig and pins a hat to the wig. The last thing she adds is a big red nose.

Grace is getting dressed up to be a mime. There are lots of fun things to do at the park this week. Today Grace will perform for lots of children. Her job will be to make all the children in the tent at the park smile.

But she can’t tell jokes. Mimes do not tell jokes. In fact, mimes do not use words at all. They have to keep mute at all times. That is what makes the job a hard one. But that is what makes it fun, too.

Grace starts off with a bike trick. She stacks up a bunch of cups. Then she jumps them with her bike. The children cheer, and Grace honks her bike horn. Next, Grace grabs a rose and waves it at the children in the stands. Oops! It’s a trick rose with a hose in it. Some of the children get wet!

At the end of her act, Grace gets up on a rope. She takes three steps on the rope. Then she acts like she is slipping. Whoops! Grace slips and lands sitting on the ground with a clunk and a thump. But it is all part of the act. Grace has a big, soft pad roped to her back.

The children cheer. They like the mime and her act. Mom, Dad, and Jill are sitting in the stands, too. They clap and yell the loudest of all. Grace smiles and waves. She thinks it’s fun to be a mime and perform!


The Frog Jumping Contest
There is a frog jumping contest at the park this week, too. “Did you get a frog for the contest?” Ken asks. Grace nods. She sticks her hand in her bag and grabs her frog. The frog sits on her fingers.

“Cool!” Ken says. “What’s his name?”

“It’s a she!” says Grace. “Her name is Hopper.”

“I got one, too,” says Ken. “His name is Legs.” Legs has longer legs than Hopper.

Grace and Ken take their frogs to the starting line. They set the frogs down. The starter shouts, “On your mark! Get set! Hop!”

“Jump!” Ken yells. “Jump!” Legs hops off.

Hopper jumps, too, but she jumps off to the side. “No, Hopper!” Grace yells. She runs and grabs her frog. Then she sets her down with her face pointing at the finish line. Hopper hops off. This time she is lined up and on target.

Ken and Grace chase their frogs down the track. The frogs are fast. It is a close race. The two frogs cross the finish line at the same time.

“Did Legs win?” Ken asks.

“Did Hopper win?” Grace asks.

“We have two winners!” says the man at the finish line. “Hopper and Legs crossed the line at the same time. They will share the prize!”

The man hands Grace and Ken a cup for their prize. Grace plops Hopper in the cup. Ken adds Legs. Then they hoist the cup up and shout, “Here’s to the champs!”



Core Knowledge (R) Independent Reading 

(Review guidelines for publishing Core Knowledge (R) materials at the bottom of this page-view.)


Lesson 5 – Part Five

NEW WORDS: Buster, flank, gem, inspects, snickers, softest, teen, tosses, whizbang, whoo, whooshing

The Spinning Wheel
There are lots of fun rides and games at the park this week. Grace and Jill like to ride the Spinning Wheel. The Spinning Wheel is a ride with six arms. The arms spin round and round and lift up. It is fun to ride.

“Jill!” Grace yells as the wheel starts to spin, “I dare you to keep your hands up while you ride, like this!” Soon, they are whizzing and whooshing and shouting and yelling. Grace keeps her hands up till the ride ends. Jill keeps her hands up for a while, but not all the time.

Whoo-hoo!” shouts Grace.

“Look at me!” shouts Jill. Her cheeks are pink with excitement.

When they get off the Spinning Wheel, they run and check out the games. Grace shoots hoops while Jill tosses darts at a target. Jill wins a prize!

“Let’s have a snack!” says Grace. The sisters get a big tub of buttered popcorn. They share a corn dog and a drink, too. The food is good.

When they are finished, Jill asks, “Should we ride the Spinning Wheel one last time?”

“No,” Grace says. “After all that food, it would not be safe. I think I would get sick!”


Buster the Pig
There are contests at the park, too. Grace is at a livestock contest with her dad. When a livestock contest is held, farmers bring their best sheep and pigs and hope to win a prize. “Look at the size of that pink pig!” Grace says.

“His name is Buster,” says a teen in a white tank standing next to the pig. He is rubbing the pig’s flank with a rag. “And my name is Rod.”

“What are you doing to him?” Grace asks.

“I’m grooming him,” says Rod. “Buster needs to look his best, so he can win the top prize. Would you like to help?” When it’s time to take Buster out into the ring, Grace rubs him under his chin. Buster likes this so much, he oinks and whimpers.

There are lots of pigs in the ring, and they all look good. A man in a black hat inspects the pigs. His job is to pick which pig he thinks is best. That pig will be the winner.

“I hope Buster wins!” Grace says.

The man looks at the pigs one last time. Then he points a finger at Buster and hands the top prize to Rod. “Yippee!” says Grace. “Buster is number one!”


Grace and Jill like to visit the livestock contest. There are lots of fun things to do there. In one barn, they see a man cutting wool off a sheep. They feel the wool the man has cut from the sheep. It is soft. The man tells them that the wool can be used to knit hats and scarves and mittens.

Jill gets to milk a cow. She likes to see the milk shoot out of the udder and splash in the bucket. Grace picks up a rabbit. The rabbit is cute, with lots of fuzz.

Then Grace sees chicks that have just hatched out of their eggs! She picks one up and pets it. She thinks the chick is the softest thing she has ever petted. “Are the chicks for sale?” she asks.

“Yep,” says the man.

“Can I bring this one home?” Grace asks. She looks at her mom and dad.

“It’s fine with me,” says her dad. “But you have to take good care of her.”

“I will, I will!” says Grace.

Mister Spencer hands the man some cash. The man plops the chick in a box and hands Grace the box. In the car, Grace asks, “What should I name her?”

Snickers!” says Jill.

Whizbang!” says Mom.

Gem!” says Dad.

“No,” says Grace. “I will name her Whisper!”





Short Vowel E, “E->consonant->silent E”:

I had more than one delicious cepe in today’s salad.


There was a countrywide fete the day Cinderella married the Prince.


Neve Campbell is well-known for her roles in the “Scream” series of horror movies.


The two chess masters went tete-a-tete after each other’s pieces in an aggressive game.


My favorite dessert is creme brulee, especially the charred sugar on top!

Short Vowel E, “AI”:

I heard what you said; I just don’t believe you.


My cousin Craig just got a cool sports car.

Short Vowel E, “AY”:

Mom, Tommy says that he feels like he’s coming down with a cold.

Short Vowel I, “UI”:

I hear that they’re going to build a new hospital where that abandoned warehouse is.


The third pig who built the brick house was the smartest one.


A guild with people in the same trade was an important institution in the Middle Ages.


My brother had a look of guilt on his face when Mom caught him sneaking a cookie before dinner.

Short Vowel I, I->consonant->silent E:

Would you please give me that screwdriver that’s on the bench?


I wonder what it will be like to live 100 years into the future.

Short Vowel I, “EE”:

When did we last see each other; how have you been?

Short Vowel I, “IE”:

The recipe says that next I need to strain the broth through a sieve.

Short Vowel O, “A” & “AA”:

Ah, now I think that I understand your point.


The music director sang, “Fa, la, la.”


Dad yelled, “Ha, I knew that I could fix that problem with the car on my own!”


One of my favorite songs is “La Bamba,” made famous by Ritchie Valens.


My Ma always insisted that I eat everything that was on my plate.


My Pa is great at coming up with funny puns.


The doctor poked a popsicle stick in my throat and asked me to say, “aah.”


Let’s hear the nursery rhyme “Baa, baa, black sheep.”


Ebenezer Scrooge yelled, “Bah, humbug!”


My sister yelled, “Hah, I really scared you that time, didn’t I?”


Kaa is the name of the giant snake in Kipling’s “The Jungle Book.”


Nah, I don’t need any more food; I’m stuffed.


Pah, that’s disgusting; the cat just threw up a hairball!


The cheerleaders yelled, “Rah, rah, sis-boom-bah!”


The British Raj in India lasted from 1858 to 1947.


In our trip to India, we got to see the Taj Mahal.


Please wad up this paper and throw it into the trash.


My friend looked very wan after dealing with a long illness.


I said to my little brother, “I wish you wouldn’t wap me on the head like that!”


I was hoping that you’d say that!


Angkor Wat is this amazing temple complex in Cambodia.


She kept babbling on, “Yah, yah, yah!”


Honey, please bring me the bra that’s hanging to dry in the laundry room.


The jazz ensemble included a couple of ska tunes in their concert.


Mom went to a fancy spa one day while on our California vacation.


The crowd let out “ews” and “aahs” as the magician did his tricks.


One of the greatest classical composers in history was J.S. Bach.


I’m in a blah mood today.


Mom bought three new bras at the department store today.


One of my favorite desserts is flan.


My favorite brand of dress shoes is Cole Haan.


Professor Hwan okayed my doing my term paper on the subject of black holes.


Kwan Baptiste is a soccer player from Grenada.


Mach 1″ is a term for the speed of sound, which can vary slightly depending on weather factors, but is generally around 750 miles per hour.


When we eat at an Indian restaurant, I love to order the bread that they call “naan.”


Rahm Emanuel was Mayor of Chicago, and is now the U.S. Ambassador to Japan.


Mom and a number of her friends like to go to spas on their vacations.


The teacher asked, “Why are all these wads of paper all over the classroom floor?”


Harry Potter held up his wand and yelled, “Luminos!”


Tell me what you want to get for Christmas.


If my little sister waps me on the head once more, I’m going to scream!


Be careful that you don’t let that wasp sting you!


The king was grieving at the loss of his top general, and he said, “Alas, he wast my best warrior.”


On our photographic trip to Southeast Asia, we visited many impressive wats.


The sixty-watt light bulb in this lamp has burned out.


The pilgrims headed down the ghat in order to bathe in the sacred waters of the river.


Genghis Khan was one of the most fearsome military leaders in the history of our planet.


I need a cotton swab to help me take off my make-up.


Look at that beautiful swan floating on the lake.


Can I swap my grapes for your pear?


The police chief sent out a SWAT team to catch the criminal at his hideout.


J.S. Bach’s musical compositions are among the most impressive in history.


The wizards held their wands at-ready, about to attack each other with their magic.


Who wants to go see the latest Avengers movie?


There are a bunch of wasps buzzing around the back porch.

You can watch TV for a half-hour after you’ve completed your chores.


How many watts is this guitar amp rated at?


I’ve got the blahs today and need to find something to do that will cheer me up.


I love Brach candies, especially their red hots.


On our trip to South Africa, we saw one kraal after another filled with cattle.


All along the river, ghats were built so that the people could easily get to the water to bathe.


Did you know that Slavs are the largest ethnolinguistic group in Europe?


Notice how the nurse swabs your arm with rubbing alcohol before giving you your shot.


Be careful, because there are alligators all through this dismal swamp.


The swans floated by our boat looking very peaceful.


Dad swaps out his current car for a new car about every five years.


Mom swats flies with pinpoint accuracy.







Core Knowledge (R) Independent Reading 

(Review guidelines for publishing Core Knowledge (R) materials at the bottom of this page-view.)


Lesson 6 – Part Six

NEW WORDS: Cedric, Vincent’s, bends, bumping, dusts, fest, husks, marvel, relic, shard, spooked, tagged

The Harvest
Mister Spencer must harvest his corn when it is ripe. He can’t let it spoil. It’s a big job. Sometimes he has to hire helpers to help him bring in the harvest.

Grace likes two of the helpers her dad hires. Their names are Hank and Cedric. When they finish twelfth grade, they plan to be farmers like Mister Spencer.

Mister Spencer gets out his big combine and fills the tank with gas. Then he starts it up. It sends up a puff of black smoke. The combine is loud. But it is good at cutting down corn.

Mister Spencer drives the combine in the morning. After lunch, he lets Hank and Cedric drive. They drive the combine back and forth, until all of the corn is cut down. Grace rides with them part of the time.

When they are finished with the harvest, Hank spots what looks like a rock sticking up out of the ground. He bends down and grabs it.

“What is it?” Cedric asks.

“I think it’s a chunk of a pot,” says Hank. He dusts it off with his fingers and says, “It could be a relic from a long time back in the past!” Back at the house, Hank hands the pot shard to Grace. “Here,” he says. “This is for you. We can’t tell, but we think it could be a relic.”

“Thanks!” says Grace, with a smile. Then she runs to get Hank and Cedric some corn muffins. They sit on the steps and munch on the muffins.


The Harvest Marvel
After the harvest, the Spencers had a Harvest Fest on their farm. A bunch of children came. “Have fun!” Mister Spencer said to the children. “And look out for the Harvest Marvel!”

“What’s the Harvest Marvel?” one of the children asked.

“There is a legend that farmers have passed down for a long time. At the Harvest Fest, someone dresses as the Harvest Marvel to celebrate all of the crops and good food we harvest in the fall. It’s a tribute to thank the Harvest Marvel for the harvest. Looking out for the Harvest Marvel can be the best game at the Harvest Fest!” said Mister Spencer.

The children pondered this for a bit and then skipped off to get snacks and drinks. Time passed, and they had forgotten to look out for the Harvest Marvel — until something or someone stepped out of the darkness next to the barn. It was hard to tell what it was. Its arms and legs were wrapped in corn husks. It had a pumpkin on its face as a mask.

“Greetings!” shouted the Harvest Marvel, jumping up and down. The children did not recognize the voice of the Harvest Marvel, and could not tell who or what the Harvest Marvel was. They were spooked and started to run.

Grace started to run from the Harvest Marvel, too. But then she spotted a jacket on the Harvest Marvel, under the corn husks. She recognized that jacket.

Grace ran up to the Harvest Marvel and tagged it. By accident, she knocked the pumpkin mask off of the Harvest Marvel. “See!” Grace yelled. “It’s just Hank!” When the children saw that the Harvest Marvel was just Hank, they ran up and jumped on top of him. Hank and the children were all smiles.


The Jumping Fish
Today Grace and Jill are at the lake with their mom. They are bump-bump-bumping on top of the waves. Grace can feel the wind on her face. It is so strong, it makes her blink and squint.

“Look!” Grace says. She points at a big green fish that has jumped up next to them. The fish twists. Then it flops back into the lake, with a big splash.

“That was cool!” Jill says. But the fish is not finished. It jumps up and makes a big splash, once, twice, three times. “I think she likes us!” says Jill.

After a while, they steer back to the dock. Grace grabs a rope and tosses it onto one of the poles on the dock. Jill helps her tug on the rope. Then they jump out. The Spencers sit down on a blanket and have a picnic next to the lake.

“Mom,” Grace asks, “why do you think that fish was jumping next to us?”

“Well,” says their mom, “I think the fish was scared by the loud sound we made when we went past, and that’s why it jumped.”

“No!” says Jill. “That fish liked us! That’s why she jumped. She was jumping for us, so we would see what a good jumper she is!” Grace smiles. What her mom said makes sense to her, but she likes to think that the fish was jumping for her, and for Jill.


Grace is in Miss Vincent’s class. She has to make a speech on snakes. She takes out a picture of a snake. Then she starts her speech.

“Have you ever seen a snake at the zoo?” Grace asks. “Have you ever seen a snake in your backyard? Were you scared when you saw it? Well, snakes can scare you, but they are cool, too. Just do not get too close!”

“Snakes have fangs in their mouth and scales on their skin. Lots of snakes shed their skin from time to time. When they get too big for their outside skin, they twist out of it. Here is a snake skin I found in my backyard.”

“Snakes make their home in dark holes in the ground. But they like the sun, too. When the sun is out, snakes like to coil up on rocks and let the sun shine on them.”

“Snakes do not order a sandwich for lunch. They do not like sweets or nuts or chips. They are hunters. They hunt for mice and rats and frogs. If a snake catches a mouse, that will keep it fed for a long time. It will not need food for the rest of the week.”

“Snakes are fun, but if you see one, take care. It’s not safe to grab a snake, or to get too close to one. Snakes have sharp fangs, and they can bite you!”



Lesson 7 – Dale-Chall Vocab Builder

NEW WORDS: Biff, Greene, Maypole, Popeye, Saturn, Tami, abrasion, accused, anyhow, badge, banjo, bassoon, battleship, beautify, blaze, blindfold, buggy, burger, bushel, buttermilk, buttonhole, butts, cardboard, carefree, careless, carelessness, cashier, catsup, cellar, cheat, christen, cocoon, coffeepot, collapsed, compliant, condition, cough, creamy, cufflink, cupful, decorate, deserve, doorknob, dressmaker, drub, dwelt, eleventh, engines, fable, fabric, faith, fashion, fervent, fever, fife, filthy, firing, gallon, gasoline, glory, godmother, graduate, guidance, gunpowder, hacking, heater, iceberg, income, instant, intervene, invitations, ivory, kilts, laboratory, lawnmower, limb, lone, lonesome, mackerel, mailman, mamma, migraines, misspell, multiply, municipal, murder, mustard, newfangled, newspaper, otherwise, outstanding, overalls, overcoat, owing, pansy, peppermint, photograph, pigeon, plagued, platter, plaything, plead, pocketbook, poultice, poultry, powered, preacher, prince, pure, reader, remind, rubbish, sanitize, savings, schoolboy, screw, shaker, shear, shovel, sickness, slit, snowbank, snowflake, somehow, spinach, starve, statuette, stork, suffer, sunk, surmised, surname, swamp, sweltry, tablespoon, tangerine, thorn, timepiece, tourist, tricycle, trolley, trousers, tunnel, unfriendly, unhealthy, vessel, visitor, watchman, waterproof, weaken, wisecracks, workman, wrung, zoologist

Gramps worked for the railroad.

He was born December the eleventh.

You can take off the blindfold.

The cat plays in cardboard boxes.

That rose has a thorn.

Dab this poultice on your abrasion.

A ghost dwelt in the attic.

She had a carefree childhood.

Sing hymn number 352.

That report is pure rubbish.

Raise your hands.

They’re firing up their engines.

He hopes to discover a new planet.

Don’t misspell your words.

Blot up the spill.

Remind me of her surname.

The cookie will crumble in milk.

Screw this tightly.

Climb to the mountain peak.

Multiply two times two.

It was farther than we surmised.

I have faith in him.

His carelessness got him in trouble.


Dig up that clump of weeds.

Mamma, I got a cut!

Mom will weep at the wedding.

She plays the fife in the marching band.

That job pays a good income.

I got lonesome at camp.

That’s a pigeon on the statuette.

His fever is 102 degrees.

How much are we owing on the house?

Is she a visitor from Saturn?

That farmer wears overalls.

Grandpa gave me a hug.

The tunnel collapsed.

Put these trousers in the washer.

He just turned fourteen.

This is a newly dug grave.

Have you read the newspaper?

Oil the machinery.

Don’t be careless in the laboratory.

Yum, sausage gravy!

Yum, what a creamy milkshake!

A thief stole her pocketbook.

He’s got a hacking cough.

They live in a lone house in the woods.


I must drub this into your heads.

NOT resting will weaken your condition.

I’m thirsty for ice water.

Peel this tangerine.

His dad’s a banjo player.

These are woolen kilts.

Starve a fever, feed a cold.

I don’t fully understand.

Mrs. Greene is my godmother.

Slit the fabric here.

What a pretty bracelet!

The zoologist found an eagle nest.

No snowflake is like another.

Have you played the game Battleship?

Put in a tablespoon of salt.

The watchman saw enemy troops.

What’s the moral of this fable?

There are gators in that swamp!

My pants cuff got muddy.

He’s accused of murder.

My skirt is too tight.

The cattle graze all day.

The cop showed me his badge.

We can’t cure the common cold.


Get your butts in gear!

The Chinese invented gunpowder.

Don’t fret about that.

He’s the last passenger to board the train.

She’s a famous dressmaker.

We’ll christen the baby on Sunday.

My granddaughter plays the bassoon.

She’s an outstanding helper.

You must awaken at 5:00 A.M.

I’m thankful for your guidance.

Bathe that filthy dog.

The butterfly came out of its cocoon.

He’d wrung the rag dry.

Please forgive me.

Her wisecracks suggest a dry wit.

Chop this with your hatchet.

You used to get places in a horse and buggy.

I suffer from migraines.

He works as a cowboy on a ranch.

Let’s beautify our municipal parks.

Drill the hole here.

The trolley is popular with tourists.

That’s a bad habit!

I’ll intervene sometime soon.


I need a cupful of milk.

No, a stork doesn’t bring babies!

Shovel this snowbank.

Why are you following me?

That’s a becoming outfit!

Ivory comes from elephant tusks.

He swore to tell the truth.

Pick up that tree limb.

She snacks on sunflower seeds.

The telephone is ringing!

There’s a package in the mail.

I swallowed a watermelon seed.

That nice place is like heaven on Earth.

You can’t be barefoot in that store.

It’s time to shear the sheep.

Wrap up, otherwise you’ll catch cold!

Watch out, or he’ll cheat you!

My timepiece is waterproof.

Biff is riding his tricycle.

The firemen fought the blaze.

She has a great fashion sense.

The Prince addresses Parliament today.

The rock has sunk to the bottom.

The balloon popped.

Smoking tobacco is unhealthy.


Her plaything just broke.

What a soft cloth napkin!

That’s an American tourist.

The fireworks were loud.

He was a soldier in the war.

She’ll graduate at the end of the term.

Put the cufflink in your buttonhole.

The cashier gave her change.

Send invitations to the entire gang.

I plead “not guilty,” Your Honor!

Put on your overcoat.

I’m hopeful that I aced the test.

Sanitize this doorknob.

Their wealth came from the poultry industry.

It’s not as sweltry in the cellar.

Put catsup and mustard on my burger.

Hang your coat on that hook.

Crop the photograph here.

Buy a gallon of milk.

He was a compliant schoolboy.

Come here this instant!

You’re in a heap of trouble!

A sickness plagued their land.

Brew some peppermint tea.


Her favorite flower is a pansy.

Squeeze some lemon on my mackerel.

Decorate the Maypole!

Their vessel just missed the iceberg.

Try this newfangled toothbrush.

You know this better than me, anyhow.

They’ll pave the road soon.

The lawnmower is gasolinepowered.

The preacher gave glory to God.

I love blueberry pie.

Our rear tires are low.

She’s a fervent reader.

I spent my savings.

Warm the room with the space heater.

That new kid is unfriendly.

She’s bathing in the tub.

Somehow, you’ll figure it out.

The dog barked at the mailman.

Yum, buttermilk pancakes!

Drive slowly past that workman.

Pass the salt shaker.

The coffeepot is empty.

They picked a bushel of peaches.

I agree, you deserve better.

A prune is a dried plum.

She can weave a sweater.

She’s running for mayor.

Play indoors today.

The tide is rising.

That’s my elder sister, Tami.

Popeye loves spinach.

Bring a fruit and cheese platter.








Short Vowel U, “O->consonant->Silent E”:

Can I come with you to play at the park?


I hear the soft sound of a dove cooing.


I love to play golf on a warm, sunny spring day.


None of us were there when it happened.


Some of these tomatoes have rotted.


When night comes, the vampires will come out!


Doves are perched on windowsills all over that building.


I loved the latest season of that TV show.


Grandma loves to eat chocolates.


I seem to have lost my right-hand leather glove.

Short Vowel U, “O ‘By itself'”:

We’re reading the book “Of Mice And Men” by Steinbeck.


Hi, Hon; how was your day at work?


We’re proud that our son is going to enlist in the Navy.


Did you know that a “ton” weighs two-thousand pounds?


We won the basketball game by a single point.


I saw a Buddhist monk on a downtown street corner today.


We had tons of fun at Sherry’s birthday party.


John Donne, who lived from 1572 to 1631, was an influential English poet.


Did I hear someone knock on the front door?

Short Vowel U, “A”:

What in the world was he thinking when he did that?


What would you like me to fix for your birthday dinner?


You look really sad; what’s the matter?

Short Vowel U, “OO”:

The doctor said that my red and white blood cell counts are right where they should be.


Many cars and homes were ruined in the big flood.

Short Vowel U, “OU”:

I’m sorry, but you’re still too young to see that movie.

Short Vowel U, “U->consonant->Silent E”:

Mom and Dad splurged and stayed in a really luxe hotel on their vacation.




Do you think she knows that her socks are two different colors?


Shh, be careful to not wake the baby!


Their young daughter is very shy around adults.


Ash from the volcano is covering the ground.


Shad roe is the egg sac of the female American shad fish, a member of the herring family.


We’ve got to get rid of this ugly orange shag carpet after we move into the house.


By the 1970s, the Shah of Iran had built up the fifth largest military in the world.


Lots of dictators try to create a sham that they are actually a democracy.


Shaq O’Neal has always been my favorite basketball player.


The aristocrats passed by the peasants, looking down upon them from their comfy shay.


Mom’s preferred hand lotion is made from shea butter, which comes from a West African shea tree.


I wonder what she’d do if I asked her boyfriend out on a date.


Can you bring me the saw that’s in the shed in the back yard?


Some of my favorite children’s books were written by Shel Silverstein.


She’s really looking fantastic for someone at such an advanced age, isn’t she?


We’ll part a shim between these machine parts to compensate for wear.


I have a shin splint that really hurts when I run.


Ship these products overnight to this customer.


The inmate was caught with a shiv, and they put him in the hole for a week.


Be careful dealing with that guy; he’s such a shmo (also spelled “schmo”).


We shod the horse with new horseshoes this morning.


Have you ever been asleep thinking that you were falling, and then you woke up with a shog?


A great new jewelry shop opened up at the mall.


I know that it’s a long shot, but let’s give it a try.


Can you please show me how to do that exercise correctly?


My Dad’s on a diet, and he will shun eating any kind of dessert right now.


Please shut that window before the rain gets heavier.


Charlie’s New Years Eve party was quite a bash.


Don’t listen to a word coming out of her mouth; it’s all ridiculous bosh.


I need to get some cash at the ATM machine.


The robber who broke into our house hit me on the head with a cosh.


Yum, please dish me up some of that shepherd’s pie.


Please don’t fash about cleaning up your room right now; it can wait until tonight.


I wish that I could eat that, but I’m allergic to fish.


The nurse said, “My, that’s a nasty gash that you’ve got on your leg!”


Gosh, I didn’t know that you liked me so much.


It was such a strong storm that water started to gush into the basement.


I love Granny’s hash brown casserole.


Hush, you shouldn’t interrupt someone while they’re talking!


Did you know that Josh Brolin played Thanos in the Avengers movies?


Now don’t josh me about my new haircut.


Your uncle is likely to lash out in anger if you bring up politics.


We were amazed at how lush the rainforest was.


Mom, I can mash the potatoes for you.









Lesson 8 – Beatrix Potter

Two Tales: Tom Kitten; Timmy Tiptoes

NEW WORDS: Chippy, Goody’s, Hackee, Jemima, Moppet, Moppet’s, Rebecca, Timmy, Timmy’s, awkward, bagful, chipmunks, chirpy, combed, commotion, confesses, confined, damaging, diddlum, doubted, drake, dreadfully, emptied, fitted, forgetful, fortnight, innocent, journeys, manner, meantime, measles, nightcap, nutcrackers, paddle, padlock, passage, pecked, rattled, replying, ribs, shedding, silvertail, smears, specialty, thicket, tiptoes, twittered, unable, uncomfortable, unsteady, unwisely, ventured, woodpecker’s
The Tale Of Tom Kitten

Once upon a time, there were three little kittens. Their names were Mittens, Tom Kitten, and Moppet. They had dear little fur coats of their own. And they tumbled about the doorstep and played in the dust.

Their mother was Mrs. Tabitha Twitchit. One day, she expected friends to come over for tea. So, she fetched the kittens indoors. She wanted to wash and dress them before the fancy company arrived.

First, she scrubbed their faces. Then, she brushed their fur. Then, she combed their tails and whiskers. Tom was very naughty. He scratched his own mother!

Mrs. Tabitha dressed Moppet and Mittens in clean, colorful jumpers. Then she looked in the chest of drawers. She studied all sorts of elegant but uncomfortable clothes for Thomas. Tom Kitten was very fat. And he’d grown quite a bit. After he put on the clothes, several buttons burst off. His mother sewed them on again.

The three kittens were ready. But Mrs. Tabitha then unwisely let them out into the garden. Of course, she needed them out of the way. She would be preparing food. Her specialty was hot buttered toast.

“Now keep your outfits clean, children! You MUST walk on your hind legs. Keep away from the dirty ash-pit. Don’t visit Sally Henny Penny. Don’t go near the pigsty. And steer clear of the Puddle-ducks.”

Moppet and Mittens walked down the garden path. They were unsteady on just their hind legs. Soon, they walked on their dresses. Then, they fell on their noses. When they stood up, there were several green smears!


“Let’s climb up the rock garden. It’s best to just sit on the garden wall,” said Moppet. They went up with a skip and a jump. Moppet’s little white bonnet fell down into the road.

Tom Kitten tried walking on his hind legs. It was hard when wearing trousers. He was quite unable to jump at all. So, he came up the rock garden by degrees. He was damaging the ferns. And he was shedding buttons right and left. He was all in pieces when he reached the top of the wall. Moppet and Mittens tried to pull him together. But his hat fell off. And the rest of his buttons burst.

They were having all of this trouble. Then, they heard a, “Pit-pat! Paddle-pat!” Uh-oh! There were the three Puddle-ducks. They were coming along the hard high road. They were marching one behind the other. They were doing the awkward goose step. “Pit-pat! Paddle-pat! Pit-pat! Waddle-pat!”

They stopped and stood in a row. They stared up at the kittens. They had very small eyes. They looked surprised. Then the two duck-birds, Rebecca and Jemima Puddle-duck, did something funny. They picked up the hat and the bonnet. Then, they put them on!

Mittens laughed so hard that she fell off the wall. Moppet and Tom came down after her. The dresses and all the rest of Tom’s clothes came off on the way down.

“Come! Mr. Drake Puddle-duck,” said Moppet. “Come and help us to dress our brother! Come and button up Tom!”


Mr. Drake Puddle-duck advanced in a slow, sideways manner. Then, he picked up the various pieces of clothing. But he put them on HIMSELF! They fitted him even worse than Tom Kitten. “It’s a very fine morning!” said Mr. Drake Puddle-duck. And he and Jemima and Rebecca Puddle-duck set off up the road. They kept up their silly goose step. “Pit-pat! Paddle-pat! Pit-pat! Waddle-pat!”

Then Tabitha Twitchit came into the garden. Of course, she found her kittens on the wall with no clothes on! “Oh, my!” she shrieked. She was one mad mama cat! She pulled them off the wall. She gave them a loud lecture. Then, she took them back to the house.

“My friends will arrive in a minute. And you are not fit to be seen! I am furious with you!” said Mrs. Tabitha Twitchit. She sent them straight upstairs. And I am sorry to say she told her friends a white lie. She said that they were in bed with the measles.

Of course, this wasn’t true. Quite the contrary. They weren’t in bed at all. NOT in the least. During the tea, all the ladies could hear odd noises upstairs. This disturbed the mood of the tea party. It was not as peaceful and as dainty as Tabitha would have liked.

I think that some day I shall have to make another, larger book. This will be to tell you more about naughty Tom Kitten! As for the Puddle-ducks? They went into a pond. The clothes all came off quickly. Well, of course! There were no buttons. Mr. Drake Puddle-duck, and Jemima and Rebecca, have been looking for them ever since.


The Tale Of Timmy Tiptoes
Once upon a time, there was a little fat comfortable gray squirrel. He was called Timmy Tiptoes. He had a nest built of leaves in the top of a tall tree. He had a little squirrel wife called Goody.

Timmy Tiptoes sat out, enjoying the breeze. He whisked his tail and chuckled. “Little wife Goody, the nuts are ripe. We must collect a bunch to eat in winter and spring.”

Goody Tiptoes was busy pushing moss in between the leaves. She said, “The nest is so snug. We shall be sound asleep all winter.”

Timothy had lots of common sense. He replied, “Then we shall wake up all the thinner. And there will be nothing to eat in early spring-time.”

Timmy and Goody Tiptoes came to the nut thicket. They found other squirrels were there already. Timmy took off his jacket. He hung it on a twig. They worked away quietly by themselves.

Every day, they made several journeys. They picked large quantities of nuts. They carried them away in bags. They stored them in several hollow stumps. This was near the tree where they had built their nest.

After a while, these stumps were full. So, they began to empty the bags into a hole high up in a tree. But that tree had belonged to a woodpecker. All the holes he had pecked created tunnels. The nuts rattled down, down, down inside the tree trunk.


“How shall you ever get them out again? It is like a piggy bank!” said Goody.

“I shall be much thinner before springtime, my love,” said Timmy Tiptoes. He peeped into the hole and studied it for a bit.

They did collect lots of acorns, because they did not lose them! Some squirrels bury their nuts in the ground. They lose more than half of them! That’s because they can’t remember the place.

The most forgetful squirrel in the woods was called Silvertail. He would begin to dig, and he could not remember where. And then he would dig again. He’d find some nuts that didn’t belong to him. Then there would be a fight. Other squirrels would begin to dig, all at the same time. The whole forest was in commotion!

Unfortunately, just at this time a flock of little birds flew by. They were going from bush to bush. They were searching for green caterpillars and spiders. There were several sorts of little birds. They all twittered different songs.

The first one sang, “Who’s been digging up MY nuts? Who’s been digging up MY nuts?”

And another sang, “Little bit of bread and NO cheese! Little bit of bread and NO cheese!”

The squirrels followed and listened. The first little bird flew into Timmy’s and Goody’s bush. The Tiptoes were quietly tying up their bags. The bird sang, “Who’s been digging up MY nuts? Who’s been digging up MY nuts?”


Timmy Tiptoes went on with his work without replying. Indeed, the little bird didn’t expect an answer. It was only singing its natural song. And it really meant nothing at all.

But then the other squirrels heard that song. They rushed at Timmy Tiptoes and slapped and scratched him! Then they upset his bag of nuts. The innocent little bird who had caused all this mischief just flew away in a fright!

Timmy rolled over and over. He then turned tail and fled towards his nest. He was followed by the crowd of squirrels shouting, “Who’s been digging up MY nuts?”

They caught him and dragged him up the tree where there was the little round hole. Then, they pushed him in. The hole was much too small for Timmy Tiptoes’ figure. They squeezed him dreadfully. It was a wonder they didn’t break his ribs. “We will leave him here till he confesses,” said Silvertail Squirrel. He then shouted into the hole, “Who’s been digging up MY nuts?”

Timmy Tiptoes made no reply. He had tumbled down inside the tree. He was lying on a bunch of nuts that belonged to him. He lay quite stunned and still.

Goody Tiptoes picked up the nut bags and went home. She made a cup of tea for Timmy. But he didn’t come, and he didn’t come. Poor Goody had a lonely and unhappy night. Next morning, she ventured back to the nut bushes to look for him. But the other unkind squirrels drove her away. She wandered all over the woods. She called out, “Timmy Tiptoes! Timmy Tiptoes! Oh, where is my Timmy Tiptoes?”


In the meantime, Timmy Tiptoes came to his senses. He found himself tucked up in a little moss bed. He was very much in the dark. He was feeling quite sore. It seemed to him that he might be underground. Timmy coughed and groaned. His ribs really hurt. All of a sudden, there was a chirpy noise. A small striped Chipmunk appeared with a night light. He said he hoped Timmy was feeling better.

The Chipmunk was most kind to Timmy Tiptoes. He lent him his nightcap. And he offered Timmy as much to eat as he wanted. The Chipmunk explained that it had rained nuts through the top of the tree. “Besides, I found a few buried!” He laughed and chuckled when he heard Timmy’s story. While Timmy was confined to bed, the Chipmunk said he should eat a lot.

Timmy said, “But how shall I ever get out through that hole. I need to thin myself, and not get fatter. My wife will be anxious that I am missing!”

“Just another nut or two. Let me crack them for you,” said the Chipmunk. This happened over and over again. Timmy Tiptoes grew fatter and fatter!

Now, Goody Tiptoes had set to work again by herself. She didn’t put any more nuts into the woodpecker’s hole. She had always doubted how they could be gotten out again. Now, she hid them under a tree root. They rattled down, down, down. Once, Goody emptied an extra big bagful. She heard a decided squeak. And what happened the next time Goody brought another bagful? A little striped Chipmunk scrambled out in a hurry.


She said, “It is getting perfectly full-up downstairs. The sitting room is full. And acorns are rolling along the passage. My husband, Chippy Hackee, has run away and left me. What is the explanation for these showers of nuts?”

“I am sure I beg your pardon. I didn’t know that anybody lived here,” said Mrs. Goody Tiptoes. “But where is Chippy Hackee? My husband, Timmy Tiptoes, has run away, too.”

“I know where Chippy is. A little bird told me,” said Mrs. Chippy Hackee. She led the way to the woodpecker’s tree. They listened at the hole.

Down below there was a noise of nutcrackers. And a fat squirrel voice and a thin squirrel voice were singing together.

 “My little old man and I fell out,
  How shall we bring this matter about?
  Bring it about as well as you can,
  And get you gone, you little old man!”

“You could squeeze in. How about through that little round hole?” said Goody Tiptoes.

“Yes, I could,” said the Chipmunk. “But my husband, Chippy Hackee, bites!”

Down below, there was a noise of cracking nuts and nibbling. And then the fat squirrel voice and the thin squirrel voice sang.

 “For the diddlum day,
  Day diddle dum dye!
  Day diddle diddle dum day!”


Then Goody peeped in at the hole. She called down, “Timmy Tiptoes! Oh fie, Timmy Tiptoes!”

And Timmy replied, “Is that you, Goody Tiptoes?”

“Why, certainly, it is!” He came up and kissed Goody through the hole. But he was so fat that he couldn’t get out. Chippy Hackee was NOT too fat. But he didn’t WANT to come! He stayed down below and chuckled. And so it went on for a fortnight.

But one day, a big wind blew off the top of the tree. That opened up the hole. It let in the rain. Then Timmy Tiptoes came out, at last. He went home with an umbrella. But Chippy Hackee continued to camp out for another week. He stayed, even though it was uncomfortable.

At last, a large bear came walking through the woods. Perhaps he also was looking for nuts. He seemed to be sniffing around. Chippy Hackee went home in a hurry! Chippy Hackee got home. He found he had caught a cold in his head. Now he was more uncomfortable, still.

So, now Timmy and Goody Tiptoes keep their nut store fastened up with a little padlock. And whenever that little bird sees the Chipmunks, he sings. “Who’s been digging up MY nuts? Who’s been digging up MY nuts?” But nobody ever answers!


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.)

Kings And Queens

Lesson 9 – Part One

NEW WORDS: Hassan, Morocco, Moulay, Richard, adorned, adults, advantages, alliance, allies, apprehend, arranged, articles, ascend, assemblage, attended, begot, belongings, blazons, ceremonial, commence, commented, constant, crowns, decisions, delectable, demanding, desired, disadvantages, discern, domain, duties, educated, education, emeralds, eminent, encounter, ensured, entitled, essential, establish, extraordinary, fanciful, filigree, finespun, flaunt, foremost, forged, governments, heir, heirs, impressive, influential, inhabited, inherit, inherits, interior, items, kingdom’s, kingdoms, lavish, luculent, luxurious, marriages, monarch’s, monarchies, nondescript, observant, occurred, occurrence, orb, palatial, partnership, partook, peerless, prepares, princesses, private, prosperity, receives, reflected, reign, relative, remainder, required, revered, role, royals, royalty, rubies, ruling, sapphires, scads, scepter, scrutiny, scurry, servants, sovereign, specific, splendid, status, sumptuous, superintend, surrounded, symbol, teenager, transfer, uncommon, unquestioned, utilized, weighty

Chapter One: What Are Kings And Queens
Look at this palatial building. Can you believe this? It was someone’s house! And not just any house. It’s a palace. It belonged to a French queen. What do you think its interior looks like? It must be luxurious if it were built for a queen. This palace has 440 rooms inside! Kings and queens were the leaders of their countries. So, they often had peerless homes. These were known as “palaces” or “castles.”

Kings and queens are called “monarchs.” Their governments are “monarchies.” You can’t vote for a king or queen! A monarch rules a specific domain of land. And they superintend the people who live there. Their land is a “kingdom.” There used to be lots of kingdoms in the world. Today, there aren’t as many. And there aren’t as many monarchs, either.

Look at this king. He was King Richard II. He ruled England. “It’s good to be king.” That’s an old saying. You can see why this saying holds true. Go back 300 years. What if you walked into an English palace? You’d encounter this person. You’d discern that he was king!

No one was more eminent and influential than the monarch. So, they got the foremost of everything. They inhabited the most impressive houses. They wore the most finespun clothes. They partook of the most delectable food. They did not have to say, “please” and “thank you.” They didn’t even have to dress themselves. Their servants did that for them. Things that a king or queen utilized, touched, or owned were called “royal.” The fluffy robes Richard wore were the royal robes. The cup he drank from was the royal cup. Who else could use something “royal?” No one! Only the monarchs and their close family could use them.


King Richard II is holding two items in this picture. In one hand, he’s holding the royal orb. In the other, he has the royal scepter. These were ceremonial articles. He wore or held these things to make a point. They would remind people who was in charge!

His hat is a “crown.” It’s no nondescript hat! Crowns were forged from some precious metal. They might be made of gold or silver. They were adorned with lavish jewels. They might flaunt rubies, emeralds, and sapphires. These jewels were called the “crown jewels.” The crown was like the scepter and the orb. It was a luculent symbol of the king’s power.

Here’s a close-up picture of a crown. It’s made of gold. It blazons an assemblage of fanciful pearls and jewels. Such a hat would not keep the sun out of your eyes. And it wouldn’t keep your head warm. So, why would you wear it? It sent a clear message. It meant that you were the sovereign of a kingdom!

Go back a few hundred years. Then, a monarch’s power was unquestioned. They made all the rules and laws. People had to follow those orders. But it would have been demanding work. Kings and queens had weighty responsibilities. Each day, people came to them to ask for money or advice. Each day they had to make important decisions.

There was a famous king named Charlemagne. He ruled in what is now France. He was revered. An artist made a stained-glass window with his image. Look at his fancy chair. The king’s chair was called a “throne.” Only the king could sit there. His throne was raised up on a platform. That way, he’d appear tall and important. He looked “grand,” even when he was seated. 

What’s that in his hand? He is holding a sword and an orb. That’s to remind people that he is the king. You’ll soon learn more about kingdoms, kings, and queens. You’ll learn a lot about the world of “royalty.”


Chapter Two: The Royal Family
Most monarchs begot scads of children. They ensured that those children were well-educated. It was required that they apprehend what it meant to be “a royal.” What was it like to be a prince or princess? Well, it had advantages and disadvantages.

This picture shows King George V of England. He’s with the queen and four of their sons. The sons lived in the palace. They had lots of space to scurry and play. Splendid furniture, art, and other beautiful filigree surrounded them. Look at their sumptuous clothes.

Monarchs’ children played a key role. But it wasn’t like raising a normal family. The children were the key to the kingdom’s prosperity and success. Why were they so essential?

Let’s say you became king or queen. You’d now rule for the remainder of your life. That period of time is a monarch’s “reign.” When that monarch died, their reign ended. Then, one of the royal family’s children became the new ruler. A new reign would commence.

Do you know the word “inherit?” Let’s say someone dies. They give you something that once belonged to them. They “pass it on” to you. That “gift” often comes from a family relative. The gift could be their property. It could be other things they own. It might include their belongings and money. This is what occurred in kingdoms. The ruler died. Their power was passed on to someone else in the family. That person would “ascend to the throne.” They’d now sit on the throne. They’d wear the crown. That’s why “royalsdesired children. They wanted their ruling power to stay in their family. What if there were no children? The power to rule the kingdom would transfer to a new family.


Someone who inherits things is called an “heir.” Princes and princesses were “heirs to the throne.” That’s because they would “inherit the throne.” There were rules for who would be chosen. There was a “first in line.” Then a “second in line.” It went on and on. The oldest son was likely to be the first in line. As “heir to the throne,” he’s entitled the “crown prince.” He’s the next person to wear the king’s crown. He’ll rule the kingdom. What if there’s no son? The oldest daughter is the heir. She’s called the “crown princess.” She’ll wear the crown and rule the kingdom. That crown is a symbol of power. Whoever wears it is in charge.

Look at this royal family photo. The eldest son is the crown prince. He’ll be the next king. The adults treat him with great respect. And he’s just a teenager! People hold doors for him. They bow to him. That’s because he has the status of being the next king. He has grown up having people serve him. And they’ve told him that he is important.

Here’s a palace in the country Morocco. Inside it lives a crown prince. He’s named Moulay Hassan. He lives with his father, mother, and sister. His father is the king of Morocco. Moulay was born in 2003. He’s the king’s oldest son. He’s first in line to succeed his father. Moulay will be the next king.


The crown prince or princess is an eminent member of the royal family. He or she receives an extraordinary education and uncommon care. That prepares them to someday rule the kingdom. But what happens to the other princes and princesses? Remember, they’re NOT heirs to the throne.

Monarchs often arranged marriages for their children. Princes and princesses did not get to choose their spouse. Their parents decided for them! Back then, marriage was “political.” It was a way to establish a partnership between two kingdoms. Two kingdoms would thus become “allies.”

Look at this picture. It’s a wedding between an English princess and a German prince. It was an important occurrence. Key people from both kingdoms attended the wedding. That was to show support for the alliance. It meant that those kingdoms were going to be friends in the future.

You’ve seen some advantages to being “a royal.” You got to live in palaces. You wore nice clothes. But it wasn’t all fun and games. You had lots of duties. You didn’t always get to do whatever you wanted. You might not even like who you had to marry! And your life wasn’t very private. You were under constant scrutiny. Anything you did was watched and commented on by others. Everything you did reflected on the kingdom and the royal family. You had to always be on your toes. You had to be observant about behaving in a royal manner at all times.







You can put your dirty clothes into this mesh laundry bag.


The choreographer had his dance troupe end the performance with a wild mosh.


The hot sun turned my bowl of ice cream into a big mush.


The hikers took a break to nosh on some trail mix.


I think Suzy’s got a pash for Brad!


Pish, I just spilled coffee on my trousers!


I couldn’t afford to buy anything in that posh dress shop.


I bet that this rash on my neck is from a case of hives.


Okay, team, we’ve got an important rush job on our hands.


Mom loves the colorful sash that we got her for Christmas.


Aunt Tish has just bought a new mini-van.


Tosh, don’t listen to what that crazy politician says!


The directions say to wash this shirt only in cold water.


That beat up old shack looks haunted to me.


Let’s cool off in the shade of that big oak tree.


Finally, a shaft of sunlight is peaking through the dark clouds.


If I drink too much caffeine, my hands will start to shake.


That part of the State has become a hub for extracting shale gas.


Shall we go out to dinner tonight?


There’s a passage in the Noah’s Ark story that goes, “rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.”


I love the phrase, “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me!”


I couldn’t tell you the number of email junk mail shams that I’ve deleted.


We’ve elected Shane to be the team captain.


This is the tenderest, tastiest lamb shank that I’ve ever eaten.


Mom’s fitness routines keep her in tiptop physical shape.


I think I’ve picked up every shard of glass from the wine bottle that I dropped.


The last thing that I want to run into while I’m snorkeling is a great white shark!


Now that is what I call one sharp knife.


Honey, would you please shave before we go to the party?


I think that she’ll do really well in her tennis match.


Would you please take that sheaf of papers into the copier room?


Well, it’s the time of the season to shear the wool from the sheep.


I hate how our cat sheds fur during the summer.


Wow, look at the sheen of the ice on that frozen pond.


I love how the sheep say, “Baa, ram, ewe,” in the movie Babe, about the prize pig.


Putin must have been consumed with sheer madness to have invaded Ukraine.


Would you please add your signature here on this sheet of paper?


We saw a Sheik from Saudi Arabia in the airport today.


Put the milk on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator.


Mom, this egg’s shell has a crack in it.


My friend Sherm has the highest percentage for free-throw shots on our team.


Your cat shied away from me when I tried to pet her.


Dad shies away from eating seafood because he has some fish allergies.


I’m going to shift down to second gear for this hilly portion of the drive.


I bet that guy was a shill who was trying to get me to gamble at the blackjack table.


The shine on your shoes is so good that it’s almost like looking into a mirror!


Both of my shins are sore from kicking the soccer ball for so long.


On this pretty summer Sunday, there are lots of sailing ships out in the bay.


In England, what we’d call a “county” they’d call a “shire.”


There’s a lazy guy at work who always tries to shirk his responsibilities.


I’m going to shirr the eggs today rather than fry or scramble them.


I need to take this dress shirt to the dry cleaners.


Dad is fixing shish kabobs on the grill.


Put this shive back in the cask so that nothing leaks out of it.


It’s low tide now, so let’s swim out to that shoal.


That shoat (also spelled “shote”) by the barn door has been weaned from its mother.


That politician rants on like that for shock value.


The sun shone on the evil looking gator that was basking on a log.


Let’s check out the two new shops that have opened at the mall.


The shore was wall-to-wall sun bathers on the sunny Memorial Day holiday.


As soon as he enlisted in the Army, his long hair was shorn from his head.


Our teacher’s next project is to have each of us write our own short story.


Our dog was given two different shots by the vet today.


The dumpster is really full, but I think that we can shove this bag into there.


Now that I’ve shown you how to tie your shoes, try to do it yourself.


That is one of my favorite TV shows.


If you’ll shred the cabbage, I’ll make the sauce for the cole slaw.


I saw a mockingbird fly into that shrub.


The comedian’s shtik had us rolling on the floor laughing.


If you’ll shuck the corn, I’ll get the grill ready to cook it.








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.)

Kings And Queens

Lesson 10 – Part Two


NEW WORDS: Marygold, Marygold’s, Midas, Midas’s, abruptly, affluent, altogether, amassed, anxiety, aphotic, avarice, bedchamber, bedcovers, boomed, bruised, captivated, categorically, cellarage, cherished, clutches, comely, compressed, considerate, contented, crackled, currency, dearly, delicate, deluge, departed, depths, despondent, disappeared, disappointed, disconsolate, disgorged, drenched, ebullient, ecstatic, enamored, encountered, engrossing, exceedingly, exhibited, fancied, forlorn, frock, glittering, handfuls, heaped, humph, inconsolable, instantaneously, jogged, kindhearted, lamenting, mattresses, morose, mounds, multitudes, museum, myriad, negative, nosegay, outsider, packets, painstakingly, palace’s, plenarily, plunge, poorest, predicament, request, satiated, satisfied, satisfy, sequester, son’s, sprinkled, sprinted, standards, stunning, talented, terrifying, transmuted, ugliest, urbane, vaulted, velveteen, verily, veritable, wed, wholly

Chapter Three: King Midas And The Golden Touch
It was once upon a time. There lived an exceedingly affluent king. His name was Midas. He was much like some folks today. He was enamored of gold. He loved gold more than anything else. He would gaze at the gold-colored clouds of a stunning sunset. He’d wish that the clouds were real gold!

Midas did have one other love. It was his little daughter. She was named Marygold. Marygold would run to him with a nosegay of buttercups. Midas would smile at her. He’d say, “Dear child! Alas! If only these flowers were as golden as they look. Then they’d be worth picking.”

Each day, King Midas would do the same thing. He’d sequester himself away. He’d spend hours confined in an aphotic room. It was in the depths of the palace’s cellarage. This was where he had amassed his treasures. He’d go there. He’d painstakingly lock the door behind him. Then he’d take out packets of gold currency. He’d pour the coins into mounds. He’d run his hands through them. He would whisper to himself. “Oh! Rich King Midas! What a contented man you are!” But then he’d have a negative thought. Maybe he COULD be happier. He was filled with avarice. It didn’t matter how much he had. He always fancied more.

One day, Midas was enjoying himself. He was in his treasure room. He looked up. There was a strange young man. He shone with a golden glow. Midas knew that he’d locked the door. No one could get into the room. Yet here stood this man! So, the king thought, “this outsider must have some magic power.” But he had a kindhearted smile. So, the king felt no anxiety.


He spoke to King Midas. “You’re rich, King Midas.”

“Yes. I have some gold,” said the king. “But it’s not enough.”

“What!” cried the stranger. “You’re not satisfied?” Midas shook his head. “What would satisfy you?” asked the stranger.

Midas imagined a gold mountain. Then he thought of gold mountains heaped on top of each other. Yet still it seemed not enough! Then a bright idea occurred to him. He said this to the shining stranger. “I wish that everything I touch may turn to gold.”

The stranger smiled. He said, “What an engrossing thought. A golden touch! Are you quite sure you would be satiated then?”

“Yes! I’d be altogether happy. I’d request nothing more,” said King Midas.

“Then it shall be as you wish,” said the stranger. “It will take place tomorrow, at sunrise. You’ll find yourself gifted with the Golden Touch.” Then abruptly, a great brightness filled the room. Midas had to squeeze his eyes shut. Then he reopened them. The stranger had departed!

The next morning came. The sun was barely peeping into his room. The king vaulted out of bed. He touched a chair. It turned to gold. He touched the bed and a table. They were changed to solid gold. He rushed to put on his shoes. They transmuted to gold in his clutches.

Midas was ebullient. He opened the door. He jogged outside to the garden. He saw lots of roses. They were in full bloom. He went from bush to bush. He touched each one. Each flower, each leaf, and each bud were changed to gold.


Now the king was hungry. He returned to the palace for his breakfast. He lifted his cup of coffee to sip it. But when the liquid touched his lips, it turned to gold. He tried to take a bite of a boiled egg. But it, too, turned to gold. “I don’t quite see how I am to get any breakfast!” he said. Just then, Midas heard crying. He turned to see Marygold enter the room. She was lamenting as if her heart would break. In her hand, she held one of the roses. It was one that her father had changed to gold.

“Why, my little lady!” said Midas. “Why does this golden rose cause you to cry?”

“Dear father,” Marygold answered. “It is not pretty! It is the ugliest flower that ever grew. I got dressed quickly this morning. I ran to the garden. I meant to gather roses for you. But what do you think has happened? The sweet-smelling roses have been spoiled!”

“My dear little girl,” said King Midas. He hated to see his daughter sad. “Please don’t cry.” Then he bent down. He kissed his child. “My dearly beloved Marygold!” he said. But she did not answer. She could not answer! Alas! What had he done? Midas’s lips had touched Marygold’s head!
Instantaneously, her sweet, rosy face had turned a glittering yellow color. Marygold was now a golden statue. King Midas cried out! He wailed! He wrung his hands. He now wished that he were the poorest man in the world. If only he could have his daughter back again!

Then he noticed something. Someone stood in the doorway. It was the young stranger. The stranger still shone with a soft glow. He smiled. He asked the king, “Well, King Midas. How do you like your Golden Touch?”


“I am disconsolate!” moaned King Midas.

Despondent, are you?” asked the stranger. “But don’t you have everything your heart desired?”

“No,” said the king. “Gold is not everything. And I have lost all that my heart verily cared for.”

Then the stranger asked a question. “Which of these two things is worth the most? Is it the Golden Touch, or your own cherished Marygold?”

“Oh! My child! My dear child!” cried poor King Midas. “I would not give one hair off of her head. Not a single hair. Even if I could change this whole big Earth into a compressed lump of gold!”

“You are wiser than you were, Midas,” said the stranger. “Go to the river that runs by your garden. Plunge into it. The water will take away the Golden Touch. Then fill this pitcher with water. Sprinkle each thing that you have touched.” Midas bowed low. He lifted his head. The shining stranger had disappeared.

Then the king ran as fast as he could. He jumped into the river. He filled the pitcher. He sprinted back to the palace. He sprinkled handfuls of water over the golden figure of Marygold.

The rosy color came back into her cheeks. She looked in surprise at her father. He was still throwing water on her! “Father! Please! Stop!” she cried. “See how you’ve drenched my frock!”

King Midas took Marygold in his arms. He hugged her. He kissed her. “Now I am truly happy,” he said. “My dear child! You mean more to me than all the gold in the world!”


Chapter Four: Old King Cole
Old King Cole was a merry old soul.
And a merry old soul was he.
He called for his pipe.
And he called for his bowl.
And he called for his fiddlers three.
Every fiddler had a very fine fiddle.
And a very fine fiddle had he.
Oh, there’s none so rare as can compare,
With King Cole and his fiddlers three.


Chapter Five: Sing A Song Of Sixpence
Sing a song of sixpence,
A pocket full of rye.
Four and twenty blackbirds,
Baked in a pie.

When the pie was opened,
The birds began to sing.
Now wasn’t that a dainty dish,
To set before the king?
The king was in his counting house,
Counting out his money.
The queen was in the parlor,
Eating bread and honey.
The maid was in the garden,
Hanging out the clothes.
When down came a blackbird,
And pecked at her toes!


Chapter Six: The Princess And The Pea
It was once upon a time. There was a forlorn prince. He wanted to wed a princess. But he held high standards. He couldn’t be captivated with just any princess. He searched for a REAL princess. So, he traveled all over the world. He looked and he looked.

He went from kingdom to kingdom. He met a myriad of princesses. Many of them were, indeed, impressive! They were comely and talented. They were urbane and considerate. But none of them “felt perfect.” Something was missing. He did not meet a categorically, wholly, plenarily REAL princess. So, he was morose and disappointed. He returned home. He was inconsolable.

His mother was the queen. She welcomed him back at the castle. She asked him a question. “Did you find a princess?”

“Oh! I found multitudes of princesses,” he said. “But none of them seemed like a REAL princess.”

That night there was a terrifying deluge. Lightning crackled! Thunder boomed! The wind howled! The rain pounded down. In the middle of the storm, they heard something. There was a knock at the palace door.

The king opened the door. A young lady stood there. Could she be a princess? My, oh my! She was a veritable mess! What a predicament she was in! Her hair was dripping. Her clothes were torn and muddy. And water disgorged from her shoes.


 “Who are you?” asked the queen.

“I am a princess,” she said. “Really. A REAL princess.”

Humph!” said the queen. She thought a moment. “We’ll see about that!” The queen went into a bedchamber. She peeled all the velveteen bedcovers off of the bed. Then she put one tiny pea on the bed. On top of that she piled twenty mattresses. And on top of those, twenty feather-filled pads! “Sleep here tonight,” she said to the princess.

The next morning came. Everyone was seated at the breakfast table. The queen asked the princess, “Did you have a good night’s sleep?”

“No. Not at all,” said the princess. “I tossed and turned all night. Something in the bed was so hard and lumpy. Why, I’m bruised black and blue all over.”

So, she had felt the pea! She’d felt it through all of those mattresses and pads! The queen’s eyes met her son’s. They smiled at each other. Surely, only a real princess could be so delicate and sensitive!

He had, at last, encountered a REAL princess. He was ecstatic! So, the prince married her. And what about the pea? It was exhibited in a museum. It may still be seen there, if no one has taken it.

And that, children, is a real story!




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.) 
Kings And Queens 

Lesson 11 – Part Three

NEW WORDS: Cinderella’s, abusive, adept, admiration, admonition, announcement, anticipation, apologized, astonished, attendance, attending, attractive, ballroom, bedraggled, bolted, breathlessly, ceased, coachman, compassionate, complain, crisply, dazzling, decreed, detected, dirtiest, dolorous, dreamworld, emotions, entirely, exhausted, extravagant, finery, fireplace’s, fleecy, forsaken, gala, geared, ghostly, glared, gripe, hearth, heartless, incredibly, intently, irate, jealous, lilt, lush, merriment, mesmerized, newcomer, obliged, occurring, pallor, performing, pivoted, preparations, primped, prince’s, raiment, realization, rotund, satisfaction, screaked, secured, sobbing, staircase, stepmother, stepsisters, stoically, strenuous, strikes, stroke, tacitly, trap’s, treated, velvetlike, wand, woolgathered

Chapter Seven: Cinderella
It was once upon a time. A little girl’s father married a new wife. She had two daughters of her own. The girl’s stepmother was heartless. She obliged the girl to do the most strenuous work in the house. And the dirtiest! All this time, her stepsisters did nothing. They were lazy. And they were abusive towards the girl.

The girl’s work would be over each day. She’d be exhausted. She would sit, alone, by the fireplace’s hearth. She would be among the ashes and cinders of the fire. That’s how she got her name, from the cinders. They called her “Cinderella.”

The stepsisters had well-appointed rooms. Their beds were fleecy. Their carpets were lush. Their mirrors were large. They could see themselves from head to foot. But poor Cinderella! She slept on the floor next to the fire. Yet, she bore it all stoically. She did not complain to her father. It would have been of no use. The new wife ruled her father entirely.

They all lived in a kingdom. The king had a son. He was the crown prince. One day, the prince made an announcement. He said that he was going to host a grand ball. It would be at the palace. It would be a gala event. It would be the most extravagant party ever.


The stepsisters heard about this. They screaked with anticipation. All the young ladies in the kingdom were invited. It would be an evening of dancing and merriment. For days, the stepsisters primped in front of their mirrors. They talked of nothing else.

The stepsisters snapped at Cinderella. “Help us make preparations for the ball. Clean our shoes! Comb our hair! Hurry!” Cinderella helped them. She didn’t gripe. Tacitly, however, she wished that she could be in attendance. She so longed to go to the ball! She woolgathered about dancing in the arms of the prince.

At last, the day came. The stepsisters and their mother left for the palace. Cinderella watched them head off. She lost sight of them. Then she cried. Her negative emotions tugged at her. She was dolorous. She was irate. She felt so forsaken.

But she was not alone, after all. She heard a gentle voice. It said, “What’s wrong, dear?”

She looked up. There was a woman with a kind face. “I wish, I wish I could …” began Cinderella. But she could not finish for all her tears and sobbing.


“You wish to go to the ball? Is that it?” said the kind woman. She had a happy lilt in her voice. “Then it shall be so!” she said. She was, you see, Cinderella’s fairy godmother. And she was adept at performing magic.

“Now run into the garden,” she said. “Bring me a pumpkin.” Cinderella went immediately. She skipped to the garden. But she was curious. What could a pumpkin have to do with attending the ball? She brought the pumpkin back. She intently watched her fairy godmother. She scooped out the inside of the pumpkin. She left only the rind. Then the pumpkin turned into a dazzling coach. It was lined with velvetlike satin! Next, she gave a flourish of her wand. She touched a big rat with it. He morphed into a rotund, jolly coachman! He would drive the coach to the ball.

“Now, dear,” said the godmother. “Bring me the mouse trap from the house.” Cinderella secured the trap. There were six live mice in it. “Open the trap’s door, dear.” Each mouse scurried out. She gave each of them, and the pumpkin rind, a tap with her wand. Abruptly, they were surrounded by a bright, white light. Cinderella watched the six mice change shape. They turned into a fine set of six horses. They were all an attractive mouse-colored gray.


The godmother smiled. There was a look of satisfaction on her face. “Well! Are you pleased? Are you geared up to go to the ball?”

“Oh yes!” cried Cinderella. “But, must I go in these bedraggled rags?” Her godmother laughed. She gave a touch of her wand. She changed the tattered clothes into a glittering raiment of gold and silver. And on each foot appeared a delicate glass slipper. They were the prettiest slippers in the world.

Cinderella stepped into the coach. But her fairy godmother gave her an admonition. “Please, don’t stay at the ball after midnight. Not even for a moment! When the clock strikes twelve, the coach will again be a pumpkin. The horses will be mice. The coachman will be a rat. Your gown will turn to the same old clothes you had on.” Cinderella promised she would leave before midnight. Then, she called out her thanks. Away she rode in the coach. She felt happier than she had ever felt before.

Now, let’s move to the palace. The prince heard that a great princess had arrived. But no one knew who she was. So, he went to meet her. He gave her his hand. He led her into the great ballroom. It was filled with people. As they entered, a hush fell upon the room. The dancers stopped dancing. The musicians ceased their playing. Everyone stood still. Everyone gazed upon the beauty of the unknown newcomer.


The prince asked Cinderella to dance with him. They danced together once, then twice. They danced again and again. Cinderella’s face shone with happiness. Everyone at the ball looked on in admiration. Everyone, that is, except the two jealous stepsisters. They glared at the lovely lady. But they had no idea that they were glaring at Cinderella! They didn’t recognize her in the finery that she was wearing.

But what happens when the heart is happy? How quickly the time slips away. Cinderella was mesmerized in a dreamworld. She danced again and again with the prince. But then she received a jolt. She heard the great bell of the palace clock! The bell tolled. One! Two! Three!

“Oh!” she gasped. “The clock! What time is it?”

The prince answered, “Midnight.”

Midnight! Cinderella’s pallor turned ghostly white. She crisply pivoted. Then, fast as a deer, she fled the ballroom. She ran down a long hallway. She bolted down a long staircase. At the foot of the staircase, she stumbled. One of her glass slippers fell off! But Cinderella could not stop. Already, the clock had sounded its eleventh stroke. She leapt breathlessly out of the castle into the darkness. She heard the clock sound the last stroke of midnight. She detected her smooth gown changing. It turned back into the rough cloth of her real clothes.


Her dazzling coach was a pumpkin, again. So, she ran home alone. She got there, and she was out of breath. She climbed the stairs to her cold attic room. Then she noticed something. She was still wearing one glass slipper!

What was occurring as Cinderella ran from the palace? The prince had dashed after her. He didn’t catch her. But he did find something at the bottom of the staircase. It was the glass slipper that had fallen off of her foot.

The next morning, the trumpet sounds woke the kingdom. The prince decreed that he would marry the woman whose foot fit the glass slipper. But how would they find her? The prince sent out his men. They were to try the slipper on the foot of every woman in the land!

From house to house they went. They tried the slipper on foot after foot. But on one foot, the slipper was too long. On another, it was too short. On another, it was too wide. On another, it was too narrow.


And so it went, on and on. At last, they came to Cinderella’s house. One by one, the stepsisters squeezed, pinched, and pushed. But the slipper would not fit their feet. Then, from the shadows, Cinderella stepped forth. She said, “Let me see if it will fit me.”

“You!” the stepsisters cried. “Go back to the cinders where you belong!”

But one of the prince’s men spoke up. He said that he had orders to try the slipper on every woman in the kingdom. He placed the slipper on Cinderella’s foot. It fit perfectly! The stepsisters’ mouths dropped open. They were astonished. And they became even more shocked. From her pocket, Cinderella drew forth the other glass slipper!

And now the stepsisters had a realization. They recognized Cinderella as the beauteous lady they had seen at the ball. They threw themselves at her feet, wailing. They begged her pardon. They apologized for all of the ways they had treated her so badly. Cinderella was incredibly compassionate, however. She forgave them. She then embraced them.

Later, Cinderella married the prince. She even invited her stepmother and stepsisters to live at the palace. And there, Cinderella and the prince lived happily ever after.









That rich snob shuns talking to anyone who he feels is beneath his station.


This strong cold front may shunt the tropical storm from coming inland.


Shush your mouth and stop uttering bad words like that!


This set of noise-cancelling headphones shuts out noise from the background pretty well.


She’ll blush if you ask her out on a date.


That brash new lieutenant is going to get herself in trouble with the top brass.


I need to brush a knot out of my hair.


Last night’s match was quite a clash between the two heavyweight boxers.


I avoided a car crash while driving today.


My favorite soft drink is Orange Crush.


I’ve got to run an errand, but I’ll be back in a flash.


Have you heard of the fantasy trading card game called “Flesh and Blood?”


You’ll meet an evil spirit that will weep and wail and gnash its teeth.


On their attempt to climb Mount Everest, the weather conditions were brutally harsh.


In our subdivision, one’s dog can’t roam freely and must be on a leash.


We saw lots of ducks in a peaceful marsh on our walk today.


I heard a little plash when a sparrow landed in our birdbath.


I sank my bare feet into our new plush living room carpet.


Between better insulation in our attic and new energy-saving appliances, we hope to slash our electric bill.


Dennis the Menace loves to slosh around in mud puddles.


The temperatures have risen enough for the snow on the roads to become an icy slush.


The one boxer yelled to the other, “I will smash you in today’s match!”


Dad showed us his stash of old postage stamps and said that they were worth quite a bit.


Look at the waves swash against the piers.


With a swish of her long hair, the head cheerleader got everyone in the arena into a frenzy.


Can you look out at the street and see if the trash has been picked up?


Mom’s friend Trish has just landed a job as a paralegal.


The Smiths’ new dog is a cute Welsh corgi.


Don’t welsh on your promise to help me move this furniture around this weekend.


The golf pro’s club made a loud “whish” as he drove the ball down the fairway.




Let me introduce Dr. Chi, the Chairman of our school’s engineering department.


This is Mrs. Cho, the school’s new librarian.


Mom, my friend Chad is going to teach me how to play Minecraft.


I just picked up the very last chad that fell on the floor from this hole puncher.


I’d enjoy a soothing cup of chai tea.


Dozens of films were made about the fictional Hawaiian detective, Charlie Chan.


Use this Chapstick, and your lips won’t chap.


I think I’ll have the Arctic char for my entree.


We need to have a little chat about your comments in the Board Meeting.


Captain Chen will give you a tour of the cruise ship’s navigation deck.


Chet Atkins was a famous guitarist who helped to define “the Nashville sound.”


Even when the chips are down, you have to try to hold your chin up.


There’s not a single potato chip left in this bag.


The British Prime Minister wrote a chit about his meeting with the French President.


Can I have some more gravy to put onto my pork chop?


The whitefish of the Great Lakes is a member of the chub family.


I’m so thirsty that I’m going to chug this mug of root beer.


I think that the new girl who moved in down the street is going to become a good chum of mine.


I think it’s really cool to watch a cat arch its back.


Each of you can have two cookies.


The jeweler can etch your wedding date into your wedding ring.


If you give that despot an inch, he’ll take a mile.


That serving is probably way too much for me to eat!


Buddy Rich was one of the world’s most influential jazz drummers.


Mom said a prayer to remind us how rich we are with our blessings.


Grandma, that was such a great dinner!


I hope that the collar of that wool sweater doesn’t chafe my neck.


Separate the wheat from the chaff and find the most important data in this analysis.


This story is about a prisoner who breaks free from his chain gang.


Your daughter is quite the champ, playing in three different sports during the school year.


Did you hear that the Chang family is going to become members of our church?


Let’s listen to this CD of peaceful Gregorian chant.


The British Queen asked, “Who are those chaps over there?”


My favorite vegetable is colorful Swiss chard.


I like the way that Dad chars the vegetables when he cooks them on the grill.


Students, what can you surmise from the data on this chart?


Mr. Smith is an executive with J P Morgan Chase bank.


I can’t help but laugh when I watch your dog chase his tail.


Mom is on one of her long phone chats with Aunt Liz.


The food at this diner is relatively cheap, but quite tasty.


Of course, it is very wrong to cheat on a test.


Let me check on the roast and see if it’s finally at the right internal temperature.


Mom kissed me on the cheek and said, “Have a good day at school.”


We heard the “cheep, cheep,” of baby birds that had just hatched from their eggs.


Let’s go out for ice cream; that will cheer you up!


A “chert” is a compact rock consisting essentially of microcrystalline quartz.


I really want to join the chess club at our school.


The doctor said, “This is just a minor chest cold, and you’ll be better in a couple of days.”


At the petting zoo, I got to hold a baby chick in my hand.


Students, I must chide your for your poor behavior on the school bus on our field trip.








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.) 
Kings And Queens


Lesson 12 – Part Four

NEW WORDS: Gadzooks, adorable, anyone’s, attempted, bombshell, caustic, cautioned, commandeered, compelled, conceivable, concocted, contentedly, contingencies, counseled, currently, denouement, described, disguised, dismounted, dissuaded, draped, duped, dwarfs, ebony, eliminate, enchanted, endure, enquired, envy, exceptionally, expelled, expounded, fatigued, forcefully, fulfilling, guileful, hospitable, huntsman, imbued, immersed, inform, inhospitable, intimate, jealousy, journeyed, jutted, labored, lackadaisically, lovelier, madness, maleficent, manifested, matchless, mining, moonrise, morsel, nausea, obediently, orderly, paraded, peacefully, permitted, pervaded, poisoned, poisonous, possibility, pristine, proffer, rampage, recited, relentlessly, residing, resist, retreat, ruptured, scanned, spotless, stepdaughter, strolled, summoned, sunup, sympathy, tainted, tantalizing, tantrum, thundered, toxic, traveling, unconscious, undone, unexpected, unnerved, unrelenting, unrestrained, vainglorious, veracity, virulent, vitriol, wanton, weakened, wheezed, withdrew

Chapter Eight: Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs
There once was a queen who was very beautiful, but who was exceptionally vainglorious. She could not endure the possibility that someone might be more beautiful than she was. The queen had an enchanted mirror. She would look into it and say, “Mirror, mirror on the wall. Who’s the fairest of us all?”

The mirror would answer, “You, Queen, are the fairest of us all.” And she was satisfied, for she knew that the mirror spoke with veracity.

The queen’s stepdaughter was an adorable little girl. Her name was Snow White. As she grew up, she grew prettier and prettier. When she was seven years old, she was lovelier than the queen herself. One day, the queen went to her mirror. She asked, “Mirror, mirror on the wall. Who is the fairest of us all?”

The mirror answered, “You are fair, Oh Queen, ’tis true. But now, Snow White is fairer still than you.”

When the queen processed this unexpected bombshell, she turned green with jealousy. From that moment, her heart turned against Snow White. Envy manifested in her like weeds relentlessly taking over a garden. One day, she summoned a huntsman. She said, “Take the child into the woods, far away from my kingdom. Make sure that she can’t ever return here.”


The huntsman obediently took the child into the forest. But he felt sympathy for Snow White. He counseled her to run away. The huntsman then galloped away. Poor Snow White found herself alone in the woods. She was unnerved, and she ran as long as her feet would carry her. At last, as moonrise appeared, she came upon a little house deep in the woods.

She went inside to rest. She quickly noticed that everything was very small. But it was as orderly and spotless as could be conceivable. By the wall stood seven little beds, side-by-side. They were covered with clean white quilts. Nearby stood a little table, draped with a pristine white cloth. It was set with seven little plates, seven knives and forks, and seven little drinking cups. Snow White was very hungry, but she didn’t want to eat anyone’s entire meal. So, she commandeered a little porridge and bread from each plate. Then she took a little sip from each cup. After that, she realized how fatigued she was. She laid down on one of the beds and fell asleep.

When it was quite dark, the owners of the little house came home. They were seven dwarfs, who labored every day in the mountains. They dug with their picks and shovels, mining for gold. They came inside and lit their seven candles. But then, they saw that everything in the house was not the same as they had left it.


They scanned the room and saw Snow White lying asleep in a bed. They all came running over with their candles. They said, “Oh, goodness gracious!” She was sleeping so peacefully that they did not wake her.

The next morning, Snow White woke and saw the seven dwarfs. They seemed quite hospitable. So, she described to them how the queen had forcefully expelled her from the kingdom. She expounded about how she had run the whole day long, until at last she had found their little house.

Then the dwarfs said, “If you will keep house for us, you may stay with us. We will make sure that you have everything you need.”

Each sunup, the dwarfs paraded off to the mountain to dig for gold. When the dwarfs were away during the day, Snow White was alone in the house. The dwarfs cautioned her. They said, “Don’t let a soul into the house! Beware of the queen, for she may ascertain that you are here.”

And indeed, one day the queen went to her mirror and recited, “Mirror, mirror on the wall. Who is the fairest of us all?”

And the mirror answered, “Oh, Queen, you are of beauty rare. But Snow White, living in the glen with the seven little men, is a thousand times more fair.”


The queen wheezed. A wave of nausea flowed through her body. She knew that the mirror spoke the truth. It was obvious that Snow White must be still be residing in the kingdom. She concocted a guileful plan to eliminate Snow White. She went to a dark and secret room. There, she made a poisonous apple. It was so big, beautiful, and red that anyone who saw it would long for it. But whoever ate even a piece of it would sleep forever. Then the queen disguised herself to look like a peddler. She traipsed across the seven mountains to the home of the seven dwarfs. She knocked at the door. Snow White jutted her head out the window. She called out, “I’m sorry. I don’t mean to be inhospitable. But I dare not let anyone in. The seven dwarfs dissuaded me from doing so.”

“All right, I understand. I’ll retreat,” said the old woman. “But here, let me proffer you one of my prized apples.”

“No, thank you,” said Snow White. “I’m not permitted to take anything.”

“Well, Gadzooks, child! You intimate that my matchless apples are poisoned!” said the old woman. “Look here, I’ll take a bite of this apple myself. All right?” But the maleficent queen had planned for all contingencies. When she made the apple virulent, she imbued the poison only in one side. That was the side that she now currently held out, facing Snow White.


Snow White looked at the tantalizing apple. She wanted it so much. So, when she saw the old woman take a bite of the other side, the side without the poison, she could not resist. The old woman had duped her! She stepped outside and took the apple. She bit into the toxic portion of the apple. She instantly weakened and slumped to the ground, now unconscious. It was if she would never get up again.

The queen journeyed back home. She rushed straight to her mirror. As usual, she asked, “Mirror, mirror on the wall. Who is the fairest of us all?”

And the mirror answered, “You are now the fairest of them all.”

The dwarfs soon returned home. They found Snow White lying there, as if dead. They lifted her up. They attempted to find some way to help her. But they came up with nothing, and nothing they did helped the child. They sat around her, all seven of them, and wept. They loved her so much that, for many years, Snow White lay in the dwarfs’ home. All the while, she never changed. She simply looked as if she were asleep. Her skin was as white as snow. Her lips were as red as blood. Her hair was as black as ebony.


Then one day, a prince was traveling through the woods. He stopped at the dwarfs’ house. He dismounted from his horse. From there, he could see the beautiful Snow White. She was so beautiful that he was compelled to kiss her. The prince gently lifted her. Then, a morsel of tainted apple came out of her throat!

The wanton spell was ruptured and undone! Snow White sat up and cried, “Oh! What happened?” The prince, full of joy, said, “You were immersed in an unrelenting sleep. I am a prince, and I love you more than anything in the world. Accompany me to my father’s castle. Please become my bride.”

A splendid wedding was to be held for the prince and Snow White. Her wicked stepmother, the queen, was invited to the wedding. She dressed herself in fine clothes. She strolled to her mirror and lackadaisically enquired, “Mirror, mirror on the wall. Who is the fairest of us all?”


The mirror could inform her only of the truth. “Though you are fair, Oh Queen, ’tis true, the new bride is fairer still than you.”

The queen thundered with vitriol. First, she thought she would not go to the wedding. Then she thought she had to go to see the new bride. When she got there and recognized her as Snow White, she was pervaded with a caustic madness. She went on a rampage. In an unrestrained tantrum, she screamed and stomped her feet. She cursed and spit. She jumped up and down, as though she were wearing red-hot shoes.

The evil queen withdrew from the scene and never came back. And further, she never caused Snow White any trouble again. So, our story comes to its denouement. Snow White and the prince lived together contentedly, for many long, fulfilling years to come.

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 13 – Ancient Mesopotamia And Egypt

NEW WORDS: Anubis, Babylon, Carnarvon, Carter, Egyptians, Euphrates, Gilgamesh, Hammurabi, Hammurabi’s, Hatshepsut, Horus, Horus’s, Howard, Iraq, Ishtar, Isis, Ma’at, Mesopotamia, Mesopotamian, Mesopotamians, Osiris, Rosetta, Scooby, Sphinx, Tigris, Tut’s, Tutankhamen, Ur, achieving, activities, adversaries, armies, artifacts, astonishing, awareness, bravery, brutal, burdensome, burial, canopic, carving, changer, chariot, citizens, civilization, climate, consisted, construction, contained, conveyed, coteries, craftsmen, cultivated, cuneiform, decipher, decorations, defined, deities, depicted, discoveries, discovery, domiciled, effective, enthralled, examples, fabricated, fabulous, falcon, floodwater, formidable, gained, garnered, gladdened, goddesses, huts, ideas, imminently, instituted, irritating, jackal, jackal’s, jewelry, lowly, mastered, melange, migrated, miraculously, mummies, mummy’s, necklace, nourishment, obtained, oftentimes, ordinarily, ornate, papyrus, peculiar, periodically, pharaoh, pharaoh’s, pharaohs, pledged, portrayed, possibilities, preeminent, procure, protection, punishments, pursue, pyramids, regularly, reveal, richest, safeguarded, scribe, scribes, scrolls, sediment, severe, suitable, temple, tomb, tombs, transport, unadorned, uncovered, unforgiving, validate, vicinity, vital, worshipping  

Chapter One: Ancient Times

Let’s go way back in time. People moved from place to place. They garnered plants. They hunted animals. That’s how they got their food. They might have lived in unadorned, lowly huts. Over time, they mastered farming. That meant that they could settle down. They cultivated plants that could now be their nourishment. Slowly, coteries of people began to live together.

Let’s learn about the Mesopotamians. They were highly effective at farming. That freed up time for them. They now had time to pursue other activities. They began to build cities. They had buildings, streets, and gardens. Mesopotamian kings and queens lived in these impressive cities. Many people migrated to live there, too. They created a great civilization.


Chapter Two: The Land Between Two Rivers
The name “Mesopotamia” is defined as “between the rivers.” Their lands lay between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. There was ample water in the vicinity. Thus, the land was imminently suitable for farming. Farmers grew the food that fed the people. That included all of those who were domiciled in the cities.

The Mesopotamian kings were in charge of the cities. They had a burdensome job. They were pledged to protect the cities, the people, and the farmland from adversaries.

Many of the cities were built with walls around them. This strengthened the people’s protection. Here’s what a walled city would have looked like long ago.

People had a melange of jobs in the cities. Some people were called “craftsmen.” They made pots, baskets, clothes, and jewelry. Others conveyed people by boat from place to place.

Food was grown in fields outside the city walls. The Tigris and Euphrates Rivers were important. Periodically, these rivers flooded. The floodwater carried rich sediment into the fields. This enhanced the soil. It was good for growing plants. At other times, there wasn’t enough rain for the plants. So, river water was brought to the fields.


Chapter Three: City Life in Ancient Mesopotamia
Some people back then knew how to read and write. They didn’t write on paper. Instead, they used reeds. These would make marks on wet clay. This way of writing is called “cuneiform.” Having a way to write down information was a game-changer. It helped make their civilization great. It opened new possibilities for human progress.

Kings were powerful leaders. They led armies into battle. They made peace, too. Here’s a piece of art made from shells and stones. It shows people bringing special gifts to the king.

Children back then were like kids today. Yes, they played with toys! What do you think this is?

Queens were important, too! They helped to make decisions. One of their queens once wore this gold headdress and jewelry. The headdress looked like the leaves of a tree.


Chapter Four: King Hammurabi’s Written Laws
Hammurabi was a great king back then. He instituted the “Code of Hammurabi.” This was a set of laws. They were written down. That way, each person would know them. We talked about writing down important information and ideas. This is one way a civilization can be strong.

King Hammurabi wanted all of his citizens to follow the laws. People knew what would happen if they broke a law. They would be punished. And some of the punishments were quite severe! Here’s a statue of Hammurabi kneeling.


Chapter Five: Gods, Goddesses, and Temples
Back then, people believed in lots of gods and goddesses. People would go to temples. They prayed to the gods and goddesses there. They also asked the gods and goddesses to help them. Here’s a statue of someone asking a god for help. They believed that the gods and goddesses had lots of power. They thought that they could make good and bad things happen.

People built great temples to the god and goddesses. They hoped more good things would happen by worshipping them. Here are the ruins of the Temple of Ur. Thousands of people would have gone there. It still stands today. It’s in the modern-day country of Iraq.

The people built temples to honor their gods. But they also built other things. Babylon was their richest city. This ornate gate was in the city. It was built to honor Ishtar. She was the goddess of love and war.

People back then told lots of stories. One favorite was about how strong and brave one of their kings was. His name was King Gilgamesh. They also showed his bravery in pictures.

In the story, Gilgamesh was very strong. They said that he could defeat a lion! He  did so many amazing things. He was thought to be a half-god.

Ancient Egypt

Chapter One: The Nile River
Let’s now venture to ancient Egypt. They have the world’s largest river. It’s called the “Nile.” The Nile would rise above its banks and flood the land. This took place each year. The flooding deposited rich soil. This helped them grow plants on their farms. The Nile also brought water to their plants.

How did they farm? Egyptian farmers first dug up the soil. Sometimes they used a hoe for digging. Then they dropped seeds into the ground. Animals such as cows stepped on the seeds. That pushed them into the ground. Sometimes farmers used a plow instead of a hoe. Often, an ox would pull the plow.

Ancient Egypt was another great civilization. It was on the continent of Africa. The land of ancient Egypt lay along the Nile River. All around this land was a desert. It’s called the “Sahara Desert.” Egypt became known as the gift of the Nile. The Nile River is in northern Africa. It’s more than four thousand miles long. The Nile flows north into the Mediterranean Sea.


Chapter Two: Pharaohs and Everyday People
Egyptians identified their rulers as kings, queens, or “pharaohs.” They were the most important people of their time. They made the laws. They were in charge of the army. This is a statue, or stone carving, of a pharaoh.

You may not believe this. Egyptians had things that we’d find in our own homes today. This Egyptian queen is playing a board game.

Egyptians used green and black eye makeup. They thought that it made their eyes more attractive. It may also have safeguarded their eyes from the unforgiving sun. And it kept away irritating little flies.

Their workers made bricks from mud and straw. The bricks were used for construction. They were dried in the hot sun. They would become hard and strong in the arid climate.

Egyptians traveled by boat on the Nile. The boats were also used to carry food. They would transport goods from one part of the kingdom to another.


Chapter Three: Pyramids and Mummies
Pyramids and tombs were burial places. They were for important people, such as pharaohs. Pyramids were fabricated from stone blocks. It took thousands of people to build a pyramid. And it took millions of stone blocks. The stone blocks were cut, first. Then they were pushed and pulled on sleds across the sand by workers. It was brutal work! Pyramids are called one of the “seven wonders of the ancient world.”

When pharaohs died, their bodies were treated in a special way. Everything inside a pharaoh’s body, except the heart, was taken out. The pharaoh’s insides were placed in canopic jars.

The rest of the body was then wrapped up. They used lots of strips of cloth. They placed the body in a wooden box. The wrapped body is called a “mummy.” Often, a painted mask was placed over the mummy’s face. Many a horror movie has been made about mummies. Have you ever seen one? How about Scooby-Doo?!


What happened to the pharaoh’s heart? They believed that their gods and goddesses would judge every pharaoh’s life. They do that by weighing the pharaoh’s heart. What if a pharaoh had been good? He would have a light heart. What if he had not been good? His heart would be heavy. Here a god is weighing a heart.

A pharaoh’s body would be made ready. It was then taken to a tomb or pyramid. The walls of these burial places were painted. They were full of pictures. These were of things that the pharaohs liked during their life.

Other things have been found buried inside tombs and pyramids. They often contained treasures made of gold and jewels. The mummies of Egyptian pharaohs have been found, too. Here’s a necklace and part of a bed that a pharaoh once used. Can you imagine this? Pharaohs had gold decorations on their beds!


Chapter Four: Gods and Goddesses
Here are some Egyptian gods and goddesses. Peculiar, aren’t they? They have human bodies. But they have animal heads. Egyptians believed in animal gods, too. They assumed that the gods and goddesses made good and bad things happen in the world.

Here’s the “Sphinx.” It’s a huge statue in the desert. It has a human head and an animal body. Notice that it has the body of a lion. The Sphinx was a symbol of a god and a pharaoh.

Three of the most formidable Egyptian deities are shown here. The god Osiris has a green face. His wife, Isis, is next to him. Horus, their son, has the head of a falcon. They believed that Horus’s eye protected the living and the dead. His eye was oftentimes drawn on the walls of tombs.

The god Anubis has a jackal’s face. A jackal is a wild dog. They thought that the gods and goddesses were clever and smart, like certain animals.

The Egyptians’ preeminent god was Re. He was the sun god. He is regularly shown with the sun above his head. The goddess Ma’at is ordinarily depicted wearing an ostrich feather.


Chapter Five: Egyptian Writing
Egyptians used little pictures to make words. That’s what their writing system consisted of. The symbols are called “hieroglyphs.” The examples that are portrayed here were carved on a stone wall. They also wrote on paper. They made paper from the papyrus plant. Sometimes the sheets of paper were joined together. That made them into long scrolls.

In ancient Egypt, scribes could read and write. They wrote vital information on walls and on paper. This man is a scribe. Scribes had special tools. They even had writing boards made of wood. These boards were like small desks that could be carried around.

Hieroglyphs look like pictures. Each picture could be a sound, a part of a word, or a whole word. These hieroglyphs reveal the name of a king.


Chapter Six: Tutankhamen
For thousands of years, people have tried to find the pharaohs’ tombs and treasures. Many of them hoped to get rich. Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon were two such men. After much searching, they found King Tut’s tomb. They were gladdened by their discovery.

The tomb was filled with astonishing artifacts. One of the many discoveries was a beautiful throne. King Tut had once sat upon it! Miraculously, they uncovered King Tut’s mummy! It had been inside the tomb for thousands of years. On the mummy, there was a golden mask of King Tut’s face. The whole world was enthralled by these discoveries.


Look at this sculpture. It was found inside the tomb. It shows the face of the young King Tut. Like many important Egyptians, his head was shaved. That’s so that he could wear a wig. They wore wigs so that itchy bugs couldn’t get into their hair!

This chariot belonged to King Tut. It’s possible that the young King Tut rode into battle riding it. Or maybe he rode it through the streets of an Egyptian city.

This box was found in Tut’s tomb. It was fabricated to hold jewelry. There are hieroglyphs all over the box.

This is the “Rosetta Stone.” The words on the stone helped people understand Egyptian writing. We owe a lot to the Rosetta Stone. It helped us to decipher their language. So, we’ve learned about pharaohs and gods. We know about the games they played. We’ve gained awareness of the foods that they liked to eat!


Chapter Seven: Hatshepsut
Another very famous pharaoh was Hatshepsut. She became a pharaoh after her husband died. She had to work very hard. She had to validate that a woman could be a high-achieving pharaoh, too! And she did!

Hatshepsut was a great pharaoh. She sent Egyptians on a long ocean voyage. The sailors were to procure things that were needed in Egypt. This ocean voyage was about 3,500 years ago.

The Egyptians brought back sweet-smelling oils, gold, ivory, plants, and valuable wood. Hatshepsut was pleased that they had obtained these fabulous things.








The Police Chief was happy to announce a four percent increase in salaries.


The great chef Julia Child raised awareness in America of delicious French cooking.


Grandpa said, “Come here, child, and let me give you a big hug.”


I snapped at my younger brother, “Chill out and calm down!”


Students, if anyone knows the answer to this question, please chime up.”


Did you know that in most U.S. states it’s illegal to have a chimp as a house pet?


Her nervous response to our actions suggested that we’d found a chink in her armor.


All of them in their family have prominent chins.


How about I bring chips and dip to your party?


That mockingbird is making a loud chirk as it tries to taunt our cat.


We heard the loud chirm of hundreds of birds in the jungle.


The chirp of a cricket is made by its moving certain body parts together.


I hear the chirr (also “churr”) of a nearby grasshopper.


I’ll rip these chits up, as you have paid me back everything that you owed me.


Let’s add some chive as seasoning for the salad.


Yum, these cookies are chock full of chocolate chips!


Don’t you hate it if you choke on a fish bone?


The dog looks like he’s good and ready to chomp on this bone.


Hot dog, Dad’s grilling lamb chops for dinner.


I finally finished my last chore of the day.


Son, you chose wisely when you decided to become an Eagle Scout.


How many days old are these chubs; they’re starting to smell really fishy.


My friend Chuck has some cool new sunglasses.


You can chuck that note into the trash bin; I’ve already read it.


Our nextdoor neighbor is just a grumpy old chuff.


He’s gonna burp really loudly after he chugs down that soft drink.


Don’t be a chump; he’s a great card player, and he’ll take your money if you bet with him.


My chums and I are going to see the new horror movie tomorrow.


Who’ll eat this final chunk of cheese so that I don’t have to put it up?


That churl from the countryside is going to have trouble navigating around the big city.


On our field trip to Williamsburg, they showed us how they used to have to churn butter.


If we added this feature to our product, there’s a niche of consumers who would pay dearly for it.


Places like Costco and Sam’s Club let you buy things in batch quantities.


I got bitten by a bunch of horseflies at the beach this morning.


I’m pretty sure that this is a beech tree.


It’s impolite to belch, and even worse to do so at the dinner table!


How many pounds can you bench press?


I love the way that the white bark of a lugo birch tree looks.


The boss said that we’d better not botch up this project!


We sold a bunch of Girl Scout cookies today!


Catch me if you can!


This job is right up her alley, and it will be a cinch for her.


I bet that this conch shell would make a good paperweight.


I bet that this culch by the dock is a good bed for oysters.


My new driving student almost drove into a ditch today!


My ancestry is largely of Dutch origin.


My girlfriend suggested that we go dutch tonight when we go out to dinner.


Check out how my dog Ruff can fetch the Frisbee and catch it in mid-air.


I had to ask my friend, “Did you filch that pillow from a motel?”


Argus Filch was an easy character to despise in Harry Potter.


Each finch in our birdbath is a different color.


I can afford clothes from Walmart, but not from Abercrombie and Fitch.


Did you know that the European version of a skunk is called a “fitch?”


A flash flood ran through the gulch during the unexpected rainstorm.


Mom, I wonder when the jay bird’s eggs will hatch.


Orrin Hatch from Utah was the longest-serving Republican Senator in U.S. history.


Susie, if you want to hitch a ride with us from school, I’ll drop you off at your house.


I have a hunch that Dad’s gotten something special for Mom for their anniversary.


Grandma asked me to put the dry plates back into her kitchen hutch.


Put these fish into the kench and I’ll show you how we salt them.


A ketch has two masts, a mainmast up front, and a smaller mizzenmast at the back of the boat.


A larch tree yields tough, durable wood.


Make sure that you latch the deadbolt on your bike so that no one steals it.


See if you can leach out the stain on the rug by using bubbly sparkling water.


A leech got on our toddler when we were wading in a pond, and she freaked out!


I hope it’s time for lunch, ’cause I’m famished!


I told you that this old car would lurch forward when you start it up.


I love the huge character named Lurch in The Addams Family.


Dad’s gonna lynch me when he finds out that I put a dent into his car.


I found out that Mrs. Lynch down the street is a stock broker.


Look at the soldiers march in the parade.


I love “March Madness,” when there are tons of tournament college basketball games.


I need a long match to light up the grill.


Mitch Miller was a big player in the music industry during the 1900s.


We need to get our annual springtime order of mulch to put around the bushes and trees.


We’ve got lots of good food to munch on at our Super Bowl party.


Make sure to put a mutch on the baby’s head, as it is brisk outside.      


It’s only natch that she would bring an apple to Mrs. Smith, because she’s so much the teacher’s pet.


We need to put a notch in the wood here, to help the two parts fit together.


This blazing hot, dry day is going to parch our throats.


Nothing’s better than a straight-out-of-the-oven peach pie.


Our new birdhouse has a great perch for birds to rest on.


This recipe calls for just a pinch of salt.


My biggest baseball dream is to pitch a no-hitter.


I think I’ll poach a couple of eggs to put on toast for breakfast.


The boxer landed a brutal punch to his opponent’s face.


I get to spend a month on a dude ranch this summer!


Can you reach that container in the top cabinet for me?


The noxious smell coming from the sewer made me want to retch.


If I see one roach in this new apartment, I’m going straight to the management to complain.


If you’re ready, I’ll teach you how to ride a bike!


The tomb raiders took a torch with them into the depths of the pyramid.


She plays the piano with such a soft touch.


A vetch vine bears pealike flowers.


The soldier was assigned to the night watch.


Jack Welch, CEO of General Electric for 20 years, was considered one of America’s greatest business executives.


You owe me money, and you’d better not welch on the deal!


Which entree are you going to order for dinner?


They raised the heavy load up to the top shelf by turning a winch.


Glenda asked Dorothy, “Are you a good witch, or a bad witch?”


My sales of Girl Scout cookies today came out close to zilch.








Lesson 14 – Pattern-Builder Poems

NEW WORDS: Cher, Claire, Ed’s, Ellie, Jared, Kelley, Kelly, Kerry, Larry, Murray, Nellie, Oscar’s, Perry, Shelley, Sperry, aerie, attacks, behead, blockhead, breadwinner, bullheaded, cleric, cornbread, curry, dining, dreary, eerie, eggheaded, figurehead, flair, flare, flavors, flurries, howling, inquire, jarhead, knuckleheaded, leery, marine, marries, mascara, meds, meerkat, merely, monster’s, nicknamed, outspread, parry, peer, prairie, pricey, quarry, query, redhead, scurrilous, shortbread, sleepyheads, spare, spooning, sterile, steroids, store’s, sued, suede, trailhead, undead, unwed, vary, vintage, wiry, zombie

Nellie Ellie Kelley Loves Her Jelly
I have a friend named Nellie,
And she’s nuts about her jelly.
Plum and peach and grape and lime,
She’s eating jelly all the time.

There’s orange jelly on her steak,
And cherry on her birthday cake.
There’s blueberry for her potatoes,
Strawberry for her tomatoes.

Grapefruit for her breakfast toast,
And mint to cover her lamb roast.
Her older sister goes by “Kelly,”
Her younger one is nicknamedShelley.”

Both of them like smelly jelly,
Strange, strong flavors that bother Nellie.
So if you’re somewhere dining out,
And you choose to look about,
And at the table next to you,
You see an odd and funny view,
A girl who’s bought a pricey dish,
Spooning jelly on her fish,
It’s highly likely that it’s Nellie,
With lots of jelly in her belly.


A Knuckleheaded Story
It was dinner at Ed’s homestead.
Ed was the family figurehead.
And the breadwinner.
He’d served his country well as a Marine jarhead.

Unwed Ed fed Ted, Ned, Red, Jed, and Fred.
He served a nice spread of bread, cornbread, gingerbread, and shortbread.
Then Ed said, “Time for bed.”
Ed led them up the stairs.

Four of them were sleepyheads.
They quickly got under their bedspreads.
But Fred the redhead fled!


He sped out of the house.
He was not ready for bed.
He wanted to play, instead.
Ed yelled, “Get back here, or you’re dead!”

And Ed pled, “Besides, you need to take your meds!”
But Fred already had the sled from the shed.
He was out in the snow.
He had a hat on his head.

From it, he snapped off a loose thread.
Off he went! Oops!
He didn’t look well ahead of himself.
The sled ran into a tree next to the trailhead.


He sat in the snow with his legs outspread.
Now Fred bled on his forehead.
But just a bit.
Ed chased Fred on a moped.

Fred had to tread through the snow.
But now he felt a sense of dread.
Bullheaded Ed was catching up!
Fred screeched, “Please don’t behead me!”

Ed called back, “Just get inside, you bigheaded eggheaded blockhead.”
But then they heard an evil howling.
And a zombie appeared from the woods!!
Now it was time for widespread panic!
Now they’d have to escape from the undead!


Please Stop This “Poem!!”
Can a fairy take a ferry?
Is Harry hairy?
Is Mary merry?
Will Mary marry?
Will Mary be merry when she marries?
Does Barry like to eat a berry?
Will he bury a berry?
Is Claire the cleric clear about this?
Is Jerry on a jury?
Do you work at the dairy, dreary dearie?

Does Terry tarry?
That movie star on steroids will stare at the sterile stair for a while.
Is that bird’s eerie aerie airy?
Is Cary friends with Kerry?
I must query about the quarry.


I sold a spare tire to Mr. Sperry.
Did you inquire about the choir?
Are you cheery when you eat a cherry?
I’m worried and weary and wary of that wiry monster’s attacks.
Are you sure she’s from Surrey?

The rear of this roast is rare.
Do things here vary very much?
Come on, Harry, hurry!
Come on, Mary Murray!
Is that Jerry or Jared?

With flair, did they light a flare to see through the flurries?
Are you leery of Larry?
Can a fairy be furry?


Is that meerkat merry, or merely bored?
Will Perry parry with his sword?
Sue sued him for getting suet on her suede coat, and it’s a big issue!
Does courageous Cary care to carry curry?

Are there prayers out on a prairie?
I dare you to race that deer, dear.
I barely got away from that bear by giving him some beer.
Will you peer at this pair of pears, and then pare the skin?

When I see scurrilous Oscar’s scar, it’s scary, and I scurry away with my mascara.
Does Cher share things, like vintage sherry?
Is that just a story about the store’s storage, or is it true history?


Lesson 15 – “Basic English” and “Common Words” Word List Vocab-Builder 

NEW WORDS: Congress, absent, accept, account, adjustment, admire, advertisement, airfield, airship, amusement, apparatus, approval, attraction, authority, behavior, blimp, blunt, bombed, character, chemical, chord, clothe, colony, committee, connection, conscious, crease, degree, dependent, destruction, detail, development, differ, digestion, discuss, discussion, disgust, distant, distribution, earshot, elastic, element, equate, excite, expansion, feeble, fertile, fiction, foot’s, fowl, grouse, hill’s, humor, impulse, insurance, invention, jewel, luggage, mass, mist, molecule, naked, non, observation, operation, organization, original, ornament, parcel, performed, poetry, populate, port, porter, probable, profit, prose, protest, punishment, purpose, quality, quotient, range, reaction, receipt, regret, regular, relation, religion, representative, require, responsible, secretary, segment, selection, skill, slope, snarf, society, sponge, stead, substance, suggestion, surgeon, syllable, talents, tendency, tension, theory, toddler, unsnapped, verse, westward

Kip was absent from school.

He’s a strange guy.

Locusts leave trails of destruction.

Row into that thick mist.

My throat’s sore.

How much is the sales tax?

My foot’s arch is flat.

Head north.

This connection unsnapped.

I like your sense of humor.

Their organization is a nonprofit.

I regret that I can’t come.

His theory has holes in it.

Here are a needle and thread.

Is that a right angle?

This cold killed my sense of taste.

Sing that verse twice.

We accept cash.

That’s a feeble excuse!

She’s an authority figure at work.


Paste this here.

He walked to first base.

This is fertile soil.

Are you through yet?

We had a good discussion.

I was conscious of a ghost in the room.

His tendency is to be blunt.

I feel shame for doing that.

What sex is the baby?

What rate do they charge?

Leave me in peace.

That’s a high-quality suit.

The porter will take your luggage.

This hill’s slope is steep.

Stick out your tongue.

Sort these into piles.

Twist off this cap.

He smokes a pipe.

I have a savings account.

A stitch in time saves nine.


The committee wrote their report.

Till the soil with this spade.

This elastic band snapped in two.

I’ll stretch out on the couch.

I need a good fiction book.

We had a nice view.

The plane took off.

That’s a dull blade.

This feels rough.

Put this ornament on the tree.

Hit the ball straight.

What’s your point?

Don’t waste time!

Insurance will pay for the damage.

Don’t miss this key detail!

See what you weigh on this scale.

I got five calls from the advertisement.

Your behavior is mean!

Put on the brake!

Cut the wire here.


Screw this in slowly.

A grouse is a fowl.

What a sparkling jewel!

Screw in the light bulb.

Let’s go to the amusement park!

There’s a chemical spill on the road.

You have my approval to do that.

Do you know for certain?

Your wound will heal.

My impulse is to snarf down more chips.

There’s a parcel at the door.

Let’s study U.S. westward expansion.

I admire her talents.

That invention will make money.

Crush the other team!

Climb to the observation tower.

He has an attraction towards her.

I’ve got a bad cough.

I’m dependent on you to do that.

You disgust me!


The surgeon is done with his operation.

He’s our representative to Congress.

He’ll pay for his crime.

The secretary took the meeting notes.

I was in range of earshot.

What a nice young man!

I owe you a debt of thanks.

It’s probable that I’ll be there.

What’s the purpose of that complex apparatus?

To what degree will she tell the truth?

Their air force bombed our airfield.

There’s a new development in our plans.

Knead this mass of dough.

This pill will help your digestion.

Make the adjustment with this tool.

I doubt I can do that.

Add me to the distribution list.

A blimp is an airship.

She has an edge in the race.

Is this prose or poetry?

Here’s the receipt for your purchase.


Is this true or false?

Wipe this with the sponge.

I’ll think about your suggestion.

What a selection of candies!

Douse the flame.

You’re responsible for this chore.

My religion won’t let me eat that.

Your punishment is no T.V. for a week.

What’s this gooey substance?

Look at that bird in flight!

This grain is rye.

I went on a protest march!

What was her reaction to your idea?

I exercise on a regular schedule.

There’s much tension in our society.

There’s a relation between cause and effect.

That’s a seven-syllable word!

We had a good tour guide.

Tie this in a knot.

I differ with your view on this.

Iron a crease into my pants.


“Two” is the quotient of “six-divided-by-three.”

The boat sailed into port.

You’re being too loud.

She has a high moral character.

That struck a chord with me!

Our cat is a male.

Let’s discuss this problem.

What do you equate her strange mood to?

They sailed to a distant colony.

Watch this segment of the T.V. show.

I require hard work from you.

Please clothe the toddler.

I got mixed up.

I didn’t like that element of the story.

That’s quite an original idea!

He performed with great skill.

You can’t see a molecule with the naked eye.

It would excite me to go to the ball.

You’ve got some nerve!

The queen’s daughter came in her stead.

Populate the pond with these trout.

Keep the noise down! 








This is the nth time that I’ve told you to not chew with your mouth open!


I’m going on a diet to thin down, hopefully losing ten pounds.


The boxer said to his opponent, “I will be like the hammer of Thor raining down on you in today’s match!”


The thud that we heard was our cat knocking a book off of a bed upstairs.


The police yelled to the thug, “Drop your gun and put your hands on top of your head.”


The dog stinks, and it’s time to give him a bath.


My friend Beth is taking ballet lessons.


I said to our two kids, “It’s time for both of you to see the dentist.”


A Goth will typically dress entirely in black.


Charles Lamb wrote, “Here cometh April again, and as far as I can see, the Earth hath more fools in it than ever.”


I identify with their kith, as many of them have “Be Kind” signs in their yards.


That kid is scary-good at math problems.


Meth is one of the most addictive and dangerous illegal drugs that you can find.


We saw a rarity today, a beautiful Luna moth.


We’re studying the Greek myth of “Uranus versus Cronus.”


The newest Knight of the Round Table took an oath to serve King Arthur.


A big snake skittered across our hiking path today.


The teacher asked, “What is the pith of Plato’s perspective in this thesis?”


Senator Roth voted “no” on this proposed bill.


In the Star Wars stories, the Sith were the ancient enemies of the Jedi.


My little brother asked, “Can I go with you and your friends to the park?”


Mom said, “Nice job Tom, you wrote a very nice thank-you note to your grandfather.”


Our neighbor reported a theft to both the police and to their insurance company.


The teacher asked, “Who wants to try to summarize the main theme of this story?”


I’d like a nice, thick cut of that juicy-looking prime rib.


The thief was easily identifiable because of our home security camera.


I think I’m hungry for a second chicken thigh, please.


Bobby brought some insect into the house, and Mom exclaimed, “Get that thing out of here!”


Dad asked, “What do you think about my wearing this tie to tonight’s party?”


Let’s wait until the crowd thins out before heading to the parking garage.


Earth is the third planet from the sun in our solar system.


Ouch, I poked my finger on a thorn on this rose stem.


My Grandpa’s favorite newspaper comic strip was “Gil Thorp.”


They won the basketball game by hitting a last-second three-pointer.


We could hear the throb of all the engines revving up at the racetrack.


The quarterback said, “Billy, I’m going to try to throw the ball to you on this next play.”


I’ll thrum the strings of this lute so that you can hear what the instrument sounds like.


We heard a series of thuds as the truck driver dropped bags of mulch onto our driveway.


The police rounded up all of the thugs who’d had a part in the bank robbery.


Don’t you think that their child is too old to still be sucking her thumb?


My big brother slumped down into the beanbag chair with a loud thump.


Who would have thunk that the underdog team could actually win that game?


Mom, things will be confusing this year, as there are three “Beths” in my new class!


I love urban myths, like having alligators living in the New York sewers.


The captain had to berth the ship without the aid of tugboats.


The Prince and Princess celebrated the birth of their first child.


This soup recipe calls for four cups of chicken broth.


I think I can get that food stain out of your blouse with a damp cloth.


One of Agatha Christie’s greatest mysteries is “Death on the Nile.”


The destroyer dropped a depth charge to try to force the enemy submarine to the surface.


I wonder if Earth is the only planet in the universe with life.


Aunt Faith always gives me great books for Christmas and birthday presents.


Have faith in your many years of training, and you will perform well.







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.) 
Seasons And Weather


Lesson 16 – Part One 

NEW WORDS: Christian, Columbia, Fahrenheit, Jewish, Kwanzaa, adieu, alternating, apparel, battens, benumbing, blanketed, brimming, captivating, caution, cautious, centric, characteristic, characteristics, comparable, compatriot, compel, corroborate, covenant, defrost, delighting, depending, designated, designates, district, engaging, envelopes, envisage, eventuate, festive, festivities, fireplaces, fluctuating, forfends, forgather, forming, frolic, furnaces, greenest, hatches, hazardous, heaters, hibernal, hometown, hottest, incrusted, injured, irrefutable, lists, lunar, measurements, merciless, metric, neighborhoods, opposing, oranges, pleasurable, prodigious, project, reciprocal, regardless, religions, remaining, repeatedly, representation, researching, resolutions, roadways, roasty, rotation, salaam, schools, scrapes, seldom, serendipity, shroud, shutter, sledding, snowplows, snowstorms, standstill, substantiate, suffused, sweaters, sweltering, tangerines, themes, thermometer, tolerate, tradition, vacillates, varieties, walkways, whereabouts

Chapter One: What’s The Weather Like?
Dear Friends,

Hi! My name’s Ann. I’m from Washington, D.C. (Did you know this? “D.C.” means “District of Columbia.”) I’m in fifth grade. But I remember when I was younger, just like you. Right now I’m in school. We’re learning about seasons and weather. For my school project, I’ll be your weather pen pal. I’ll teach you about the weather where I live. I’ll also talk about the weather in lots of areas on Earth. You can help me with my project. Just answer all my questions. Then I can learn about the seasons and weather where you live.

There are different kinds of weather. It can be sunny, cloudy, windy, rainy, and stormy. How about where you live? What’s the weather like today?

No matter where you live on Earth, you can count on this. Weather is always fluctuating. It changes by the hour. It vacillates from day to day. There are weather patterns during certain times of the year. For example, let’s look at summer. Its weather pattern is mostly sunny and warm. Weather patterns may change a lot in some places. They may vary little in other places. It depends where you live on Earth.


This is a representation of the Earth. I’ve colored two places on the map blue. One’s the North Pole. One’s the South Pole. The North and South Poles are at opposing ends of the Earth. But they share comparable weather patterns. The weather pattern at the North and South Poles is always cold. And the land is mostly blanketed by ice.

This is the South Pole. It’s located on the continent of Antarctica. It’s one of the most hibernal places on Earth. The ground is incrusted by ice all year long. But guess what?  It seldom rains or snows here. The wind can be merciless. And the temperature can be benumbing.

I’ve suffused the centric area of this map red. What’s the weather pattern in this area? It’s mostly very warm all year. Its biggest changes are the measurements of rainfall at alternating times of year.

Envisage a rainforest. The day may start off warm and sunny. But by afternoon, it may rain very hard. This weather pattern may eventuate on most days! This place gets lots of rain and sun almost year-round. The rain and sun are both good. They keep the plants and trees green and healthy.


This part of the map is green. It’s most of the U.S. Most of the U.S. is on the continent of North America. The state of Hawaii, though, is made up of islands. They’re located in the Pacific Ocean. In most of the United States, it’s not always cold. And it’s not always hot. Most of the U.S. has weather changes with each season. So, we get cold weather, hot weather, and everything in between.

There are four seasons in a year. They are winter, spring, summer, and autumn. Each season has different weather. So, the weather in the U.S. changes a lot. It depends on where you live and which season it is. Plants, trees, grass, and flowers change in different seasons. You’ll also see different kinds of animals in different seasons.

This image shows the season called winter. It’s the coldest season. In some places, snow and ice shroud the ground during wintertime. Other places may not have snow and ice. But they’re still colder in winter than in other seasons. Some animals, like bears, sleep during the winter season.

Eventually, winter ends and spring begins. In spring, the sun shines a little longer and warmer each day. This melts the ice and snow. In spring, new leaves appear on the trees. New plants grow up from the warming Earth. And flowers bloom again. Many baby animals are born during the spring, too!


After spring comes summer. Summer is the hottest season of the year in the U.S. Summer is the season in which all the plants are at their greenest. They’re brimming with leaves, flowers, and fruit. Birds, bugs, and other animals are easiest to spot in the summer.

Finally, after summer comes autumn. Autumn is also called “fall.” In most places in the U.S., the leaves change colors. Then they fall off some varieties of trees. The air outside gets cooler. The sun shines a little less each day. Autumn is when farmers harvest their fruits and vegetables. Further, birds fly south, and everyone battens down the hatches for winter.

Let’s say the seasons together. “Winter, spring, summer, and autumn.” What season is it right now where you live? How do you know? Each season has its own special characteristics. For example, a characteristic of summer is hot weather. One of winter is snow.

The seasons are different, depending on where you live. Not all places have to tolerate snow in the winter. And not all places are sweltering in the summer. But one thing’s irrefutable. It doesn’t matter where you live. The seasons repeatedly change in the same order, year after year.


What’s something that happens over and over again in the same order? It’s called a “cycle.” Every year, the rotation of the seasons starts in winter. It’s followed by spring, summer, and autumn. Then it turns back to winter.

I’ll be talking a lot about my hometown, Washington, D.C. But the characteristics of the four seasons where you live might be different. It will be fun to see if your weather is different from mine!

I’ll say “adieu” for now. But I’ll write again soon. Until then, I hope you’re delighting in pleasurable weather regardless of your whereabouts!

Your compatriot, Ann


Chapter Two: Winter
Dear Friends,

Salaam, from your pen pal, Ann! You got my last letter, right? I told you about the four seasons that occur in most parts of the U.S. They’re winter, spring, summer, and autumn. Today, we’ll be researching winter. What kinds of things do you think of when I say “winter?” Snowmen? Icicles? Here’s what I think of. COLD!

Winter is our coldest season. The shortest day of the year is on December 21. It designates the start of winter. Winter also includes January and February.

It can get very cold in the winter in most of the U.S. How do we substantiate how cold it is? We use a tool called a “thermometer.” This tool measures “temperature.” That’s a metric we use to talk about how hot or cold it is. When it’s hot outside, the liquid in the thermometer rises towards the top. When it’s cold outside, the liquid stays near the bottom.

What’s another way we corroborate that it’s wintertime? Look at the way people are dressed. Look at what these people are wearing. These clothes will help them stay warm in the winter. Winter apparel forfends you from the cold. It keeps your body nice and warm while you’re outside. Hats, mittens, and scarves help you stay warm. And you might wear “extra layers.” Think about sweaters.


It gets cold in the winter where I live, in Washington, D.C. Sometimes it’s even cold enough to snow! I wish it would snow every day. But, the temp must fall below freezing for it to snow. (The freezing point is 32 degrees Fahrenheit.) What happens if the air between the clouds and the ground is below 32? Then, instead of rain, snowflakes will likely fall.

Some years, Washington, D.C., gets prodigious snowstorms. They’re known as “blizzards.” They bring city traffic to a standstill. They compel the schools to shutter. There are other years when it only snows once or twice. What’s winter like where you live? Do you get snow?

When it snows, people work together to clear the snow. People often use snow shovels. They shovel snow off of walkways. That way, others don’t slip and become injured.

In many places, snowplows get to work clearing the streets. There’s a big plow on the front of the truck. It scrapes the snow and ice from the roadways. These trucks also carry salt or other chemicals. They spread it on the roads as they pass. The salt and chemicals defrost the remaining ice. And, they keep new ice from forming. This makes the roads less hazardous for people to drive on.


You need to be cautious out in the snow. That’s whether you are walking or driving. Snow and ice are slippery. You must use extra caution when the ground is covered with snow or ice.

I always cheer up when it starts to snow. That’s because I love to frolic in it. I like to build snowmen. And I have snowball fights with my friends.

Another way to have fun in the snow is to go sledding! After a big snow, all you need is a nice steep hill. Put on warm clothes. Bring something to ride on to go sledding. It’s great fun!

If you’re outside a while, you’ll get chilled to the bone. It’s nice to come back inside to get warm again. Some homes have fireplaces. People light logs on fire to help warm the house. I love reading a good book by the roasty-toasty fire.

There are other ways to stay warm inside. People also use gas furnaces and electric heaters. And of course, get cozy when you go to bed. Curl up under a few extra blankets!

Winter’s also a time when folks from different religions celebrate holidays. Christmas, a Christian holiday, comes on December 25. Hanukkah, a Jewish holiday, also falls around this time. And so does Kwanzaa. That’s a week-long holiday celebrated by some African-Americans.


Here’s a festive tradition during these holidays. People string colorful lights around their homes and neighborhoods. You should see Washington, D.C. at this time of year. The lights make it a captivating place.

Another important winter holiday falls on December 31. That’s the last day of the year. It’s called New Year’s Eve. January 1, the day after December 31, starts the new year. January 1 is called New Year’s Day. Here’s a New Year’s tradition. Many people make resolutions. They write out lists of things that they covenant to do better in the new year.

Next, let’s look at the Lunar New Year. This is also designated the Chinese New Year. Luck and good fortune are reciprocal themes for this holiday. It falls around late January and early February. The color red is worn during the festivities. It’s thought to be a sign of serendipity and happiness. Homes are decorated with red paper cut into designs. Folks write happy wishes on red paper. They hang them throughout the house. Children often receive red envelopes. Money may be tucked inside! What do you hope for if you receive these envelopes? You’re also supposed to receive good fortune in the New Year. Families forgather to wish each other good luck. They have big feasts. They will serve fish, pork, and poultry. They will serve tangerines, oranges, dumplings, and special cakes.

There are so many engaging things to do in the winter! What’s your favorite part of winter?

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.) 
Seasons And Weather

Lesson 17 – Part Two

NEW WORDS: Hindu, Passover, Seder, air’s, anticipate, ascends, autumn’s, balmy, barbecues, buoyantly, calmer, cognize, colossal, commemorated, commences, congregate, culmination, departs, devised, disparate, disrobed, dissimilar, drains, ducklings, energetic, envision, exemplary, extends, fair’s, famed, favored, foals, fragrant, garbed, garments, hibernating, homage, illustrative, indications, indulge, innumerable, intimations, judged, kaleidoscopic, levels, loosens, melting, memorial, metropolis, milder, monuments, museums, nearest, nippy, nuzzle, officially, oppressive, patchwork, plows, proficient, progresses, recollect, refreshments, relish, repast, returning, rollick, safeguard, scorching, scrimmage, seeps, sensational, sightseers, slight, snooze, soil’s, spatter, sprung, stirs, studying, stuffing, sunburn, thermometer’s, togethers, transpires, twirling, uncles, veils, vendors, ventures, visitors, warms, weekends, whirling

Chapter Three: Spring
Dear Friends,

The next season is spring! Spring arrives gradually, bit by bit. It commences in mid-March. It extends through April and May. The air warms. The ground starts to thaw. That’s because the days are longer. So, that gives us more sunlight. The rivers and streams fill with water. That’s from the melting snow and ice.

Tiny green leaves pop out on some tree branches. A few new plants also start to peek up out of the soil. Hibernating animals wake from their winter snooze. These are indications that “spring has sprung!”

Spring’s a windy season. Some people say this: “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.” This means that the weather in spring changes. It’s stormy and windy at the start. But it gets calmer and milder by the end. What’s fun to do at the windy start of spring? It’s an exemplary time to fly a kite!


There are also lots of rainy days in the early spring. March and April have the most rain. I love it when I get to wear my raincoat and rain boots. Then I can splash in puddles! What can you see sometimes after a spring rain shower? You might see a magical rainbow in the sky. There’s another old saying that tells us this: “April showers bring May flowers.” The rains of April help flowering plants to grow big and healthy. Then they can produce pretty, fragrant flowers in May. Some flowers even bloom throughout the summer.

The world outside truly changes in spring. Flowers are one of the key intimations of spring. They substantiate that the plant world has come to life again. Soon, bees are buzzing among the flowers. Birds are chirping in the leafy trees. And the afternoon hours are balmy and pleasurable.

Washington, D.C., is famed for its spring cherry blossoms. In April, the cherry trees throughout the metropolis burst into bloom. Innumerable brilliant pink and white flowers show that spring is here. My parents and I have a special spring picnic every year. We set up under the cherry blossoms.


Spring is a key time on farms. For the farmer, it’s time to get back out in the fields. He must plow his soil. He must prepare it for planting. He plows the field first. This stirs up the soil’s nutrients. And he loosens the ground. That’s so that new seeds can take root. The time will soon be right. The farmer will go through his plowed fields. He’ll plant his seeds in neat rows. What’s it like a couple of weeks later? The field will be brimming with little green seedlings! By summer, you won’t be able to see the brown soil at all. All the big, green plants will fully cover the soil.

Spring is also a key time for the farms’ animals. Lots of animals give birth to new babies. The barnyard and fields are full of baby animals. The mothers nurse and care for them as they grow. Baby horses, called “foals,” rollick in the fields. Lambs nuzzle close to the mother sheep. Ducklings queue up and follow their mom to the pond.

Washington, D.C., was devised to be built on the banks of the Potomac River. Rivers often reach their peak levels in the spring. Melted snow from the surrounding fields and mountains drains into creeks. It seeps through the ground to reach the river. It will soon flow out to the sea. Sometimes the river water becomes so high that it floods.


Several holidays are celebrated in the springtime. There’s the Christian holiday of Easter. People often go on Easter egg hunts. They look for decorated eggs or an Easter basket full of candy. There’s the Jewish holiday of Passover. Special food is served to family and friends at the Passover “Seder.” There’s the Hindu holiday of Holi. It’s a festival and celebration of colors. People dance, sing, and spatter colored water on each other.

Another important holiday is Memorial Day. It’s commemorated on the last Monday in May. On this day, we pay homage to the U.S. men and women who fought and died in different wars. They gave their lives to safeguard the U.S. There are lots of parades, picnics, barbecues, and family get-togethers. In D.C., we also have a big concert to celebrate.

What’s spring like for you? Is it dissimilar from spring in D.C.?

Your friend, Ann


Chapter Four: Summer
Dear Friends,

“Hi,” from your pen pal, Ann! Today we’ll talk of summer. What do you envision when I say, “summer?”

Summer’s my favored season. I relish the warm weather and sunshine. Summertime means vacation, too. I don’t have school in the summer months.

Here’s what transpires at the start of summer. Our part of the Earth receives the most sunlight that it gets all year long. The days are the longest they’ll be all year. The Summer begins in June, most places. Summer includes July and August. It doesn’t matter where you live in the U.S. Summer will bring the warmest weather of the year.

Remember one way to tell how warm it is outside? Look at a thermometer. That’s a tool that measures the temperature. When it’s cool outside, the thermometer’s liquid stays down in its lower part. What about when it’s warm outside? The liquid rises and comes close to the top. Where does the liquid go in the summer months?


Do you recollect this? We talked about the winter months. We said you could also tell how cold it was by the way people dress. The same is true in summer. People’s garments tell you how warm it is. All of these people are dressed for warm weather. What do you see about the way that they’re garbed?

I’ve told you this before. I live in Washington, D.C. That’s the capital of the United States. D.C. is an illustrative city to learn about when studying the seasons. That’s because here the four seasons are disparate from one another. It’s easy to tell by walking outside or looking out the window. You quickly cognize whether it’s winter, spring, summer, or autumn.

Summer is the most energetic time of year in D.C. Each year millions of Americans vacation here. They come to visit the famous monuments, museums, and buildings. The city gets really crowded with sightseers in the summer. But I like to see the patchwork of all the different kinds of people downtown.


Summer’s weather can be oppressive in D.C. See how high the liquid is in this thermometer to the left? It says it’s 100 degrees Fahrenheit. That means it’s really hot outside! It’s a good thing there are lots of vendors who sell cold refreshments. It’s easy for visitors to find ice cream and snow cones. These and other cold treats help them to cool off!

The trees in D.C. are full of green leaves in the summer. I love my neighborhood. There are lots of parks with mowed grassy areas. People really enjoy them. On weekends, lots of my neighbors are outdoors. You might see them working in their flower beds and gardens.

I like to go to the local swimming pool. That’s a good way to keep cool in the summer. Lots of others have the same thought. Everyone at the pool is wearing plenty of sunscreen. That way, they don’t get sunburned. Nothing ruins summer fun like a bad sunburn!


Sometimes you can rest under shady trees. That veils you from the hot sun. Other people simply stay indoors, especially on the hottest days.

The Fourth of July is the biggest summer holiday. It’s an especially important day in Washington, D.C. July 4th is the birthday of the U.S. Lots of people celebrate the day with family and friends. Lots of my friends have picnics or barbecues. Others take trips to the beach. I like to go to the parades during the day on the Fourth of July. Then I enjoy the booming, kaleidoscopic fireworks at night. I also love to eat lots of watermelon!

July 4th and ventures to the pool and beach make for good memories. I always think of fun times when I think about summer. What’s summer like where you live?

Your friend, Ann


Chapter Five: Autumn
Dear Friends,

Eventually, the warm weather of summer departs. It’s time for autumn to begin. Kids are returning to school in autumn. Autumn officially starts in the middle of September. And it includes October and November.

By autumn, the air’s cooler than it was in the scorching summer months. It might still feel warm on some early autumn days. But there’s a slight chill in the air at night. And by the end of autumn, get out your coat. It can be really cold during the day, and at night!

As autumn progresses, the days get shorter. The sun ascends just a little bit later each day. And it sets a bit earlier. By October in Washington, D.C., leaves are changing. Lots of the trees’ leaves don’t look so green, anymore.

In autumn, most leaves turn to bright yellow, orange, red, or brown. It’s so beautiful! Last autumn, my family took a trip to the nearby mountains. We went to enjoy the colors. The air was so cool and crisp. We had a sensational time. Look at this picture from our trip. The forests are bright with fiery color!


Other changes with trees will occur. This is after they’ve turned colors. “Deciduous” trees then begin to shed, or lose, their leaves. That’s why another name for “autumn” is “fall.” That’s because the leaves of the trees “fall” to the ground. The ground is covered with a blanket of brown leaves.

Do leaves change color and fall off the trees where you live? If so, you can do the same thing that we do. We rake up all the leaves into one colossal pile. Then we jump in it, just for fun. The leaves make a soft, crunchy cushion.

Now let’s go a few hours outside D.C. You’ll start to see farms. Autumn means harvest time for farmers. It’s hard work being a farmer. All summer, farmers have been caring for their plants while they grow. They’ve watered them. They’ve made sure the weeds and bugs of summer did not ruin them. Autumn’s the time to gather the fruits and vegetables in the fields.

There’s something fun after the crops are harvested. The farmers get together for the county fair. My family goes each year to the nearest county fair. It’s incredible. The farmers bring their best vegetables and animals. They show off how proficient they are at growing vegetables and raising farm animals.


I took this picture of the pumpkins at last year’s fair. The fair’s judges had already come by and judged them. Which ones do you think the judges liked best? How do you know?

What if the fair was only about vegetables? Then I wouldn’t get so excited about it. But there are lots of fun rides. And there are all kinds of foods. I love to eat cotton candy and corn dogs. Some people also take their chances playing games. They try to win stuffed animals. Once, I won a gigantic teddy bear.

By early November, the D.C. air gets nippy. Some days the skies are clear and sunny. Others are gray and cloudy. The wind blows more than it did in the summer. The autumn wind sends dry, crunchy leaves whirling and twirling. They’re flying through the streets and parks. They’re whispering that winter is coming soon!


It’s now late November. Autumn’s gradually winding to a close. We now have one of the most important holidays in the U.S. You got it! Thanksgiving Day. On this day, we like to congregate with family and friends. In my family, it’s a big shindig. We have grandparents, cousins, uncles, and aunts to our home. They travel from all over to have Thanksgiving dinner with us. I always buoyantly anticipate our grand repast. We indulge ourselves with turkey, stuffing, potatoes, rolls, and cranberry sauce. And we top things off with pumpkin pie for dessert. Then, my cousins and I scrimmage with the football in the yard!

Thanksgiving is close to the culmination of autumn in D.C. By that time, the trees are disrobed of their greenery, and the leaves are raked. The air starts to feel very cold, especially at night. Once the trees look like this, you know that autumn is nearing an end. Soon, it will be winter. We’re once again at the beginning of the cycle of the seasons!

Now we’ve talked about each season. We’ve learned of their different characteristics. What will I tell you about next? You’ll just have to wait and see!

Your friend, Ann








The coach took the starting pitcher out of the baseball game in the fifth inning.


We were depressed to see all of the filth on the beach from the oil spill.


Colin Firth did a great acting job in the movie “The King’s Speech.”


Our boat took us up the Scottish firth to see some cool castle ruins.


From that day forth, the Grinch always had a kind heart.


Mom said, “Now, watch how I froth the egg whites with a whisk to make meringue.


Garth Brooks is a very popular country music performer.


I’m afraid that my girth is too big for me to wear these pants any more.


My favorite candy is a Heath bar.


Some developers are talking about turning that heath into a housing subdivision.


I love the excitement and mirth of the holiday season.


What month were you born in?


I think the kitty’s catnip mouse is ‘neath the sofa.


It’s the top of the ninth inning, and the baseball teams are still tied.


Dad, does Santa REALLY live at the North Pole?


Perth, on the west coast of Australia, is a city of almost two million people.


That incredible magician seems to have some kind of sixth sense about her.


My comrade at work is as slow as a sloth in getting his assignments completed.


I hear that Mr. Smith is trying to start up a debate team here at school.


Dame Ethel Smyth was a British classical music composer.


The alien spacecraft laid down a swath of destruction on the ground with its ship’s powerful ray guns.


The keyboard player played a great lead on his synth, and the crowd went wild.


We were surprised to learn that our grandmother has false teeth.


In the tenth game of the season, the team finally won its first game.


The perimeter of a square or rectangle is measured by multiplying the width times the height.


Let’s take this to a jeweler and find out how much this diamond is worth.


If you anger the Emperor, his wrath will be swift and brutal.


The wroth sea had thrown two sailors overboard.


George Wythe led a lifelong pursuit of virtue, and he influenced many early American leaders.


Dad admitted to us that in his youth he had been quite a rabble-rouser.




The pilot shouted, “What the heck was that?” as a possible UFO flitted past the jet.


I love the Maimonides quote, “Teach thy tongue to say ‘I don’t know,’ and thou shalt progress.”


Although we’re twins, my sister is taller than I am.


I think that strange animal is a wombat.


Emily Dickinson wrote, “I argue thee that love is life, and life hath immortality.”


All of these puppies are cute; which one of them would you like to take home with you as your new pet?


Finish your chores, and then you can head outside to play.


When my friends come over, I bet that they will want to play Monopoly.


This looks like a nice spot to set up for our picnic.


You were at the scene of the accident; thus, the police want to question you about what you saw.


That’s the craziest idea that I’ve ever heard!


These socks really need some mending, don’t they?


In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Polonius says, “To thine own self be true.”


While in a global food market, Dad asked, “What are those funky vegetables?”


After working hard in the garden, Mom said, “I need to go bathe to get all of this sweat off of me.”


Back in the Middle Ages, taking baths was a very rare thing for most people.


Dad’s doing some woodworking on the lathe in the basement.


Your daughter has the lithe body of a ballerina.


Dad is loath to drink anything with caffeine any more, to help keep his blood pressure down.


Look at all the moths flying around our porch light!


All of the soldiers took oaths to proect their queen and country.


We walked along many paths during our hiking today.


We gave our weekly tithe during our church service today.








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.) 
Seasons And Weather

Lesson 18 – Part Three

NEW WORDS: affected, airline, antennas, aplenty, astronaut, attentive, basis, cameras, cirrus, commandment, complicated, conventional, cumulate, cumulus, disregarded, encroaching, entreat, epistle, exhibition, exhorted, fatal, fellowship, flashed, flitting, foofaraw, forecast, forecaster, grindstone, hailstones, hailstorm, images, launched, meanly, merrymaking, meteorologist, meteorologist’s,  meteorologists, meteorology, nears, now’s, nowadays, overview, periods, picnickers, pragmatic, predict, predicting, predictions, prone, provisioning, rainstorms, ruminated, safer, satellite, satellites, seriously, shiftless, slothful, somnolent, stratus, summertime’s, temperatures, temps, tends, thunderstorm, thunderstorms, tougher, vacationers, weatherman, weatherperson, weatherwoman, wispy, witnessing

Chapter Six: The Grasshopper And The Ants
There was a field on a fine summer’s day. A grasshopper was hopping about. He was singing, dancing, and enjoying his merrymaking.

Nearby, there was a fellowship of ants. They were hard at work. They had built their house underground. They were provisioning it with food. They’d have enough to last them through the long, cold winter ahead.

“Why not come and play with me?” asked Grasshopper. “Why get in a foofaraw about winter? We have food aplenty now. Come, leave your work. Now’s the time to dance and sing.”

But the ants disregarded him. They kept their noses to the grindstone. They worked all day and each day.

But not Grasshopper. He was shiftless. All summer long, he jumped about the field and danced and sang. The ants worked while he played. Sometimes he’d sit for hours and listen to the humming of the bees. He would watch the butterflies flitting about. He would take long, slothful naps in the somnolent sun. And when he woke up, he would sing this song.


“The summertime’s the time for me,
For then I’m happy as can be.
I watch the butterflies and bees,
As they fly around as they please.
Oh, summertime’s the time for me!
For I’m as happy as can be.”

Yes, Grasshopper was a happy fellow. But he never ruminated about the future.

One day, Grasshopper woke up. He felt a chill in the air. Then he saw the leaves turn red, gold, and brown. Then he saw them fall from the trees. The days kept getting cooler. Soon, Grasshopper saw no butterflies or bees. And the fields where he liked to play turned bare and hard.

The cold days of winter were now upon him. Grasshopper was freezing and hungry. He came to the ants’ house. He knocked on the door.


“What do you want?” they asked.

“May I come in? Can you share your food?” asked Grasshopper.

“What did you do all summer?” asked the ants. “Didn’t you cumulate some food? That way, you could use it now!”

“No,” said the shivering grasshopper. “I didn’t think of that. I spent the summer singing and dancing in the sun.”

“So,” said the ants meanly, “you sang and danced all summer. You did that while we worked. Well, now you can sing and dance while we eat!”

The hungry grasshopper walked away. Now he sang this song.

“Next time I’ll work as well as dance. Then I’ll be ready, like the ants!”


Chapter Seven: Safety In Storms
Dear Friends,

Have you ever seen a thunderstorm? I got caught in one the other day. It brought me to a realization! Weather can be amazing and powerful! The lightning flashed. The thunder boomed. It was quite an exhibition. Today I’ll tell you about severe weather. You’ll learn how to stay safe during thunderstorms.

You’ve seen large, dark clouds like these in the sky. You probably know what weather to expect when you see them. These are storm clouds. Do you want to get soaked? Probably not! So, what do you do when you’re witnessing a storm like this encroaching on you? You got it! Get indoors!

During a thunderstorm, you can see lightning. Lightning is a stroke of electricity. It connects energy in the ground with energy in a cloud. You might see a bright bolt of lightning. It flashes and zig-zags in the sky.

Lightning is often followed by a loud clap of thunder. The sounds of thunder vary. What if the thunderstorm is far away? The thunder may just sound like a distant rumble. But what if the storm nears? The thunder gets louder and louder. And, the time between seeing lightning, and hearing thunder, gets shorter and shorter. Thunder can’t hurt you. But lightning can be dangerous.


A lightning strike knocked down this tree. Lightning can start fires, too. Worst of all, lightning can seriously injure you. It can even be fatal! There’s a very small chance of being struck by lightning. But it can happen. Fortunately, there are simple ways to be safe from it. My teachers taught them to me. Now I’ll teach them to you.

Lightning tends to strike tall things. It may strike trees. It may strike tall buildings. Here’s the smartest thing you can do in a storm. Stay indoors! What if you can’t take cover in a building? Then a car is also a safe place.

What if you’re stuck outside in a thunderstorm? What if you just can’t get indoors? It’s critical that you remember this. NEVER take shelter under, or near, a tree or tall object. The tree leaves may help keep you dry. But you never want to be near a tree if it gets hit by lightning. Instead, you should lie down prone on the ground. Get far away from any trees. Then wait for the storm to pass. Yes, you’ll get drenched. But you won’t get struck by lightning or a falling tree.


Here’s another important commandment. Always get out of a pool, lake, river, or ocean right away during a thunderstorm. Electricity moves through water. So, a person in the water can be hurt by a single lightning strike. Be safe and stay dry inside during a thunderstorm!

You might see hail during a storm. Have you heard of hailstones? During a hailstorm, chunks of ice fall from the clouds onto the ground. Usually, hailstones are small. They’re about the size of peas, or smaller. Sometimes, though, hailstones can be as big as a golf ball. Rarely, they can be as big as a baseball. It’s always best to stay indoors during a hailstorm.

Storms and other kinds of severe weather can be quite dangerous. It’s important to know how to stay safe during them. If you can, don’t go outside in a storm. If you have to go outside, wear the right kind of gear. Put on a raincoat, boots, and a hat during rainstorms. Be smart and be safe. Then you can enjoy the amazing power of nature. It’s quite the show!

Your friend, Ann


Chapter Eight: Meteorology
Dear Friends,

Haven’t we learned a lot about seasons and weather? This is my last epistle to you. Today’s our last lesson. We’ll learn how to know what kind of weather is on the way.

Have you ever watched the weatherman or weatherwoman on the news? Sometimes, people blame them for bad weather. That happens when their plans are spoiled by rain. But the weatherman does not control the weather. He just tries to predict it. And he looks at many time periods. What will it be later in the day? Tomorrow? Next week? Sometimes he’s right. Sometimes he’s wrong.

The study of weather is called “meteorology.” It’s about making weather predictions. The person who does this is called a “meteorologist.” We use the words weatherman and weatherwoman for the people on TV who tell us about weather. You’ve seen them on the evening news. Often that person is a meteorologist.


Predicting weather is important. It helps people know what to wear that day. It helps you know if you’ll need an umbrella. Predicting weather also helps you plan things. Can you go on a picnic? Can you go to the beach? You want to make sure that it won’t rain on you while you’re outside!

But picnickers and vacationers aren’t the only ones who want to know. Farmers must know how much rain to expect. What if the meteorologist says it won’t rain for a while? Farmers may need to find another way to get water to their plants. In fact, many jobs could be affected by the weather. You might be a baseball player or a construction worker. You might be a garbage man, an airline pilot, or an astronaut!

How do meteorologists forecast weather? One way is this. They study weather patterns and temperatures from the past. Here’s what you see when you watch them on TV. The weatherperson tells you what the high, or warmest, temp will be for that day. Then they’ll give you the low, or coldest, temp. High temps usually come during the daytime. Low temps are mostly at night. The weatherperson may tell you if the temps that day are conventional for that time of year. They check the weather record to find that out. The weather record is kind of like a weather diary. It lists what the weather was like on that day in prior years.


What else do they use to predict weather? How do they know what will happen? In fact, predicting the weather is quite complicated. Yes, we have amazing computers and equipment nowadays. But the forecaster is still wrong sometimes.

However, their predictions are correct a lot of the time. That’s thanks in part to “satellites.” Look at the one in this picture. Satellites are objects launched into space. They contain cameras, radios, and antennas. But there aren’t people on them. Once in space, they travel around the Earth. The satellite cameras take pictures. They beam them down to forecasters. They use the photos to help them. They can see storms as they develop. They can predict whether the skies will be clear or cloudy.

Of course, you don’t always need a meteorologist. Often, you can tell what the weather will be like yourself. It’s obvious if dark clouds like this roll over your town! These dark clouds are “cumulus” clouds. They often turn into thunderstorms. You can also find cumulus clouds during nice weather. They appear white and puffy, like a cotton ball.


These are “cirrus” clouds. They are thin and wispy clouds. They float way up high in the sky. Usually, cirrus clouds mean the weather will be clear and pleasant.

Stratus” clouds are the third cloud type. They float fairly low to the ground. These flat clouds can stretch across the entire sky. They sometimes drop light rain or drizzle.

The most important part of a meteorologist’s job is to help save lives. That’s by warning people when severe weather is on the way. Look at this picture. It was taken when a “hurricane” was heading toward land. A hurricane is a huge storm. It forms out over the ocean.

The meteorologist in this picture is studying images of a hurricane. It’s about to strike land. The shot was made by a computer. It was helped by satellites, airplanes, and other tools. It’s able to see how fast the wind is moving. It sees how much rain there is. It sees which direction the storm will move.


Thank goodness for these computers and satellites. The meteorologists saw the hurricane days before it came near land. So, they exhorted people to leave their homes. They warned folks to head to safer ground, if need be. A lot of people were kept safe from this severe weather. That’s because of the meteorologists. They help people stay prepared. They help people stay safe. And that’s despite whatever challenges the weather may throw their way.

Now, we’ve gained a pragmatic overview about typical weather in each season. But what about on a day-to-day basis? Well, it’s tougher to know exactly what the weather will be like. So, it’s a good idea to listen to your local weatherman or weatherwoman. Then you’ll know to bring an umbrella that day. Or you’ll know to have extra sunscreen. That way, you’ll be prepared.

Thanks for helping me with my weather project! From now on, I hope you’ll keep an eye to the sky. And I entreat you to be attentive to the weather where you live!

Your friend, Ann


Lesson 19 – “BNC-COCA” Lists Vocab-Builder

NEW WORDS: Chromebooks, Hawthorne, Internet, Montana, Quaid, Rafferty, absolute, access, according, active, adapt, advantage, advertise, advise, affair, alcohol, alright, alter, apparent, appeal, appoint, argue, article, ashamed, associate, atmosphere, attract, average, banking, behaviors, benefit, brand, cable, calculate, career, casual, centimeter, circumstance, client, collecting, command, commerce, commit, complaint, complicate, confuse, contract, cooling, council, culture, definite, demand, department, depress, desperate, directed, disappoint, discipline, disturb, divorce, economy, edit, educate, election, email, embarrass, employ, encourage, engage, entertain, evidence, examine, exhaust, expense, expensive, extend, extreme, fascinate, feature, finance, foreign, fortunate, frustrate, gorgeous, gotta, governmental, grammar, graph, hedge, hesitate, hobby, idiot, illustrate, immediate, influence, insure, intent, interrupt, interview, involve, involvement, juggling, justice, kilometer, league, legal, mathematics, maximum, mental, microwave, minister, minus, mission, mum, official, oppose, organize, policy, politics, pollute, population, possess, practical, practices, prefer, pregnant, premium, presentation, pressure, presume, prevent, previous, profession, pronounce, propose, qualify, realize, recent, reckon, recommend, recover, reduce, refer, refrigerator, regard, relate, relief, remark, repairs, replace, reports, requirement, reserve, retire, returns, robberies, salary, secure, senior, series, shift, shove, snooty, social, species, standard, stomachache, stressful, struggle, style, surround, suspicion, teenage, television, tempt, tense, there’ve, therefore, threat, topic, trial, union, unite, university, update, upswing, vehicle, virus, volunteer, whereas, witness, zero

I need access to your desk.

I sense a shift in her opinion.

Wear casual clothes to the dance.

I demand an answer!

I encourage you to try this.

This book will fascinate you.

We’ve walked one kilometer.

She’s a mathematics teacher.

I hope I qualify for the team.

I reckon I can do that.

Surround their troops!

Can I tempt you with this cake?

Look it up on the Internet.

You can’t divide by zero.

According to mom, this is tasty.

I command you to march!

Don’t disturb me!

This film will entertain you.

She’s from a foreign country.

Turn it to maximum volume.

My wife is pregnant.


It was a tense day at work.

His story was an absolute hoot!

That car’s too expensive.

He’s surely an active child.

I like that brand of soap.

Don’t move another centimeter.

Don’t disappoint me!

Prove it to me with evidence.

That’s a gorgeous dress!

Exercise is good for mental health.

It’s wrong to pollute the river.

I’m tired; therefore, I’ll take a nap.

Advertise your car in the paper.

Don’t you realize what you did wrong?

We’ve got to adapt to the new boss.

We just got cable T.V.

You got through a tough circumstance.

Don’t take advantage of me.

Your vehicle needs significant repairs.

A trip to the doctor is for your benefit.

Commerce” is buying and selling goods.