Module D – Weeks 18 to 34

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Core Knowledge (R) Independent Reading 

(Review guidelines for publishing Core Knowledge (R) materials at the bottom of this page-view.) 
The War Of 1812

Lesson 34 – Part One

NEW WORDS: Madison, Napoleon, Tennessee, controlled, earful, impressment, involved, joining, merchants, monarchy, naval, opposed, serving, sided, sunken, traders, voters 

Chapter One: Trouble with the British
In 1812, James Madison had a hard choice to make. Many Americans were angry with the British. Some of them were saying that the United States should declare war on Great Britain. But others disagreed. They said the United States should not go to war. Madison was president of the United States. He had to decide what to do. Should he ask the U.S. Congress to declare war? Or should he try to keep the peace?

At the time, Great Britain was already at war with France. The two countries had been fighting for years. Most of the countries in Europe were involved in the war. Some sided with the British. Others sided with the French. The French were led by a man named Napoleon. He was a brave leader. He had beaten the British in a number of battles. Still, the British kept fighting.

The United States tried to stay out of this big war. At first, most Americans did not care to get involved. American traders wished to trade with both Great Britain and France. But this led to problems. When United States ships traded with the British, the French got upset. They did not want Americans trading with their enemies. When United States ships traded with the French, the British got upset for the same reason.


Sometimes British ships would stop American ships to keep them from trading with the French. Sometimes French ships would stop American ships to keep them from trading with the British. The Americans had problems with both the French and the British. As time went on, the problems with the British increased.

The British had a strong army, and an even stronger navy. But serving in the British Navy was a hard job. Some people quit. Others ran away. This was a problem for the British. They needed all the men they could get. How else could they defeat the French? The British spent a lot of time looking for men who had run off. From time to time, they would stop American ships. British officers would come on deck to look for British men. They would grab men and force them to serve in the British Navy. This was called “impressment.” The British said that they took only British men who had run away. But they were not always careful. Sometimes they grabbed Americans. Stories about men taken by the British were printed in the papers. How do you think Americans felt when they read them? They felt angry. Some of them felt that the United States needed to fight back. They said the United States needed to declare war on Great Britain.


Impressment was one problem. But there were others. Many in the United States were also upset with the British for trading with Native Americans. In 1812, most Americans were farmers. At first, most farmers had homes near the East Coast. But then the country began to grow. People went west. They settled in places far from the coast. They set up farms. They planted crops. There was just one problem: there were already people living there! The settlers were moving onto land where Native Americans hunted and made their homes. Native Americans did not like this. There were many fights between settlers and Native Americans.

The British controlled Canada. They sent traders south from Canada to trade with Native Americans. These traders sold all sorts of things to Native Americans. The British said they had a right to trade with Native Americans. But lots of people in the United States did not see it that way. They said the British were helping Native Americans attack American settlers. They felt that they needed to fight back.

You can see there were many reasons for Americans to be angry with the British. But there were also good reasons for not declaring war. A war causes death, wrecks towns, and costs a lot of money. Plus, Americans felt that the British would not be easy to defeat. President Madison and the men in Congress would have to think long and hard about declaring war.


Chapter Two: The War Hawks
At first, President Madison tried to keep America out of the war. He tried to make a deal with the British. He asked them to stop taking American sailors. He asked them to stop trading with Native Americans. But he did not ask Congress to declare war. This made some people happy. There were many people in the United States who did not care to go to war. Most merchants and traders felt this way. They traded with Great Britain, as well as other countries. A war would mean less trade between countries. It would mean sunken ships and lost goods. A war would cost them money. For this reason, as well as some others, most merchants opposed the war.

But others felt that a war was needed. The states out west – like Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee – were closer to Native American land. The settlers in these states were scared of Native Americans. They were also angry with the British. These people were called “War Hawks.” They made loud, angry speeches. They complained about impressment. They complained that the British were selling guns to Native Americans. They felt that the United States needed to declare war.

When some War Hawks found out that the British were selling guns to Native Americans, it made them angry. These War Hawks gave President Madison an earful. They got up in Congress and made angry speeches. They said that the United States should stand up to Great Britain. They said that Madison should ask Congress to declare war.


Chapter Three: The War Starts
Presidents have to make hard choices. James Madison had to decide whether to side with the War Hawks, or with the merchants who hoped for peace. In the end, he sided with the War Hawks. Madison asked Congress to declare war. On June 18, 1812, the United States declared war on Great Britain. The Americans were in for a hard fight. The British had a huge army. They also had the world’s biggest navy. But the British were already at war with France. They could only send some of their troops to fight the United States. That was a good thing for the Americans. It meant that the United States would have a better chance of winning.

Even so, not a lot of people at the time could imagine that the United States could win. Today, the United States is a strong nation. It has been around for many years. It has a strong army and navy. But that was not the case in 1812. In 1812, the United States was not very old as a country. It had broken away from Great Britain only about 30 years before. The United States had a different kind of government, too. At the time, most of the nations of Europe were monarchies. That means they were ruled by kings or queens. A king or queen would rule until he or she died. Then, in most cases, the oldest son would take over. The United States was not a monarchy. It did not have a king or queen. Instead, it had a president. The president was chosen by voters. He did not get to serve until he died. He served for four years. Then the voters got a chance to pick their president. If they voted for a different president, the old one had to step down. In 1812, most people in the world felt that the American government had a very strange way of doing things. They were not sure that the system would last, and that the United States would be able to survive.


In 1812, the United States did not have a strong army. In fact, the U.S. Army was tiny. It had about 4,000 soldiers. The navy was tiny, too. George Washington, the first president, had set it up. He didn’t think the United States needed a big navy, but just a small number of ships to protect merchants from pirates. President Madison found a way to make the army bigger. He got farmers to join. Many Americans were farmers. They used guns to hunt and to defend their homes. Madison called on these farmers. He asked them to grab their guns and join the army. Farmers were paid money and given land for joining.

The United States soldiers were not well trained. Still, Madison was sure they could win if they attacked the British in Canada. He sent the army north to Canada. The attack on Canada did not go well. The army lost a string of battles. The United States lost forts along the border. The army was simply not ready for war.

No one expected much from the tiny U.S. Navy. But things went better on the seas than they did on land. The United States battled bravely. They beat the British in a number of naval battles.

Core Knowledge (R) Independent Reading 

(Review guidelines for publishing Core Knowledge (R) materials at the bottom of this page-view.) 
The War Of 1812

Lesson 35 – Part Two 

NEW WORDS: Baltimore, Dolley, Madison’s, Madisons, McHenry, Pickersgill, President’s, anthem, blasting, blazed, bursting, capitol, construct, explode, ironsides, mortars, nieces, puzzling, ransacked, referred, rockets, smashing, streaking, stitching, stripe, supreme, surge, toasted 

Chapter Four: A Famous Ship
The ship on the right is the USS Constitution. It was one of the ships that battled in the War of 1812. The letters “USS” stand for “United States Ship.” The USS Constitution was named for a very important document, the Constitution of the United States. The Constitution lays out the laws of the land. It states what people serving in each branch of the U.S. government can do. It says what the president, the Congress, and the Supreme Court can do — and also what they cannot do. James Madison had helped write the Constitution. He had also played a key role in getting states to accept it. The people of the United States were proud of the Constitution. So, they named one of their fighting ships the USS Constitution.


During the War of 1812, the USS Constitution had a string of battles on the high seas. In one battle, the USS Constitution attacked a British ship. It was a hard fight. The sailors on both sides fired cannons. The guns blazed and smoked. The two ships drifted closer. Once, they even bumped into each other. Cannonballs from the USS Constitution smashed into the side of the British ship. They made big holes in it. They ripped off a sail. They knocked down the ship’s masts. The British ship fired back. But its cannonballs did less damage to the U.S. ship. In fact, some of them bounced off the thick walls of the American ship! When the American sailors saw this, they cheered. “Hooray!” one of them shouted. “Her sides are made of iron!” In fact, however, the sides of the ship were not made of iron, but of very thick planks of wood. The wooden sides of the USS Constitution were much thicker than most ships.

The USS Constitution won the battle. The British ship was so smashed up that it could not be fixed. The British had to sink it. When people were told about the battle, they became excited. They yelled and shouted. They waved flags and had parties. They treated the sailors on the USS Constitution as heroes. They also gave the ship a nickname. They called it “Old Ironsides,” because its wooden sides seemed as strong as iron. Old Ironsides kept on fighting. It battled more than twenty times and never lost a battle!


Chapter Five: The Attack on Washington, D.C.
In August of 1814, President Madison was upset. Two years had passed. The war was still going on. The U.S. Army had won some battles, and it had lost some battles. The British had landed an army near Washington, D.C. British soldiers were marching. Madison hoped the U.S. Army would be able to stop them. At the time, Washington, D.C., was a young town. Some buildings had just been finished, such as the Capitol. Others were not finished yet. Still, it was an important place. It was where the U.S. Congress met to make laws. It was where the Supreme Court met. It was the home to President Madison and his wife, Dolley.

The President’s House was a special house that had been constructed for the president. (Today it is called the White House.) It was only about ten years old at the time. It was home to President Madison and his wife, Dolley. President Madison was aware that there was going to be a big battle outside the city. He planned to go support the troops. He ordered some soldiers to protect Mrs. Madison and the President’s House. Then he jumped on his horse and rode off. The battle outside the city did not go well. The U.S. Army was beaten. People quickly found out about the defeat. The army had lost! The British were coming! People in the city panicked. They grabbed their things and ran away. The roads were jammed with people and carts.


President Madison could not get back to the President’s House. His wife, Dolley, was left there with servants and soldiers. The soldiers ran away. Mrs. Madison could not stay in the President’s House. The British would be there soon. She had to flee. Mrs. Madison hoped to take as much with her as she could. But which things should she take? There were many fine things in the President’s House. She loved a lamp that hung in one room. But there was no way she could take that. It was too heavy. She had a big closet of fancy dresses. She loved them, too. But there were more important things for her to carry away.

In the end, Mrs. Madison left most of her own things behind. Instead, she carried away things that were important to the American people. She grabbed papers and letters. She stuffed as many of them as she could into a trunk. Mrs. Madison was ready to leave. Then she remembered one last thing. It was a painting of George Washington. There was no time to gently take it from its frame. She ordered the slaves and servants to cut out the painting. “It is done!” said Dolley Madison. Then she ran out the door to safety.


Chapter Six: The Burning of Washington, D.C.
The British Army marched into Washington, D.C. The British soldiers were angry because the U.S. Army had burned York, the capital city of Canada. They planned to get back at the Americans by burning the U.S. Capitol Building. The British soldiers went to the Capitol Building. This was where the U.S. Congress met. They set it on fire. Then they marched down the hill to the President’s House. The British arrived just after Dolley Madison left. They broke down the doors and charged inside.

The President’s House was empty. In the dining room, the table had been set for dinner. The British general sat down with some of his men. They ate dinner. They drank some wine, too. As a joke, they toasted President Madison. They lifted up their wine glasses and thanked him for the wine. After dinner, the British soldiers started smashing things. They smashed the dishes. They smashed the table. They smashed the chairs. The soldiers ran up and down in the President’s House looking for things to steal.


They took the spoons and forks. They took the buckles from Mrs. Madison’s shoes. They even took the love letters her husband had sent her! The house was ransacked. Then the British general ordered his men to set the house on fire. The soldiers lit their torches. Then they went from room to room. They lit the drapes on fire. They burned the beds. They burned the desks and chairs. They even burned Mrs. Madison’s dresses.

Then the British marched away. They did not care to take over the city. They just planned to burn it. Burning the city would be a heavy blow. The British hoped the Americans might feel like there was no longer hope and stop fighting. Later that day, a storm rolled in. The rain stopped most of the fires. But it was too late. Many of the buildings were already lost. Later in the week, the Madisons came home. The President’s House was still standing. But it was a mess. The walls were black with soot. The windows were broken. All of their things had been stolen or burned. They felt they would never call the President’s House home again.


Chapter Seven: The Attack on Baltimore
Washington, D.C. took ten years to construct. It took less than one day to destroy it. Next, the British planned to attack Baltimore. Baltimore was a big city north of Washington, D.C. At the time, it was the third largest city in the United States. It was also a key port.

Baltimore was protected from naval attack by a large fort. It was called Fort McHenry. The British focused on Fort McHenry. They hoped that if they could take the fort, they could take the city. They planned to attack the fort by land and also by sea. The people of the city were aware that an attack was coming. They got ready. They piled up supplies. They set up walls. They even sank ships in the harbor to keep the British ships from getting too close to the city. All of the people in the city pitched in. Even the children helped.

A year earlier, the soldiers in Fort McHenry felt like they needed a flag they could fly over the fort. They asked a local woman named Mary Pickersgill to make a flag. “Make it big,” they told her. “Make it so big that the British will be able to see it from miles away!” The U.S. flag is covered with stars and stripes. Today, the U.S. flag has fifty stars and thirteen stripes. Each star stands for one of the fifty states of the United States. Each stripe stands for one of the thirteen original colonies. Sometimes America’s flag is referred to as “the stars and stripes.”


The flag that Mary Pickersgill made for Fort McHenry was different. It had fifteen stars and fifteen stripes. The Fort McHenry flag was different in another way, too. It was huge! Each star was two feet across. Each stripe was two feet tall and forty-two feet long. Mrs. Pickersgill could not do all the stitching herself. The flag was too big. She needed help. She got her daughter to help her. But she still needed more help. She had her servants help with the stitching. Still she needed more help. She sent for two of her nieces. That did the trick. She and her five helpers stitched day and night until the flag was finished. When it was done, the flag was as large as a house. It was hung on a giant pole over the fort. You could see it from miles away.

The British arrived later in the week. They sent troops to attack the city. But this time, the U.S. soldiers were ready. They stopped the British Army. The British commander was killed during the attack. The British went back to their ships. They decided to attack Fort McHenry with their navy instead.


Chapter Eight: Francis Scott Key and the National Anthem
On September 13, 1814, British ships opened fire on Fort McHenry. They fired rockets and mortars. The soldiers in the fort would have fired back, but there was not much point. The guns in the fort were old. They could not hit the British ships. The British ships kept firing for a long time. They fired all day. They fired on into the night.

An American named Francis Scott Key watched the British attack. He was on a boat in the harbor. Key was not a soldier. He did not fight in the battle. But he was able to see it. He could see the British ships blasting away. He could see Fort McHenry. He could also see the huge flag that Mrs. Pickersgill had made. Key kept his eye on the American flag. As long as the flag was still flying at the fort, America was still in the battle. It meant that the troops in Fort McHenry had not given up. If the flag went down, that would mean that America was no longer fighting. That would mean that the troops in the fort had given up. Key watched all day. He was still watching when the sun set. He was proud that the flag was still flying.


At night, it was harder for Key to see. But there were flashes of light. Sometimes a rocket would go streaking through the darkness. Sometimes a bomb would explode and light up the sky. The flashes of light allowed Key to see the flag. The firing went on until just before dawn. Then it stopped. The sun had not come up yet. It was still dark. There were no rockets blasting. There were no bombs bursting in the air. Key could not see much. The silence was puzzling. What did it mean? Was the battle over? Had the soldiers in the fort given up? Key could not tell. Key waited nervously. At last the sun rose. Key looked at the fort. And what did he see? The soldiers had raised the huge flag that Mrs. Pickersgill had made. It was not the U.S. soldiers who had given up. It was the British sailors! They had stopped firing on the fort. Key felt a surge of joy. He felt pride, too. The brave men in the fort had not given up!

Chapter Eight to be continued …




My Uncle Eddy loves to go trout fishing.


I’m a bit iffy on whether I can make it to your party.


The nasty character in this TV show is a real baddy!


I’m more comfortable when I wear baggy pants.


Mom went batty when the cat brought a live chipmunk into the house.


My friend Benny got a new aluminum baseball bat.


A cute biddy hatched from the hen’s egg.


The Canadian said, “I have to run to the biffy after drinking so much coffee this morning.”


Uncle Bobby is tall enough to slam dunk a basketball.


I wonder if cranberries could grow in this boggy marsh.


My best buddy lives down the street from me.


It was tragic that the singer Buddy Holly died way too young in a plane crash.


During our vacation, I got to ride on a horse and buggy.


Look, there’s a frisky little bunny in our back yard.


Let’s hail a cabby to drive us back to our hotel.


My caddy gave me good advice on the golf course today.


Jesus gave a canny reply to the Pharisees, who were trying to trap him into saying something that would get him in trouble.


All of the girls in that little clique are catty.


You’ll find cubby storage at the back of the classroom.


This is quite a spicy curry that I ordered.


My mommy and daddy took me out for ice cream.


Those two are dippy in love with each other.


How much is that doggy in the window?


My Aunt Dotty drives a red sports car.


Those girls are quite faddy about keeping up with the latest fashion craze.


That cute pig is quite a fatty.


While snorkeling, we saw many finny shapes darting around the coral reef.


We hiked for two hours through scenic firry hills.


It’s almost too foggy to even think about driving right now.


Dad, can you tell us a funny joke?


This story is about a nutty squirrel and his wacky furry friends.


All of the ladies in our book group were quite gabby today.


Gabby Hayes was the actor who played the comic sidekick with Hopalong Cassidy and Roy Rogers.


Who wants to eat this last gummy bear?


This sack is made from gunny material.


Did you know that the “formal” name for a guppy is a “topminnow?”


Oddly, this veggie burger has a hammy taste to it.


Grandad talks about how when he was twenty in the late 1960s, he was a hippy.


Mom’s new hobby is to fly a drone with a camera on it.


This beer has a hoppy flavor, as opposed to tasting malty.


Mrs. Greene’s hubby is a drummer in a blues band.


Don’t scrape yourself on these jaggy rocks’ edges.


Oh, I want one of those jammy doughnuts!


My sister Jenny is learning to make her own dresses.


They built that jetty to help protect the harbor.


Uncle Jimmy is trying to grow a handlebar mustache.


That little kiddy is having so much fun on the jungle gym.


Our kitty learned quickly how to use the litter box.


The teacher sent the student to the principal for being lippy with her.


Let’s meet in the hotel lobby at 6:00 PM.


My mommy sings me a lullaby each night before I go to sleep.


Make sure that you take off those muddy shoes before you step foot in the house.


I’ll be sweating a lot on a hot, muggy day like this.


I saw a scary horror movie called “The Curse of the Mummy.”


I noticed that my friend Tom’s mom is kind of naggy with him all the time.


Wear a jacket, because it’s nippy outside today.


I want a nutty flavored coffee creamer like hazelnut.


On our trip to Asia, I saw rice paddy after rice paddy.


That is one thick hamburger patty!


Our Aunt Patty moonlights as an Uber driver.


It’s hard to find anything that costs just a penny.


Our boss is in a peppy mood today because our sales are way up.


Kids, this thing you’re arguing about is just ridiculously petty.


My piggy bank is almost full of coins.


I think that a bright coral poppy is the prettiest of flowers.


Mom, I REALLY need to go to the potty!


My cousin is good with words, and he’s always quite punny.


We got a new golden retriever puppy!


After we move into our new house, we’re going to get rid of the ratty tool shed out back.


My favorite card game is gin rummy.






Core Knowledge (R) Independent Reading 

(Review guidelines for publishing Core Knowledge (R) materials at the bottom of this page-view.) 
The War Of 1812

Lesson 36 – Part Three 

NEW WORDS: Andrew, Jackson, Jackson’s, Orleans, dawn’s, emails, events, glare, gleaming, highways, inspired, knotty, losses, o’er, orphan, patriotic, proof, proudly, ramparts, rocket’s, salute, saluting, spangled, sporting, starved, streaming, twilight’s

Chapter Eight, continued 

Key felt inspired. He hoped to share with others what he had seen. He needed to tell what it was like to wait and wait — and then see the flag still flying in the morning. Key reached into his pocket. He found an old letter. On the back, he wrote a poem. Here is the first part of his poem:

O say can you see by the dawn’s early light,

What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?

Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,

O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?

And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,

Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.

O say does that Star-Spangled Banner yet wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Key did not know then that, one day, his poem would become our national anthem.


Chapter Nine: Andrew Jackson
After the Battle of Baltimore, both sides began to get tired of the war. They called a meeting. Men from both sides sat down to try to form a peace treaty. But in the meantime, the war went on. The British sent troops to attack the city of New Orleans, on the Gulf of Mexico.

You can see why New Orleans is an important place if you look at the map on the next page. The city is located at the mouth of the Mississippi River, right where the river drains into the Gulf of Mexico. From New Orleans, you can travel north along the Mississippi River. You can also turn off onto other rivers that feed into the Mississippi, like the Ohio River. These rivers are like highways that lead right into the middle of North America. In 1814, New Orleans was already an important, big port. Lots of ships landed there. Farmers could ship their goods down the river and sell them in New Orleans. Traders could unload goods in New Orleans and ship them up the river. New Orleans was an important city, not only for the people who had homes there, but also for the farmers up the river in places like Ohio and Kentucky. If the British took New Orleans, they could control trade along the Mississippi. Farmers in Ohio and Kentucky would be cut off. The Americans could not let this happen. They sent an army to defend the city. The army was led by a man named Andrew Jackson.


Andrew Jackson was from Tennessee. He had joined the U.S. Army during the American Revolution. At the time, he was just a boy. He was too young to fight. He carried notes from place to place. During the Revolution, Jackson and his brother were taken prisoner by the British. It was a difficult time for them. They were treated badly. They almost starved to death. Jackson’s brother got sick and died. While he was a prisoner, Jackson had a run-in with a British officer. The man ordered Jackson to clean his boots. Jackson was proud and stubborn. He refused. The man shouted at Jackson. Still Jackson refused. The man struck Jackson with his weapon. Jackson was left with a scar on his face. As a result of this, Andrew Jackson had no love for the British. He was happy to fight them again, as an army general, when the War of 1812 broke out.

Jackson had not been trained as a soldier. But he was bold and strong. His mother had died when he was young. He had gotten by on his own as an orphan. He had made his own way in life. During the first part of the War of 1812, Jackson battled against Native Americans in the west. Many Native Americans had sided with the British. Jackson’s men called him “Old Hickory,” because he was as strong as a knotty old piece of hickory wood. In 1814, “Old Hickory” was given an important job. He was told to raise an army to protect New Orleans. Jackson rushed to the city. He picked up new troops along the way. Many of the men who joined him were farmers. But there were also free African-Americans, Native Americans, and even pirates. When Jackson arrived, he ordered his ragtag army to set up walls and get ready for an attack. Then they waited.


Chapter Ten: The End of the War
On January 8, 1815, the British attacked New Orleans. They planned on winning without much trouble. But they did not know how brave Andrew Jackson and his men were — or how good they were with their weapons. The British soldiers had on bright red coats. A wave of them charged. Jackson’s men crouched behind their walls. They took careful aim. Then they fired. Their bullets hit the first wave of British soldiers. The British kept coming. Jackson and his men kept firing. The wall helped to keep them safe. When it was all over, the U.S. flag was still flying. The British gave up their attack.


The British took heavy losses. Two thousand of their men were killed or hurt. The U.S. Army lost no more than one hundred men. New Orleans was safe! Americans cheered for Andrew Jackson and the Battle of New Orleans. After time passed, a letter arrived. It said that the war was already over. On December 24, 1814, the United States and Great Britain had signed a treaty to end the war. This was two weeks before the Battle of New Orleans! But Jackson and his men did not know that. In those days, news traveled slowly. There were no radios or television sets. There were no phones. There were no computers to send emails. A letter could only travel as fast as the man who carried it. It took a couple of weeks for news of the treaty to get from Europe to the United States. That is why Jackson and his men did not find out about the treaty until after the battle. America’s greatest victory in the War of 1812 came after the war was already over!


The War of 1812 lasted three years. It’s hard to say who won. Both sides won battles. The British burned Washington, D.C. But the Americans won the Battle of New Orleans. “Old Ironsides” won a number of battles on the sea. But other U.S. ships were sunk. All in all, there was no clear winner. It might seem as if the war was for nothing. But some things had changed. The Americans had battled together as a nation, and they had done it well. They had taken on the mighty British and had held their own. The world saw that they were strong. The end of the war marked the start of a new age in U.S. history. It was an age of national pride. The War of 1812 showed that the United States of America was here to stay.


Chapter Eleven: Our National Anthem
A national anthem is a special patriotic song. Many countries have a national anthem. People sing a national anthem to show that they are proud of their country. In the United States, our national anthem is “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The words to this song were written by Francis Scott Key during the War of 1812. The song describes what Key saw during the attack on Fort McHenry. After the attack, he saw the U.S. flag, or in his words, the “star-spangled banner.”

We sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” before baseball games and other sporting events. We sing it on holidays like the Fourth of July. We sing it on special days when we gather together. Sometimes we sing it at school. We sing it to show that we care about our country. In the United States, we always stand when we sing or hear the national anthem. If you are playing or talking and you hear this song, you should stop what you are doing and turn to face a flag. You may wish to place your right hand over your heart. You should stand still and look at the flag until the song is over. You should never talk or giggle or fool around during the national anthem.


During the national anthem, you will see men taking off their hats. You may also see soldiers saluting the flag. They salute by bringing their right hand up to their head or the tip of their hat. Also, the flag should never touch the ground. These are all ways of showing respect for the U.S. flag and pride in our country.

You know that “The Star-Spangled Banner” was written by Francis Scott Key. But did you know that it was not always our national anthem? In fact, it took more than one hundred years for it to become our national anthem. When it was first written, “The Star-Spangled Banner” was not a song. It was a poem. A little later, people took the words and set them to music. They sang the words to a tune that was popular at the time. Do you ever change the words to songs you know? That’s what people did with “The Star-Spangled Banner.” They took an old tune and gave it different words. Soon, lots of people were singing “The Star-Spangled Banner.” It was a big hit!


“The Star-Spangled Banner” became a popular national song. People all over the nation liked to sing it. But they also liked to sing lots of other songs, and we still sing some of them today. Do you know “Yankee Doodle?” What about “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee?” Have you ever sung “America, the Beautiful?” These are all patriotic songs that we sing to show how we feel about our country. If you went to a big state dinner at the White House one hundred years ago, the band might have played “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Or it might have played “Yankee Doodle,” or “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee.” At that time, the United States did not have a national anthem. It had a set of national songs. Then, in 1931, Congress made “The Star-Spangled Banner” the national anthem. “The Star-Spangled Banner” is sung to show that we love our country. It is one of the things that unite us as a people. So, when you sing it, sing it with pride!

Core Knowledge (R) Independent Reading 

(Review guidelines for publishing Core Knowledge (R) materials at the bottom of this page-view.) 
The War Of 1812

Lesson 37 – Part Four

NEW WORDS: Payne, Pickersgill’s, Quaker, Quakers, Todd, anchors, battle’s, chiefs, commanders, conceals, conquer, defended, delightful, desolation, dimly, diplomat, diplomats, discloses, disorganized, drape, encouragement, enters, entertaining, entertains, exchanges, fitfully, foe’s, footstep’s, formal, freemen, glossary, halls, havoc, heav’n, hireling, hosted, hostess, impressively, indoor, key’s, lov’d, meets, mentions, missile, mists, morning’s, motto, outgoing, pollution, preserv’d, rampart, ranking, refuge, relating, reposes, ripple, rippling, simpler, streak, trader, upbringing, vauntingly, vict’ry, war’s, wash’d  

Chapter Twelve: Making Sense of the National Anthem
Francis Scott Key wrote “The Star-Spangled Banner” almost two hundred years ago. There are some old words in the poem. Some parts can be hard to understand. Let’s look at the words and try to make sense of them. On the next page is the first verse of the song, the part that we sing before a sporting event. Can you read it two or three times? “O’er” is a short form of the word “over.”

O say can you see by the dawn’s early light

What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?

Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,

O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?

And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,

Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.

O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?


To make sense of the “The Star-Spangled Banner,” it helps to think of what Francis Scott Key was doing the night he wrote it. Key was watching the attack on Fort McHenry. In the poem he describes the attack as a “perilous fight.” That means it was a dangerous battle. During the battle, Key kept his eye on Fort McHenry. In the poem, he mentions the ramparts, or walls, of the fort. But what Key talks about the most is the U.S. flag that he could see flying over the fort. Key says the flag is “spangled,” or dotted, with stars. He also talks about its “broad stripes.” When the wind blows, Key says that these stripes blow back and forth. They look like they are “streaming” or rippling in the air. Have you ever seen a flag look that way?


In the poem, Key describes three different times when he looked for the flag. First, he tells us that he looked for the flag at “the twilight’s last gleaming,” or just as the sun set. Since it was not dark yet, Key could see. He saw that the flag was still flying over the fort. That was good. It means that the troops had not given up. Key tells us that he also looked for the flag at night. You might think he would not be able to see much at night. But Key explains that the “rocket’s red glare” and the “bombs bursting in air” lit up the night sky. These flashes of light helped him see. They gave him “proof” that the flag was still flying. Key looked for the flag again just before dawn. This time he could not see it. Remember, the attack on the fort had stopped just before dawn. There were no more “bombs bursting in air.” There was no more “rocket’s red glare.” It was dark. Was the flag still flying? Had the troops in the fort given up? Or had the British? In the time before the sun rose, Key did not know. At that time, he had a lot of questions, but not a lot of answers.


Look back at the words Key wrote. Do you see the question marks? There are three of them. An important thing to understand about our national anthem is that it starts with a set of questions. In the first lines, Key asks a question: “O say can you see by the dawn’s early light, What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?” Wow! That’s a long sentence. Suppose we broke it up into shorter sentences and used simpler words. Then it might sound like this: “The sun is coming up. Tell me, my friend, can you see the flag? Remember? We saw it last night at sunset. Now the night has passed. Is it still there?”


In the last lines of the song, Key asks another question. He says, “O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave. O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?” The “star-spangled banner” is the American flag. “The land of the free and the home of the brave” is what Key calls his country. It’s another name for the United States. So Key is really asking the same thing he asked before. He is asking, “Is our flag still waving?”

Key asks these questions, but it might seem like he never answers them. In fact, he does. If you ever get a chance to read the rest of the poem, you will see that Key answers his own questions a little later. There is a part later in the poem where he says, “Yes! The flag is still flying! Hooray!” But that is in a part of the poem that we don’t sing very much. Most of the time we only sing the part with the questions. We don’t sing the part with the answers. So, the next time you sing or hear the national anthem, think of Francis Scott Key. Think of him watching the bombs bursting over Fort McHenry. Think of him checking on the flag and wondering if it’s still flying. If you keep your eyes on the flag during the song, you will be doing just what Francis Scott Key was doing that night long ago.


On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep

Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,

What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,

As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?

Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,

In full glory reflected now shines in the stream,

‘Tis the star-spangled banner — O long may it wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,

That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion

A home and a Country should leave us no more?

Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.


No refuge could save the hireling and slave

From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,

And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand

Between their lov’d home and the war’s desolation!

Blest with vict’ry and peace may the heav’n rescued land

Praise the power that hath made and preserv’d us a nation!

Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,

And this be our motto — “In God is our trust,”

And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.


Chapter Thirteen: Dolley Madison
Dolley Payne Madison was the wife of the fourth president of the United States, James Madison. The president’s wife is called the First Lady. Dolley Madison was one of the most famous First Ladies in history. Dolley Madison was born Dolley Payne in 1768. She had four brothers and three sisters. When she was a little girl, she and her family had a very simple life. They belonged to the Quaker church. Quakers believed in living simply. They went to plain meeting halls instead of fancy churches. They ate plain food. Dolley had a strict upbringing. She was not allowed to sit with the boys in church or in school. She was not allowed to dance or play cards.

When she was young, Dolley Payne loved books. She liked going to school. She had lots of friends. She loved the color yellow. She hoped to get a nice yellow dress, but her parents said no. They were Quakers, and they did not believe in fancy dresses. When Dolley Payne was an adult, she married a man named Mr. Todd. They had a little boy. They were married only for a little while. Then Mr. Todd got yellow fever and died. Mrs. Todd was a widow. People told James Madison about Dolley. They said that she was smart and charming. He was eager to meet her. Madison was not president at the time. But he was already an important person. In some ways, James and Dolley were very different. He was quiet and serious. Dolley was outgoing and cheerful. But, after meeting several times, they found that they liked each other very much. Soon James Madison asked Dolley Todd to marry him, and she accepted.


The Madisons were happy together. Dolley was a great help to her husband. When he was president, he had to host fancy state dinners for visitors. Dolley helped him. She was a charming hostess. She welcomed all sorts of visitors to the President’s House. There were diplomats and visitors from distant lands. There were Native American chiefs. Dolley Madison always served her ice cream. At that time, ice cream was something new. Lots of people had never tasted it before. When the British marched into Washington, D.C., during the War of 1812, Dolley Madison was very brave. She stayed in the President’s House as long as she could. Before she left, she grabbed many important papers. She even helped to save a painting of George Washington.

Glossary for The War of 1812

Anthem — an important song.
Army — a group of soldiers trained to fight on land.

Branch — one of three major parts of the government.
British — people who are from Great Britain.

Capitol — the building in Washington, D.C., where Congress meets.
Charge — to rush into (charged).
Charming — pleasing or delightful.
Commander — a high-ranking officer in the military.

Declare war — to officially say that one country will start a war with another country (declaring war).
Defeat — loss, such as in a battle or contest.
Diplomat — a person who represents his or her country (diplomats).
Distant — far away.
Document — an official or important paper.
Drape — curtain (drapes).

Flee — to run away from danger.
Fort — a large building constructed to survive enemy attacks (forts).

Gallantly — impressively.
General — a high-ranking officer in the military.

Hail — to greet or see (hailed).
Harbor — an area of calm, deep water near land, where ships can safely put down their anchors.
Heavy blow — a difficult loss to deal with.
Hickory — a tree with very hard wood.
Hostess — a woman who entertains guests at an event.

Imagine — to think or believe something.
Impressment — the state of being forced to serve in the British Navy (impressed).
Inspired — wanted to do something.

Knotty — having many dark marks on wood where branches once grew.

Mast — the tall pole on a ship to which the sails are attached (masts).
Meeting hall — an indoor space where many people can gather (meeting halls).
Merchant — a person who sells things (merchants).
Monarchy — a government ruled by a king or queen (monarchies).
Mortar — a type of cannon (mortars).
Mouth — the place where a river enters the ocean.

National — relating to a nation or country.
Navy — a group of soldiers trained to fight battles at sea on board ships.
Niece — the daughter of your brother or sister (nieces).

Open fire — to shoot a weapon in order to start a fight or battle (opened fire).
Oppose — to be against something (opposed).
Orphan — a child whose parents are no longer alive.

Panic — to suddenly become very scared (panicked).
Patriotic — having or showing support and love for your country.
Peace — a state of no war or fighting.
Perilous — dangerous.
Pile up — to collect (piled up).
Pitch in — to help with (pitched in).
Plank — a long, thick board (planks).
Port — a place on the water near land, where ships load and unload cargo.
Proof — something showing that something else is true or correct.

Quaker — a person who belonged to the Quaker faith, also known as the “Religious Society of Friends.” During colonial times, Quakers did not wear fancy, colorful clothing. They also did not think it proper to dance or attend parties.

Ragtag — disorganized and made up of many different types.
Rampart — the wall of a fort (ramparts).
Ransacked — searched in order to steal and cause damage.
Rocket — a type of missile (rockets).

Salute — to show respect (saluting).
Soot — the black powder left behind when something burns.
State dinner — a special dinner hosted by the president of the United States for important people (state dinners).
Stitching — sewing (stitched).
Streak — to move quickly (streaking).
String — a series.
Support the troops — to provide encouragement, and sometimes food and supplies, to soldiers.
Supreme Court — the highest court of law in the United States.

Toast — to raise a glass and drink in honor of someone or something (toasted).
Torch — a piece of wood that burns at one end (torches).
Trader — someone who exchanges something to get something in return (traders, traded, trading, trade).
Treaty — a formal agreement between countries.
Trunk — a large box or crate used to carry things.

Upbringing — the way a child is raised.
U.S. Congress — the people elected to make laws for the United States.

Widow — a woman whose husband has passed away.

Subtitles to images:

Christopher Columbus. The United States, Great Britain, and France. Great Britain. United States. France. The Revolutionary War. The Pilgrims. The Founding Fathers. The American Government. The Declaration of Independence. The Constitution. George Washington. John Adams. Thomas Jefferson. James Madison. Where Parliament meets. The British Government. King George III. Colonial farmers. Early Colonial Life. The 13 original colonies. American port. Westward expansion. Modern navy ship. The War of 1812. USS Constitution. American soldiers. Cannon from the 1800s. The President’s House and Capitol in the 1800s. Washington, D.C. The White House and Capitol today. James Madison was the fourth president of the United States. The French were led by a man named Napoleon. The British and the French were at war. British commanders (on the right) look on as men from American ships (left) are “impressed” — forced to serve in the British Navy. King George III. Napoleon. People continued the westward expansion. President Madison and the men in Congress would have to think long and hard about declaring war. Merchants in Boston (shown here) and other eastern cities wanted to avoid a war. War Hawks, like Henry Clay, made angry speeches in Congress. In 1812, the United States was much smaller than it is today. There were far fewer states. Many people who lived in the western states were War Hawks, who wanted to go to war with the British. The British were already fighting France, so they could only send some of their soldiers to fight the Americans. James Madison was an elected president at a time when most countries were ruled by kings and queens. Soldiers in the U.S. Army. American men in the navy during the War of 1812. The USS Constitution. A painting of the Constitutional Convention, where the U.S. Constitution was signed. The USS Constitution is still floating today. You can visit “Old Ironsides” in Boston Harbor. The Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., as it looked in 1810. The President’s House was the home of the U.S. president. Dolley Madison. Dolley Madison helped to save a painting of George Washington. This painting shows the Capitol Building after it was set on fire by the British. The British burned the President’s House. This image shows how the President’s House looked after it was burned. Baltimore was a big city and a key port north of Washington, D.C. Fort McHenry as it looks today. The U.S. flag today. A year earlier, the soldiers at Fort McHenry asked Mary Pickersgill to make a flag to fly over the fort. A flag like Mary Pickersgill’s flag flying at Fort McHenry. This image shows the British firing on Fort McHenry from far away. Francis Scott Key. When the sun rose on Fort McHenry, Francis Scott Key saw that the American flag was still flying. The U.S. flag was still flying at Fort McHenry after the attack on Baltimore. New Orleans. New Orleans is located at the mouth of the Mississippi River. Andrew Jackson. Andrew Jackson on horseback. Andrew Jackson (with the sword) and his soldiers defended New Orleans from attack by the British. The Battle of New Orleans. Andrew Jackson went on to become the seventh president of the United States. His face appears on the twenty-dollar bill. An old poster about “The Star-Spangled Banner.” One way to show respect for the flag is to place your right hand on your heart. This soldier is saluting the American flag. This image shows deaf students singing — and signing — “The Star-Spangled Banner.” It was taken in Ohio around 1920. Until 1931, the United States did not have a national anthem. It had lots of patriotic songs. The first verse of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” When the U.S. flag blows in the wind, its stripes appear to stream and ripple like waves. Key looked for the flag three times — “at the twilight’s last gleaming,” at night, and then “by the dawn’s early light.” The rest of Francis Scott Key’s poem. A Quaker meeting. James Madison. Dolley Madison. Dolley Madison entertaining visitors at the President’s House.






I’ve had a runny nose for days, and I’m tired of it.


This rutty dirt road will knock the tires out of alignment, I expect.


Since I’ve lost lots of weight, all my clothes are now saggy on me.


Please Sis, don’t drag me to some sappy romance movie.


That football jock has come a long way; as a little kid, he was kind of a sissy.


This soft, soddy ground would be good to ride horses on.


Gramps always calls me “sonny boy.”


It’s totally soppy outside, as it’s rained hard for three straight days.


The weather forecast says that it’s going to me mostly sunny today.


That orange tabby over there is our cat.


I like to sleep with my teddy bear.


Teddy Roosevelt was a popular U.S. president.


This percussion instrument has a somewhat tinny sound.


The toddler pulled herself up on her tippy-toes.


Tommy lives a block away from where we live.


I was a tubby little kid, but I had a huge growth spurt when I was twelve.


The two comedians engaged in a witty tete-a-tete.


I wish that our next door neighbor’s yappy dog would shut up!


The band played a zippy punk rock song.




Sorry, I don’t have any one-dollar bills in my wallet.


Drive carefully, because the roads are icy.


My skin really breaks out if I touch poison ivy.


She ably won her tennis match over her opponent.


My body felt achy when I got the flu bug.


A nickname for an “alcoholic” is an “alky.”


They named their new baby girl Annabelle.


A bevy of birds flew over us, heading south.


My grandpa used to call an evil spirit in a horror movie a “bogy.”


If we give our dog a bone, he will bury it in the back yard.


This afternoon, Mom was as busy as a beaver.


My boss is a cagy negotiator.


In this recipe, the bread, when done, has a caky consistency.


The South American cavy is from the rodent family.


The largest city that I’ve ever been to is Dallas, Texas.


Don’t forget to invite Cory to your birthday party.


Mom’s sitting by a cozy fire and reading a mystery novel.


Uncle Davy is allergic to bee stings.


It was dopy of him to lock himself out of his house.


My favorite character in Disney’s “Finding Nemo” is Dory.


I’m still dozy, and I wish I didn’t have to get up to go to school.


After practicing for about a week, I now find riding a bike to be easy.


Monica is edgy, waiting to find out what grade she got on the test.


I envy her long natural blond hair.


I want to warn you that this roast venison might have a gamy taste.


The round goby can displace native fish from prime habitat and spawning areas.


That horror movie was too gory for my tastes.


It is very hazy downtown today.


Holy cow, look at the size of that crocodile sun-bathing on that log!


Holy-moly, did you see that lightning flash!?


Don’t just sit idly by; come help us get this work done.


We’ve got great seats at the track to watch the Indy 500.


How can something as itsybitsy as a chigger make you itch so much?


Joey got a dollar from the tooth fairy.


A very young kangaroo is called a “joey.”


Dad’s in an oddly joky mood tonight.


I want to wear a lacy gown to the prom.


That lady handed the store clerk a hundred dollar bill.


Stop being lazy, and clean up your room!


That country wants to levy a tax on steel imports.


That’s a gorgeous lily in your flower arrangement.


Much of the soil in our area is quite limy.


There are too many gnats buzzing around my head.


These confusing garden paths were intended to be mazy.


Miry unpaved streets in the old wild west were a mess after a rain storm.


Brad was all mopy after he lost his tennis match.


I sent your navy blue blazer to the dry cleaners.


Mrs. Richards down the street is really nosy.


My sister is my only remaining living relative.


Our Christmas tree has a wonderful piny fragrance.


Poor Selena has a grating, pipy voice.


Catch up with the other kids, you poky little puppy!


Marissa, do you want to go on the pony ride at the fair?


A posy is not any particular flower, but refers to a bouquet of flowers.


I hope that this puny little kitten grows up to be big and healthy.


Rolypoly bugs” (also called pillbugs) aren’t insects; they’re crustaceans!








Lesson 38 – 4-Letter Vocab-Builder

NEW WORDS: Alaska, Angelou, Bator, Dipper’s, Erikson, Gobi, Greece, Leif, Magi, Marc, Mongol, Mongolia’s, Neve, Noel, Nome, Orcs, Pele, SARS, Tori, Tory, Ulan, Ursa, Yogi, Yule, alloy, blackened, brooch, cartoons, caves, city’s, coach’s, commons, corals, cowboys, dealer, dewlaps, ferments, firm’s, fizzle, gemstone, gout, gutter, hordes, humps, latrines, lids, lied, lien, lieu, lima, limn, limo, limy, linn, lint, lira, lisp, mach, macs, mags, maim, mako, malt, mans, mansion’s, marl, mart, maul, maxi, medicinal, newt, nibs, nobs, nogg, nogs, noir, noni, nook, nosh, nova, nubs, nude, nuke, nutritious, occurs, onus, onyx, ooze, oozy, opah, opts, opus, oral, orbs, orca, ores, org, oryx, orzo, otic, ouds, parmesan, pasta, pees, pelt, pent, peon, perfumes, perk, perm, perp, pert, peso, pest, pews, pfft, phew, sacs, salon, sane, saps, sari, sass, scam, scow, scry, scud, scut, scuttled, sear, secs, sect, seep, sheared, skeletons, suitcase, taters, tellers, tofu, toga, togs, toil, toke, toll, tome, toon, tope, tort, tout, tows, transports, tuber, ughs, ukes, umps, updo, urbs, urds, urge, uric, urns, user, vacs, vail, vamp, vane, vats, veal, veep, veer, vein, vend, vent, veto, vial, vibe, vied, vies, xyst, yack, yaks, yawl, yuan, yuca, yurt, zany, zaps, zeal, zebu, zest, zinc, ziti

Watch how he vies for power.

The new girl is named Neve.

Spider egg sacs can have 1,000 eggs!

See how that bunny zigs and zags.

I’m tall, so I can peer over the fence.

My cat’s named Toby.

There were loud “ughs” when she cut open the frog.

Soak these lids in the sink.

That jet can go mach-2.

You bear the onus to prove your case.

They ski in Vail, Colorado.

A newt scuttled up the gutter.

A sane person wouldn’t do that!

He’s a zany comic.

I love Yogi Bear cartoons.

My dog pees in our den.

There’s tofu in this Asian dish.

That guitar player owns some ukes and ouds.

Dad, I lied.

Get me two Big Macs.

Onyx is a pretty gemstone.

He’s too vain to wear glasses.


These tools have diamond nibs.

The hot sun saps my energy.

Right here, he zaps the alien with his ray gun.

Fix the yoke to the ox.

Square pegs don’t fit in round holes.

Ancient Romans wore a toga.

Ulan Bator is Mongolia’s capital.

Leif Erikson saw the New World before Columbus.

I love the “Gift of the Magi” story.

The dinner special is blackened opah.

The band will vamp to the tune of Yankee Doodle.

It’s nigh time you got to bed!

There have been no SARS virus cases since 2004.

He campaigns for office with zeal.

I hate runny egg yolk.

Pele was the best soccer player.

I’ve packed my togs in my suitcase.

Baseball umps have gone on strike.

There’s a lien against my house till I pay him back.

Mom, what’s a maxi-dress?

Watch this honey ooze into the tea.

The weather vane is pointed east.

Those nobs were born into wealth.


Hindu women often wear a sari.

Zebu cattle have humps and large dewlaps.

He likes books about cowboys and Indians of yore.

Hail will pelt your car.

After much toil, the latrines were dug.

It’s hard to undo a mistake.

In lieu of a test, you can write a report.

Toss this box of old mags from the attic.

That’s a nice opal brooch!

Vary your diet more.

I love the tune “The First Noel.”

Don’t you sass me!

You can’t divide by zero.

That cat will yowl till we feed him.

He has lots of pent-up energy.

He gave a toke to the card game dealer.

Peace be unto you!

She has a nice lilt to her voice.

That dog would maul and maim my cat.

I hope she opts to go on a date with me.

The beer here ferments in steel vats.

Use this nogg to shave those handles.

Our two saws aren’t sharp anymore.


This recipe calls for lemon zest.

The Chinese Yuan is worth close to 14 cents.

I’m a peon in the firm’s org structure.

There’s a toll to cross this bridge.

Mom, your hair looks good as an updo.

Eat each lima bean on your plate!

Mako” is short for “mackerel shark.”

This book was her grand opus.

This veal parmesan is great.

The nogs I fix contain beaten eggs.

Gran was a victim of a phone scam.

Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc.

The yuca tuber is a nutritious starch.

An office with a view is a job perk here.

Scooby saw a mummy in the tomb.

They moved from the urbs to a rural farm.

A tree limb fell on the roof.

Most beer is made with malt and hops.

Where’s the oral care section in the store?

The Veep says he won’t run for President.

That was a creepy film noir!

That rusty scow transports coal.


Mom’s mac and cheese has ziti pasta.

Gran makes a great Yule log cake.

Mom got a perm at the salon.

She wrote a tome on Ancient Greece.

Urds look like black beans.

Is that limo 20 feet long?!

He mans the tower as the night watch.

This artist makes odd-colored orbs.

Veer from that guy on the bike!

Our ship stopped in Nome, Alaska.

Fortune tellers claim they can scry your future.

A yurt can be put up in two hours.

They caught the perp who robbed the bank.

A toon tree has red leaves.

I urge you to not do that!

Limn to me the story in this picture book.

I’m bad at reading maps.

Orca” sounds nicer than “killer whale.”

We found a vein of gold!

The noni (or nona) fruit is thought to have medicinal value.

Scud across the field and get the soccer ball.

Will he yack all night long?


She’s pert, and has a good sense of humor.

At a party, he’ll tope till he can’t see straight.

Gout occurs due to too much uric acid in the blood.

I can limp off of the field on my own.

Marc was not at school.

The “Orcs” in Lord of the Rings are creepy.

Let’s vend lemonade at the end of the driveway.

I have a favorite nook at the library.

The short tail of a bunny is a “scut.”

There are two yaks at our zoo.

What can I buy with one peso?

Tori will start 10th grade.

Get three coffee urns for this crowd.

Living corals build limy skeletons.

I use a marl-based fertilizer.

They found iron ores in these caves.

Aunt Vera is a nurse.

I’ll nosh on chips during the game.

Seal this envelope.

Mom’s cooking yams.

My brother’s a pest.

The tort lawyer won a big settlement.

Ursa Major has the Big Dipper’s seven stars.


Let’s swim in that linn at the base of the waterfall.

The Pet Mart has some good sales.

There’s an oryx at our city’s zoo.

The President will veto this bill.

Many massive stars will go super-nova.

My first step is to sear the meat.

My cat plays with yarn.

Church pews fill on Easter.

She’s a Tory in the House of Commons.

The dryer vent is stopped-up with lint.

Mash these taters with butter.

I’ll cook orzo, not rice.

Don’t spill this vial of acid!!

Coach’s practice routine wore us all to nubs.

I’ll be there in a couple of secs.

They like to sail on their yawl.

Firecrackers go “pfft,” then fizzle out.

Give me a tour of the complex.

Here are some lira that I got in Italy.

We go to Mass at church on Sundays.

That hearing expert knows all things otic.

That party had a good vibe to it.


I bet a sheared sheep feels nude.

There’s more than one sect in their religion.

They have a xyst on their mansion’s grounds.

Phew, it’s hot out there!

He’ll tout that he has a Ph.D.

She’s a user of fine perfumes.

He speaks with a strong lisp.

Maya Angelou was a great poet.

The alien spit out an oozy liquid.

She vied for his attention.

Nuke this in the microwave.

Let the water seep into the soil slowly.

Mongol hordes crossed the Gobi desert.

My uncle tows broken-down cars.

Lots of water vacs were sold due to the flood.


Lesson 39 – Poems And Rhymes

NEW WORDS: Cossack, Hindustan, Isabel, angleworm, anon, anvil, aspire, blindest, bliss, blundered, bole, boles, breadth, brigade, bulged, candlelight, cavernous, cherubs, childhood’s, clasp, concocter, convenient, coughs, coveted, cured, decree, deeps, delay, depth, disputed, diverged, doctor’s, eternal, exceeding, giant’s, griefs, grieved, grope, gunners, halves, haunted, hence, immortal, impart, inclined, inexplicably, merrily, migration, noble, pathless, pearly, perils, plashless, plover, preserve, punched, purely, quoth, rancor, ravenous, reliant, reverence, saber, sabers, sabring, saints, satchel, scope, seize, seizing, sidewise, sinews, sloth, spake, sparkle, squirming, steered, steersman, stormed, stoutly, straightened, sundered, swinging, symmetry, terrors, thievish, thine, troop, troublesome, tusk, tyger, undaunted, undergrowth, unrolled, volleyed, whence, zwieback

The Adventures Of Isabel
Isabel met an enormous bear.
Isabel, Isabel, didn’t care.
The bear was hungry.
The bear was ravenous.
The bear’s big mouth,
Was cruel and cavernous.
The bear said, “Isabel, glad to meet you.
How do, Isabel? Now I’ll eat you!”
Isabel, Isabel, didn’t worry.
Isabel didn’t scream or scurry.
She washed her hands.
And she straightened her hair up.
Then Isabel quietly ate the bear up.

Once in a night as black as pitch,
Isabel met a wicked old witch.
The witch’s face was cross and wrinkled.
The witch’s gums with teeth were sprinkled.
“Ho, ho, Isabel!” the old witch crowed.
“I’ll turn you into an ugly toad!”
Isabel, Isabel, didn’t worry.
Isabel didn’t scream or scurry.
She showed no rage.
And she showed no rancor.
But she turned the witch,
Into milk and drank her.


Isabel met a hideous giant.
Isabel continued self-reliant.
The giant was hairy. The giant was horrid.
He had one eye in the middle of his forehead.
“Good morning, Isabel,” the giant said.
“I’ll grind your bones to make my bread.”
Isabel, Isabel, didn’t worry.
Isabel didn’t scream or scurry.
She nibbled the zwieback that she always fed off.
And when it was gone,
She cut the giant’s head off.

Isabel met a troublesome doctor.
He punched and he poked till he really shocked her.
The doctor’s talk was of coughs and chills.
And the doctor’s satchel bulged with pills.
The doctor said unto Isabel,
“Swallow this, it will make you well.”
Isabel, Isabel, didn’t worry.
Isabel didn’t scream or scurry.
She took those pills from the pill concocter.
And Isabel calmly cured the doctor.


Poem By Ogden Nash

A Bird Came Down The Walk
A Bird came down the Walk.
He did not know I saw.
He bit an Angleworm in halves,
And ate the fellow, raw.

And then he drank a Dew,
From a convenient Grass.
And then hopped sidewise to the Wall,
To let a Beetle pass.

He glanced with rapid eyes,
That hurried all abroad.
They looked like frightened Beads, I thought.
He stirred his Velvet Head,
Like one in danger, Cautious.
I offered him a Crumb.
And he unrolled his feathers.
And rowed him softer home,
Than Oars divide the Ocean.
Too silver for a seam,
Or Butterflies, off Banks of Noon,
Leap, plashless as they swim.

Poem By Emily Dickinson

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood.
And sorry I could not travel both,
And be one traveler, long I stood.
And looked down one as far as I could.
To where it bent in the undergrowth.

Then took the other, as just as fair.
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear.
Though as for that the passing there,
Had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay,
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh,
Somewhere ages and ages hence.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by.
And that has made all the difference.

Poem By Robert Frost 

The Tyger
Tyger, Tyger, burning bright,
In the forests of the night.
What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies,
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand, dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder, and what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? And what dread feet?

What the hammer? What the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? What dread grasp,
Dare its deadly terrors clasp!

When the stars threw down their spears,
And watered heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger, Tyger burning bright,
In the forests of the night.
What immortal hand or eye,
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

Poem By William Blake    

How Do I Love Thee?
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.

I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.

I love with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose,
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! And, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Poem By Elizabeth Barrett Browning

The Migration of the Grey Squirrels
(Note: a “bole” is “the stem or trunk of a tree.” A “dale” is a “broad valley.” “Anon” means “at once, immediately,” or “in a short time, soon.”)

When in my youth I traveled,
Throughout each north country.
Many a strange thing did I hear,
And many a strange thing to see.

But nothing was there, pleased me more,
Than when, in autumn brown.
I came, in the depths of the pathless woods,
To the grey squirrels’ town.

There were hundreds that in the hollow boles,
Of the old, old trees did dwell.
And laid up store, hard by their door,
Of the sweet mast as it fell.


But soon the hungry wild swine came,
And with thievish snouts dug up.
Their buried treasure, and left them not,
So much as an acorn cup.

Then did they chatter in angry mood,
And one and all decree.
Into the forests of rich stone-pine,
Over hill and dale to flee.

Over hill and dale, over hill and dale,
For many a league they went.
Like a troop of undaunted travelers,
Governed by one consent.

But the hawk and the eagle, and peering owl,
Did dreadfully pursue.
And the further the grey squirrels went,
The more their perils grew.


When lo! to cut off their pilgrimage,
A broad stream lay in view.
But then did each wondrous creature show,
His cunning and bravery.

With a piece of the pine-bark in his mouth,
Unto the stream came he.
And boldly his little bark he launched,
Without the least delay.

His busy tail was his upright sail,
And he merrily steered away.
Never was there a lovelier sight,
Than that grey squirrels’ fleet.

And with anxious eyes I watched to see,
What fortune it would meet.
Soon they had reached the rough mild-stream,
And ever and anon.

I grieved to behold some bark quite wrecked,
And its little steersman gone.
But the main fleet stoutly held across,
I saw them leap to shore.
They entered the woods with a cry of joy,
For their perilous march was o’er.

Poem By William Howitt  

The Blind Men And The Elephant
It was six men of Hindustan,
To learning much inclined.
Who went to see the elephant,
(Though all of them were blind).
That each by observation,
Might satisfy his mind.

The first approached the elephant,
And happening to fall,
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl,
“Bless me, it seems the elephant,
Is very like a wall.”

The second, feeling of his tusk,
Cried, “Ho! What have we here?
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me ’tis mighty clear,
This wonder of an elephant,
Is very like a spear.”

The third approached the animal,
And happening to take,
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Then boldly up and spake.
“I see,” quoth he, “the elephant
Is very like a snake.”


The fourth stretched out his eager hand,
And felt about the knee,
“What most this mighty beast is like,
Is mighty plain,” quoth he.
“‘Tis clear enough the elephant,
Is very like a tree.”

The fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
Said, “Even the blindest man,
Can tell what this resembles most.
Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an elephant,
Is very like a fan.”

The sixth no sooner had begun,
About the beast to grope,
Than, seizing on the swinging tail,
That fell within his scope,
“I see,” cried he, “the elephant,
Is very like a rope.”

And so, these men of Hindustan,
Disputed loud and long,
Each of his own opinion,
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!

Poem By John Godfrey Saxe

Rover From Dover
There once was a plover from Dover.
Whose name, inexplicably, was Rover.
His life had been haunted.
So, more luck, oh, he wanted.
So, he coveted a four-leaf clover!


A Child’s Evening Prayer
Before on my bed my limbs I lay.
God grant me grace, my prayers to say.
Oh God! preserve my mother dear,
In strength and health for many a year.
And, Oh! preserve my father too.
And may I pay him reverence due.
And may I, my best thoughts employ.
To be my parents’ hope and joy.
And Oh! preserve my brothers both,
From evil doings and from sloth.
And may we always love each other,
Our friends, our father, and our mother.
And still, Oh Lord, to me impart,
An innocent and grateful heart.
That after my great sleep I may,
Awake to thy eternal day! Amen.

Poem By Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Where Did You Come From, Baby Dear?
Where did you come from, baby dear?
Out of the everywhere, into here.
Where did you get your eyes so blue?
Out of the sky as I came through.
What makes the light in them sparkle and spin?
Some of the starry spikes, left in.
Where did you get that little tear?
I found it waiting when I got here.
What makes your forehead so smooth and high?
A soft hand stroked it as I went by.
What makes your cheek like a warm white rose?
I saw something better than anyone knows.
that three-cornered smile of bliss?
Three angels gave me at once a kiss.
Where did you get this pearly ear?
God spoke, and it came out to hear.
Where did you get those arms and hands?
Love made itself into hooks and bands.
Feet, whence did you come, you darling things?
From the same box as the cherubs‘ wings.
How did they all just come to be you?
God thought about me, and so I grew.
But how did you come to us, you dear?
God thought about you. And so I am here.

Poem By George Mac Donald

Charge Of The Light Brigade
Half a league, half a league.
Half a league onward.
All in the valley of Death,
Rode the six hundred.
“Forward, the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns!” he said.
Into the valley of Death,
Rode the six hundred. 
“Forward, the Light Brigade!”
Was there a man dismayed?
Not though the soldier knew,
Someone had blundered.
Theirs not to make reply.
Theirs not to reason why.
Theirs but to do and die.
Into the valley of Death,
Rode the six hundred.
Cannon to right of them.
Cannon to left of them.
Cannon in front of them,
Volleyed and thundered.
Stormed at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death.
Into the mouth of Hell,
Rode the six hundred.


Flashed all their sabers bare.
Flashed as they turned in air.
Sabring the gunners there.
Charging an army, while
All the world wondered.
Plunged in the battery-smoke,
Right through the line they broke.
Cossack and Russian,
Reeled from the saber-stroke,
Shattered and sundered.
Then they rode back, but not,
Not the six hundred.
Cannon to right of them.
Cannon to left of them.
Cannon behind them,
Volleyed and thundered.
Stormed at with shot and shell,
While horse and hero fell.
They that had fought so well,
Came through the jaws of Death,
Back from the mouth of Hell.
All that was left of them,
Left of six hundred.
When can their glory fade?
Oh, the wild charge they made!
All the world wondered.
Honor the charge they made!
Honor the Light Brigade,
Noble six hundred!

Poem By Alfred Lord Tennyson





He has a leathery long face and black ropy hair.


That child has a beautiful rosy complexion.


I just got a new Sony mirrorless camera.


When the high tide came in it destroyed my sandcastle.


I’ll have a tiny piece of cake, please.


I’m going to name my pet hedgehog “Toby.”


Tony Bennett is one of Grandma’s favorite jazz singers.


Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in England was a member of the Tory political party.


My golden retriever is typy of a dog of his breed.


Man, that is one ugly bruise that you’ve got!


Dear, here’s a clean undy for you to put on after your shower.


Clark, let’s go upsydaisy and get you into your highchair.


This viny region of France makes great wines.


That brunette has really wavy hair.


There’s a wily fox that keeps on getting into our henhouse!


Get out the tablecloth that has a red winy color to it.


For such a wiry frame, that boy is incredibly strong.


I love the zany antics of the Tom and Jerry cartoons.


I loved taking photos of abbey ruins on our trip in England.


It would not be safe to walk into that dark alley.


We were amply taken care of by the staff on the cruise ship.


I’m angry at the cat for scratching the sofa.


The children were bored and antsy.


Our rough-and-tumble bulldog is aptly named “Butch.”


Let’s stop at Arby’s for lunch.


Our daughter is quite artsy, and she may grow up to be a painter.


Their car was badly damaged in an accident.


The fermenting whisky in the stainless steel tank was all barmy at the top.


The Christmas presents made all the kids smile bigly.


There was an awful bilgy smell on the lowest deck of the ship.


I saw that old bitty down the street spray our cat with a hose when she was in her yard.


My British friend said to me, “Well blimy, I asked Monica out on a date, and she said ‘yes’!”


The golf pro got a bogey on only one hole in today’s round.


That new girl in town is a bonny lass, eh what?


Our next door neighbor has a nice bosky back yard.


I’m going to marinate the turkey in this briny concoction.


Have you ever seen the movie “Bugsy Malone?”


I wonder what could be in that bulgy envelope.


That lumberjack looks like a burly mountain man.


A busby is a military full-dress hat worn by British Guardsmen.


I got lots of candy this Halloween.


My dad reconditioned an iconic Chevy and shows it in antique car shows.


This shirt is too small for me, and it has a choky collar.


We voted for Cissy to be the president of our sorority.


My uncle was a major in the army, but he’s retired and is now a civvy.


Don’t make me get up; I’m all comfy sitting here by the fire.


Our kitty goes crazy when we give her a catnip mouse.


That criminal’s crony ratted on him to get a reduced sentence.


Drive carefully, because this is a dangerously curvy mountain road.


My favorite cartoon character is Daffy Duck.


I take these vitamins on a daily basis.


A daisy or two would look nice in this floral arrangement.


Don’t dillydally, or you’ll miss the school bus.


That’s a dandy idea; let’s do it!


My parents get to go to the Kentucky Derby this year.


This room is too dimly lit for me to be able to read.


The interior of this house is dingy, and it needs a major makeover.


My Gran is a bit ditsy, and she’s always forgetting where she’s put things.


I made up a little ditty, and I’ll sing it to you now.


How about we divvy up these remaining cookies half and half?


Be careful to never open a dodgy looking email attachment; you might get a computer virus!


The cowboy said to the young boy, “Now get along now, little dogey.”


He’s got a fever and a cough, and he’s looking a bit donsy.








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.) 
More Stories And Fables  

Lesson 40 – Part One

NEW WORDS: Madrid, Medio, Peggy, Pollito, abandoned, abides, accrued, acquiesced, additionally, aghast, agreeable, aided, antennae, arises, aspired, atypically, au, avaricious, awakened, backbreaking, balancing, banqueting, begrudge, blunder, bona, bordered, brood, bygone, campers, caregiver, catnapping, cavalier, centered, chary, choked, choking, chowderhead, chucked, circumspect, companionless, composure, congenial, consequential, considerably, contraire, contrived, cookhouse, courtyard, cupola, customary, daydreaming, desirous, devilish, disastrous, discarding, discrepant, dishonesty, distributed, downsides, dubbed, dumbstruck, dutiful, engaged, engrossed, entertained, envious, erelong, escort, exasperated, explicitly, famishing, farm’s, feasting, features, feign, fide, fizzling, foothills, fritter, garner, gleaned, goose’s, gratification, hackneyed, haggle, harebrained, harm’s, hefty, hesitation, hideaway, honestly, hoodwinking, hungered, immobile, impenetrable, imprisoned, indulgent, industrious, infuriated, intentions, intertwined, intractable, investigating, jettisoned, joys, languid, lashing, lectured, likelihood, loiterer, manor, markedly, maturity, menacingly, milkmaid, misspend, momentarily, moneyed, monotonous, mulish, munchkin, murderous, nettled, obligation, oddity, offspring, outlying, outstripped, overcooked, palpitating, paralyzed, peeved, pester, petitioned, pinnacle, pitiable, pleasantly, plucked, plumpest, podgy, poo, prank, pratfall, preference, presupposed, proceeds, proclaimed, proclamation, promptly, proximate, ranted, reality, rebukes, recapitulate, reconsider, recumbent, regained, relinquish, relishing, repartee, retraced, rivulet, roadway, rotating, ruck, runnel, shameful, sightly, singularly, slumbered, smoldering, solitary, splattered, sporadically, sprayed, stickled, streamlet, strutted, stubbornly, supposition, surly, tarried, tended, thereupon, timorously, toiled, tomfoolery, transactions, trusting, tuckered, unalike, unbearable, uncaring, uncivil, undertook, untangled, unyielding, upheld, valued, vantage, verge, villa, waltzed, wayfarers, wearied, whimpered, willful, woolgathering, wreaked, youthful

The Boy Who Cried Wolf
This story arises from bygone days. The likelihood is that it is 1,000s of years old. There was a youthful shepherd boy. He tended a considerably large ruck of sheep each day. He had quite an obligation. He was to keep the sheep out of harm’s way. He would escort them to the outlying foothills. That was at the base of the town’s proximate mountain range. Where they grazed, they bordered a dark, almost impenetrable forest.

This was a solitary job for the lad. Watching the sheep all day was monotonous. And being companionless stole from him the joys of human repartee. No one was near. Sporadically, he could see three farmers. They’d be working in the fields. But that was still fairly distant from him. They were in the valley below.

One day, the boy was engrossed in woolgathering. He entertained himself with devilish thoughts. He contrived a plan. That would help him to get some company. It would be fun, too. He ran down toward the valley. He cried out. “Wolf! Wolf!”


The men outstripped the wind to get to him. But they found that there was no wolf after all. Two farmers retraced their steps. They went back to their fields. One of them remained. He lectured the boy for some time. He ranted on about the downsides of dishonesty. He told the boy that his trick was shameful.

Well, despite the lashing, the boy enjoyed the company. A few days passed. He maintained a cavalier attitude about the farmer’s rebukes. So, he shrugged his shoulders. Then, he said to himself, “Why not?” And he undertook to try the same prank again! The men ran to help him. They’d been tricked again! They were infuriated!

A few more days passed. This time, a REAL wolf came. It snuck out from the forest. It began to steal the sheep. The boy was aghast. His heart was palpitating. He was momentarily paralyzed. He was dumbstruck with fear. Finally, he regained his composure. He sprinted toward the valley. He cried out more loudly than ever. “Wolf! Wolf! I’m not tricking you this time. Honestly! Please! Help!”

But the men didn’t believe him. They’d been fooled twice before. They thought of a famous saying. “Fool me once? Shame on you. Fool me twice? Shame on me!” They presupposed that the boy was hoodwinking them again. So, no one aided the boy. And the result was disastrous. The wolf wreaked major havoc on the flock’s population.

Moral: What if you often don’t tell the truth? Well, people just won’t believe ANYTHING you say! Even when you ARE telling the truth.


The Maid and the Milk Pail
Peggy was a milkmaid. She was going to market. There, she aspired to sell their farm’s fresh, sweet milk. She carried it in a pail. She had learned to carry it by balancing it on her head.

She went along. She began daydreaming. What would she do with the money she’d garner? “I’ll buy the plumpest chickens from Farmer Brown,” she said. “And they’ll lay eggs each morning. Those eggs will hatch. Then, I’ll have more chickens.”


“Then, I’ll engage in more transactions. I’ll sell some of the chickens and eggs. That will get me enough money to buy the blue dress I’ve wanted. And I’ll haggle for some blue ribbon, to match. Oh, I’ll look so sightly! And the fair comes soon. All the boys will want to dance with me. And the girls will be envious.”

“But I don’t care. I’ll toss my head at them, like this!” She tossed back her head. But, oh my! What a pratfall that was! The pail was promptly jettisoned off of her head. The milk splattered over the roadway. So, Peggy had to return home empty-handed. And, she had to timorously recapitulate to her mom what had happened.

“Ah! You’re a chowderhead, child,” said her mom. “Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched.”

Moral: Don’t count your chickens before they hatch. Or don’t count on having everything turn out explicitly as you plan. You may be surprised and upset.


The Goose and the Golden Eggs
Once, a farmer was investigating his goose’s nest. He found an egg there. It was all yellow. And it was shiny. He upheld the egg. Atypically, it was heavy. It weighed as much as a rock! He was on the verge of discarding it. He had a supposition. He thought that someone was engaged in some tomfoolery with him. He thought it was a harebrained prank.

But he had second thoughts. So, he took it home. Thereupon, he gleaned something quite to his gratification. It was made of bonafide gold! He sold it for a consequential sum of money.

Each morn, the goose laid a gold egg. The farmer would sell each egg. Erelong, he became moneyed from the accrued proceeds. But he grew greedy. He wanted more.


“Why should I have to wait to get just one egg a day?” he thought. “I’ll cut open the goose. I’ll take all the eggs out of her at once.”

Well! Guess what? The goose was circumspect. She was chary of trusting humans. So, her antennae were always up. She learned of the farmer’s murderous intentions. That night, she flew the coop. She abandoned her master. She fled to a nearby manor farm. The farmer would not lay eyes on her again!

So, what took place the next morn? The farmer came to the barn. What did he find in the goose’s nest? Nothing, of course!

Moral: He who wants more, often loses all. When you’re desirous of something, be patient. You’d best not be avaricious. You might relinquish all that you have!


The Dog in the Manger
There was once a self-centered dog. He napped on hot days. He slumbered in the cool barn. He had a preference. He liked to sleep in the manger. That was a long wooden box. It’s where hay was distributed for the farm animals to eat.

Let’s turn to a certain hot day. The oxen had toiled long and hard. They’d spent hours pulling the plow. They came back to the barn. They hungered for their dinner. But they couldn’t get to their food! That’s because the dog was recumbent in the manger. He was relishing his daily catnapping. He was on top of the hay.

One of the tuckered-out oxen spoke. “Excuse me. Please move. That way, we can eat our hay.” The uncaring dog was exasperated. He was peeved for being awakened. First, he growled menacingly. Then he barked at the ox.


“Please,” said the wearied, famishing ox. “I’ve had a backbreaking day. I’m starved.” The dog tarried. He stayed stubbornly immobile. Now the ox was nettled. He said, “Look. You’re a surly loiterer! You don’t even EAT hay. You just enjoy it for its comfort. And you won’t let us get to it.” The self-indulgent dog barked. He snarled. He snapped, in response. He stickled with the ox. Then he refused to budge.

At last, they acquiesced to their reality. They left, tired and hungry.

Now, the farmer came in. He had seen how the dog was acting. He got a hose. He turned the water on at full force. He sprayed the dog. He was unyielding. Shortly, the dog whimpered away. The oxen could now return for their meal.

Moral: Do not begrudge others what you cannot enjoy yourself. You should be nice and share. Especially when someone else needs something more than you do.


The Little Half-Chick (Medio Pollito)
Once there was a mother hen. She had a large brood. There were lots of chicks. They were all fine, pleasantly podgy little birds. But the youngest was an oddity. He was unalike his siblings.

He looked as if he had been cut right in half. His siblings had two wings, two legs, and two eyes. In other words, they had customary features for chicks. But the youngest had just one of each. One wing, one leg, and one eye! Additionally, he had just half a head. And he had just half a beak.

His mom looked at him. She shook her head sadly. “Pitiable offspring!” she said. “He’s just a half-chick.”

His mom gave him a name. She dubbed him, “Medio Pollito.” That’s Spanish for “half-chick.” She feared for him. Could he ever take care of himself? She made a decision. She’d keep him at home. Then she could be his caregiver.

But Medio had a discrepant vantage point. He was singularly mulish. He was an independent little munchkin. His siblings were dutiful. They did just what they were told to do. But au contraire with Medio! He was intractable.


His mom would call for him. She’d say, “Come to the chicken house.” He’d go to a favorite hideaway in the cornfield. Sometimes he’d feign that he could not hear her. Maybe she’d think it was because he had just one ear.

He got older. He got even more willful. He would not listen to his mom. And he was often uncivil with his siblings. This was despite the fact that they were always markedly congenial towards him.

One day Medio strutted up to his mom. He made a proclamation. “Life has become hackneyed in this languid barnyard. I’m going to Madrid. I have bold intentions. For instance, I plan to dine with the king.”

“Madrid!?” exclaimed his mom. “Good heavens! That is a long journey. It’s long even for a grown-up. You haven’t reached a stage of maturity where you can go to Madrid. Not just yet! Wait a bit. We’ll get you there when you’re a bit older. We’ll go to the city together. I promise!”


But Medio had made up his mind. He would not reconsider. He ignored his mom and his siblings. They all pleaded with him to stay. But he just proclaimed, “I’ll go to Madrid. I’ll dine with the king. And here’s what I’ll do when I get there. I’ll make my fortune. I’ll live in a fine villa. Perhaps I’ll even invite the rest of you. You can pay me a short visit sometime.” With that, he turned. He hopped off on his one leg.

His mom ran after him. She petitioned him, “Be sure to be kind to each person you meet!” But Medio did not listen. He was in a hurry. As usual, he thought only of himself.

Medio hopped on. He came to a rivulet of water. It was almost choked with weeds. “Oh, Medio,” the runnel called out. “Please help me. Pull some of these weeds. Then I can flow freely!”

“Help you?” exclaimed the half-chick. He tossed his head. He shook the few feathers in his tail. “I don’t have time to waste to do that sort of thing. Help yourself. And don’t pester industrious wayfarers like me. I’m off to Madrid. I’ll be dining with the king.” So, he hopped on.

A bit later, Medio came to an abandoned fire. Some campers had left it smoldering in the woods. “Oh, Medio,” the fire said. “Please toss some sticks on me. Then, I won’t burn out!”


Poo!” said Medio. “I can’t fritter away my valued time to do that sort of thing. I’m off to Madrid. I’ll be banqueting with the king.” He hopped on.

The next morning, he was nearing Madrid. Medio came to a large chestnut tree. The wind had gotten intertwined in it. “Oh, Medio,” said the wind. “Won’t you climb up here? Help me get myself untangled.”

Medio responded with an ugly tone. “It’s your own blunder. You shouldn’t have gone so high up there,” said Medio. “Besides, I can’t misspend my time to do that sort of thing. I’m off to Madrid. I’ll be feasting with the king.” He hopped on.

Medio entered the city. He saw the beautiful royal palace. He was so excited to meet the king. Without hesitation, he hopped right into the courtyard. The king’s cook spotted him. He yelled, “You’ll make an agreeable addition to the king’s dinner.”


The cook plucked up Medio in his hand. He took him back to the cookhouse. He tossed him into a pot of water! Then he set the pot on the stove.

Medio was getting very wet. “Oh! Water!” he cried. “Don’t soak me like this!” But the water replied, “You would not help me when I was a little streamlet choking with weeds. So, why should I help you now?”

Then the fire on the stove began to heat the water. Medio felt very hot. “Oh! Fire!” he cried. “Don’t cook me like this!” But the fire replied, “You would not help me when I was fizzling out. So, why should I help you now?”

The fire got hotter. The heat was unbearable. Medio grew more desperate to escape. Just then, the cook waltzed in. He raised the lid of the pot. He looked to see if the soup was ready.

“What’s this?” cried the cook. “I’ve overcooked the chicken. He is all blackened. He’s burnt to a crisp. I can’t serve this to the king!” The cook grabbed Medio. He chucked him out the window. With a hefty gust, the wind caught him. It carried him so fast that he could hardly breathe.


“Oh! Wind!” Medio cried. “Don’t push me around like this. Please! Set me down!” But the wind replied, “You would not help me when I was imprisoned in the tree. So, why should I help you now?”

The wind then lifted Medio up. Way up into the sky he went! The wind took him to the pinnacle of a building. It left him stuck atop the cupola. And that is where you’ll find Medio Pollito, to this very day.

Go to Madrid. Look for the tallest church. You’ll spy a black weather vane. It’s in the shape of half a chicken. It’s rotating in the wind. That’s Medio Pollito! That’s the chick who would not help others. Now he abides there and helps EVERYONE. He does so by showing them which way the wind is blowing. And, he’s stuck there forever!



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.) 

More Stories And Fables 

Lesson 41 – Part Two

NEW WORDS: Anansi, Anansi’s, Armageddon, Aso, Mmoboro, Nyame, Onini, Osebo, accounts, advised, affixed, ameliorate, angrily, appreciative, assuredly, bestow, bleating, blubbered, brawl, calamity, campfires, carps, cavils, clambered, clamor, clueless, comprehended, conferred, constituted, cooperated, cords, corral, criticizes, dangled, deteriorate, disturbing, elocution, ensnared, entreaty, erudite, evaluated, examined, exerted, exorbitant, expel, fisticuff, flabbergasted, functional, gourd, grouses, hankering, hereby, hollowed, hornet’s, hurtled, inadequate, indigent, intricately, invariably, juncture, knocks, kvetches, laced, listless, loggerheads, ludicrous, lunging, lunkhead, magnificent, mercilessly, mewl, monsoon, mooing, muttering, narratives, necessarily, nitpicks, noontime, overflow, overlaid, oy, parched, pausing, pensively, perturbed, phlegmatic, proven, prowl, python, questioning, rabbi, rabbi’s, revisited, roomy, sanguine, scorched, slithered, snared, sneakily, snippy, solemnly, speechless, squall, storyteller, stowed, strategize, strolling, superlative, surveying, thankfulness, torrid, tranquil, tussle, unendingly, unequivocally, unsalvageable, unsuitable, vey, vigilant, vivacious, wit’s, yawled

The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
A wolf was on the prowl. He roamed around a flock of sheep. This went on night after night. He wanted to eat one of them. But the shepherd and his dogs were vigilant. They invariably chased him away.

But one day, the wolf found something. It was the skin of a sheep. It had been thrown aside. He thought of a way to use it. He pulled the skin over top of him. None of his fur showed under the white fleece. Then he returned to the flock. He strolled among them. The disguise was most effective!

The shepherd was clueless. He thought that the wolf was a sheep. He allowed the wolf to graze. He even let him sleep in the warm barn with the sheep.

This went on for many days and nights. The wolf ate and slept better than he ever had. But one day, his plan turned sour on him! The shepherd had made a decision. He’d head to market. He’d sell one of his flock.

He examined his flock. He chose the biggest, fattest sheep. He brought him to town. Can you guess which sheep it was? It was the wolf! His trick had cost him his life!

Moral: Things aren’t necessarily as they seem. You should not pretend to be what you are not. You might end up losing in the end.


The Fox and the Grapes
It was a torrid summer noontime. A fox was strolling along. His throat was parched. He noticed a bunch of juicy grapes. They were just turning ripe. But they hung on a vine high above. “Mmm! That’s just the thing I need. That would ameliorate my thirst,” he said.

He trotted back a few steps. Then, he hurtled forward. He jumped as high as he could. But he just missed the grapes. He turned around. He exerted himself and tried again. “One! Two! Three! GO!” he yelled. He went lunging at the grapes. He gave it all that he had.

But again, he missed. Again and again, he tried to pluck the grapes from the vine. But at last, he gave up. He walked away. He stuck his nose in the air. He said, “I didn’t want those old grapes anyway. I’m sure they are sour.”

Moral: You shouldn’t speak badly about something that you once had a hankering for, just because you can’t have it.


The Crowded, Noisy House
Once there was an indigent Jewish man. He went to speak with his rabbi. “Rabbi,” the man said. “You must help me. My life is unbearable.”

“I live with my wife, our five children, and my mother-in-law. There is only one room for the eight of us. The children, they cry and fight. My wife, she screams a lot. My mother-in-law, she kvetches about everything. It is crowded, noisy, and horrible, I tell you. Honestly, Rabbi. I don’t think it could be any worse!”

The rabbi rubbed his chin. He evaluated the man’s situation. “My son,” he said. “Please promise to do as I tell you. I know your life will get better. Will you solemnly swear to do this?”

“Yes! Yes!” said the man. “I promise.”

“Tell me,” said the rabbi. “Do you own any animals?”

“Yes,” said the man. “I have a goat.” Then the rabbi cut him off.

“Good!” said the rabbi. “Go home. Take the goat into your house. Let it eat and sleep with you. Do this for a few days.”


The man was flabbergasted. Take the goat into the house? The rabbi’s advice sounded like a ludicrous idea. But everyone knew the rabbi was a wise man. So, the poor man agreed to do what he said. He went home. He led the goat into his house.

Two days passed. The man revisited the rabbi. “Oy vey!” he said. “I did as you advised me to. I brought my goat into the house. But things are worse than before.”

“The children, they squall and brawl. My wife, she nitpicks to no end. My mother-in-law, she grouses mercilessly about everything. The goat, she butts us with her head. She knocks the dishes off the shelves. Help me, Rabbi. It’s so bad that I don’t think things could deteriorate any further! I’m at my wit’s end!”

The rabbi sat pensively for a brief juncture. Then he asked the man a question. “Do you have any other animals?”

“Yes,” said the man. “I have a cow.” Then the rabbi cut him off.

“Good!” said the rabbi. “Go home.” Take the cow into your house. Let it eat and sleep with you. Do this for a few days.”


Again, the man cooperated with the rabbi’s entreaty. He went home. He led the cow into his house. Two days passed. The man went back to see the rabbi.

“Oy vey!” he yawled. “I did as you said. I brought the cow into the house. Things are even worse than before. The children, they mewl and tussle. My wife, she carps 24/7. My mother-in-law, she cavils about everything. The goat, she butts us with her head. She knocks the dishes off the shelves. The cow, she eats our clothing. The house is like a barn! We can’t sleep. There’s all this bleating and mooing! Help me, Rabbi. I fear that our calamity is unsalvageable!”

The rabbi was speechless for a long time. Then he asked a question. “Do you have any other animals?”

“Well,” said the man, pausing. “I have a goose.”

Superlative!” said the rabbi. “Go home. Take the goose into your house. Let it eat and sleep with you.”

Two days passed. The man went back to the rabbi.


“Oy vey!” he blubbered. “Things are worse than ever! The children, they clamor and fisticuff. My wife is unendingly snippy. My mother-in-law, she criticizes us about everything. The goat, she butts us with her head. She knocks the dishes off the shelves. The cow, she eats our clothing. The goose, he honks and poops on the floor. I tell you something, Rabbi. It is unsuitable for a man to eat and sleep with animals. I think that our household is approaching Armageddon!”

“My son,” the rabbi responded with tranquil elocution. “You’re unequivocally right. Go home. Expel the animals from your house. You will find the answer.”

A few days passed. The man saw the rabbi at the market. He ran to him.

“Rabbi!” he cried. His face was beaming. “You have made life sanguine for me. I overflow with thankfulness for your advice. Now, all the animals are outside. Now, the house is so quiet, so roomy, and so clean! How magnificent things are!”


All Stories Are Anansi’s
Long ago, there were no stories on Earth. They all belonged to the sky god. His name was Nyame. He kept the narratives in a box. He stowed the box beneath his throne.

Thus, people had no accounts to share amongst themselves. So, the people of Earth just sat around their campfires. One day, Anansi the Spider was surveying the people from his web. He could see that the people were phlegmatic and listless. He decided he’d bring them something. It would make them more vivacious. It would help them pass the time.

Anansi stretched his eight legs. Then he wove a well-contrived, highly functional web. It reached all the way to the sky. He clambered up the web. He finally arrived at the throne of the sky god. Remember, Nyame was the keeper of all stories.

“Nyame,” he said. “You are the erudite one. You are the great god of the sky. Will you let me have the great box? I mean the one where you keep the stories. I’d like to take the stories to Earth. I’d like to give them to the people there.”


“I’ll bestow to you the box of stories,” said Nyame. He had quite a booming voice. “But the price is exorbitant. Many have tried. And all have failed at what I shall ask of you. You must bring me three things. First, bring me Onini. He’s the great python. He can swallow a goat. Second, bring me Osebo. He’s the mighty leopard. His teeth are as sharp as spears. Third, bring me Mmoboro. He’s the giant hornet. His sting burns like a needle of fire.”

“I will pay the price,” said Anansi.

Anansi swung back down to Earth on his web. He conferred with his wife, Aso. Together, they constituted a plan. They’d first capture Onini. He was the great python who could swallow a goat.

It was the next morning. Anansi sneakily walked into the forest. He was waving a big branch. He was talking to himself. “She’s wrong!” he said. He was pretending to be very perturbed. “I know she is. He’s much longer than this branch.”

Anansi approached the watering hole. A large snake rose up. It was Onini, the great python who can swallow a goat. “What are you muttering about?” asked Onini. “You’re disturbing my nap.”


“I’m at loggerheads with my wife,” said Anansi. “She says that you’re shorter than this branch. But I say you are longer. She won’t listen to me. I don’t see how I can prove that I’m right.”

That’s easy,” said Onini. “Lay your branch on the ground. I’ll lie next to it. Then you shall see that I am longer.” The great snake slithered over. He lay next to Anansi’s branch.

“It looks like you may be longer,” said Anansi. But his voice had a questioning tone to it. “But I can’t tell for sure. It’s because you’re not quite straightened out. Could I straighten you out a bit?”

Assuredly,” said Onini.

“Let me fasten your tail at this end,” said the spider. “That way, I can really straighten you out. And also here a little lower. And here by your head.” The python comprehended too late what Anansi was up to. The spider had spun a web. He’d used it to tie Onini to the branch!

“Now you’re snared!” said Anansi. With that, Anansi carried Onini the python to Nyame.

“That is one thing,” said Nyame in a loud, deep voice. “Two things remain.” Anansi went back to Earth. He began to strategize his next plan. He had to corral Osebo. He was the mighty leopard who had teeth as sharp as spears.


He dug a deep hole. It was on the path that Osebo used the most. He walked on it to get to the watering hole. The spider laid branches across the hole. He overlaid them with sticks, leaves, and dirt. Anansi was satisfied that the hole was well-hidden. He then scurried home. He went to sleep.

Osebo came out to hunt during the night. He fell right into Anansi’s trap. Anansi found him down in the hole the next morning.

“Osebo,” said Anansi. “What are you doing down in that hole?”

“You lunkhead!” said Osebo. “Can’t you see? I’ve fallen into a trap! You must help me get out.”

“I’ll see what I can do,” said the spider. He found a large willow tree. He bent the top of the tree over the pit. He spun two silky cords. He used them to fasten the tree. Then he spun another silky cord. He affixed it to the top of the tree. This third cord dangled down into the pit.

“Tie the cord to your tail,” said Anansi. “Then I’ll lift you up.” Osebo tied the web to his tail.

Anansi cut the cords that were holding the tree down. The tree sprang back to its original position. It was carrying Osebo with it. Osebo dangled from the tree. He was all tangled up in Anansi’s web-work.


“Now you’re ensnared!” said Anansi. He tightly tied the ends of the web. He dragged Osebo the leopard to Nyame.

Now the sky god was impressed. “That is two things,” said Nyame. “Only one thing remains.”

Anansi went back to Earth. Now he had to catch Mmoboro. That was the giant hornet whose sting scorched like a needle of fire. He cut a gourd from a vine. He hollowed out the inside. Then he filled the gourd with water. He went to the nest where Mmoboro the hornet made his home.

Anansi poured some of the water in the gourd over his own head. He looked as though he’d been drenched in a monsoon! Then he dumped the rest of the water on the hornet’s nest. Mmoboro the hornet came out. He was buzzing angrily. He saw Anansi standing nearby. The spider held a leaf over his head.

“Oh, my!” said Anansi. “The rainy season seems to have come early this year. It looks like you have no shelter from the rain. Why don’t you take shelter in my gourd? Just stay there until the rain goes away.”

“Thank you,” said Mmoboro the hornet. He then flew into the gourd.


“You’re welcome!” said Anansi. The spider closed up the opening in the gourd with his leaf. He fastened the leaf with his finest, most intricately laced web yet. “Now you’re caught!” Anansi proudly carried Mmoboro to Nyame.

“That is the last thing,” proclaimed Nyame. “You have succeeded, Anansi. So many before you have proven inadequate to the task. You have paid the price.” 

Then Nyame called out to the people of Earth. His voice was like thunder. “Listen to me! Anansi has paid the price. He has earned the stories of the sky god. I do hereby give the stories to him. From this day forward, all of the stories belong to Anansi. Here’s what you must do when you tell one of these stories. You must acknowledge that it is Anansi’s tale.”

Anansi took the box of stories back to Earth. He shared them with the people. They were appreciative to have the stories. They told them over and over to their children. They were told to their children’s children. They then told them to their own children, and so on. Even to this day, these stories are known as “spider stories.”

What happens at the end of many spider stories? The storyteller often says this. “This is my story, which I have related. If it be sweet, or if it be not sweet, take it elsewhere and let it come back to me.”






Very dryly, she said, “You’re not going to fool me.


The King rewarded his favorite Knight with a Duchy in Devonshire.


She’s such a fuddyduddy that she can’t stand any pet hair on her clothing.


That dummy cat of ours just fell into the toilet while trying to drink water out of it.


The cereal box is empty; do we have a back-up that I can open?


We need a new rug for the entry into the foyer.


That dress is too fancy to wear to a pool party.


My fanny hurts from sitting in the car for so long.


I wish that you could have met my Aunt Fanny; she was such a hoot!


The vet said, “The lesions on your horse’s body and limbs look like farcy, an equine disease.”


The child tried to act feyly after she’d put on her Halloween ghost costume.


My Uncle Knox just turned fifty years old.


The Sergeant showed the new recruits how to fitly make a bed.


Yum, this pastry is so wonderfully flaky.


Although the fire was no longer flamy, there was still some heat coming from the fireplace.


It’s terrible to call an elderly person an “old fogey.”


It was folly to think that this unpopular local politician could get elected to the U.S. Senate.


The new bride gaily walked the reception room to talk to all of the guests.


We were giddy with laughter during the comedian’s monologue.


My Aunt Ginny just got a big promotion at work.


This morning we sang a hymn in church titled “Glory To God.”


My family raised me to try to live as godly a life as possible.


By golly, I think that I FINALLY understand this!


Even though this juice isn’t made from grapes, it has a grapy flavor.


This sausage gravy is delicious.


Dad comes home grimy everyday because he’s an auto mechanic.


A mama guppy gives “live birth” rather than by laying eggs.


Let’s gussy up the ballroom with lights, mirrors, and balloons.


The coach called a gutsy play on 4th-down, and it worked!


A gypsy traveling troupe entered the medieval village.


When my brother came into the room, we all yelled, “happy birthday!”


Prince Harry and his wife Meghan moved from England to California.


The enemy onslaught pushed us into making a hasty retreat.


That box is too heavy for me to pick up by myself.


The countryside we were in had dark rich hedgy flats and copse-checkered slopes.


King Henry the eighth of England had six different wives.


This deli makes the best hoagy that you can buy!


Here it comes; that politician is going to tell another hokey story about his difficult childhood.


I’ve got a nice arrangement of holly to put on the Christmas dinner table.


My friend Holly just opened her own yoga studio.


My favorite thing to put on toast is orange blossom honey.


He has kind of horsy teeth.


It was a hotly contested Senate race, and things got really ugly.


Hurry up, or we’ll miss the bus!


Santa Claus is such a jolly fellow!


My sister Kelly is editor of her high school yearbook.


Don’t shake hands laxly; have a firm grip.


The lowly peasant worked his way up to become one of the Queen’s generals.


It’s obvious that those two are madly in love with each other.


I feel sorry for that limping, mangy dog.


That muscular lumberjack is quite a manly fellow.


The wealthy socialite yelled to her friend, “Oh Prudence, your dress is just marvy!”


Grandma screamed, “Mercy me!” when a mouse ran around the kitchen floor.


Molly and I are going out on a date Saturday night.


All Scrooge thought about was “money, money, and more money.”


I’m going to mosey along to the beach after I finish lunch.


I love the “Fancy Nancy” books because I learn lots of great new words.


I work for the Duke and Duchess as the nanny for their children.


Ouch, that’s a nasty cut on your foot!


You’ve got to be nervy to try to reach the North or the South Pole!


Did you see the newly born calf in our barn?


Charlotte, it was such a nifty idea to join this sorority.


Mom moaned, “I’ve been such a ninny, and I’ve locked the keys in our car.”







Lesson 42 – Prefixes 01 “UN-“

The prefix “UN-” means “not.” Examples: “unfriendly” means “not friendly”; “unsure” means “not sure.” Etc …     

NEW WORDS: Fi, Smiths, arthritic, burping, caboose, cameo, collards, consignment, crime’s, crockpot, docent, dress’s, eyesore, fabric’s, favors, flunkies, frayed, gaffe, garden’s, goals, hamster’s, hemline, incident, issues, kiwis, meat’s, mind’s, mob, morals, mulch, novel’s, number’s, objectives, patients, pear’s, plan’s, puled, railed, regime, resemblance, restock, road’s, scandal, sci, seatbelt, sewage, sheriff, shrink, sky’s, software, sowed, swing’s, tarpaulin, thought’s, trailer, treehouse, unAmerican, unacquainted, unaffected, unafraid, unanswered, unanticipated, unarmed, unashamed, unassigned, unattached, unattractive, unavailable, unaware, unbalanced, unbeaten, unbecoming, unbind, unbitten, unblocked, unbolted, unborn, unbought, unbounded, unbox, unbroken, unbruised, unbrushed, unbuckle, unbuckles, unbuilt, unbundle, unburned, unburnt, unbuttered, unbutton, unbuttoned, unbuttons, uncaged, uncalled, uncanny, unceasing, uncertain, uncertainly, uncertified, unchain, unchanged, uncharged, unchecked, unchewed, unchosen, unchristened, uncleaned, unclear, uncloak, unclothed, unclouded, uncoated, uncocked, uncollected, uncolored, uncombed, uncomplicated, unconfined, unconfirmed, unconnected, unconstitutional, uncontrolled, unconventional, unconvinced, uncooked, uncooperative, uncork, uncounted, uncouple, uncover, uncovering, uncovers, uncracked, uncritical, uncrowded, uncultivated, undecided, undeclared, undecorated, undefeated, undefined, undemocratic, undeserved, undesignated, undesired, undetected, undeveloped, undiscovered, undistorted, undivided, undoes, undrape, undraped, undressed, undressing, unearth, uneducated, unending, unenthusiastic, unethical, uneven, unevenly, unexplained, unexplored, unfaded, unfaithful, unfamiliar, unfasten, unfastened, unfed, unfocused, unfought, unfounded, unfree, unfrozen, ungerminated, ungifted, ungrateful, unground, unguided, unhand, unhappier, unhappily, unhappiness, unhatched, unhealed, unheard, unhitch, unhitched, unholy, unhook, unhooked, unhooks, unhurried, unidentified, unimpaired, unimportant, unimpressed, unimpressive, unimproved, uninformed, uninhabited, uninjured, uninspired, uninstall, unintelligent, unintended, uninterested, uninvolved, unironed, unjammed, unknowing, unlabeled, unlatch, unlevel, unlikely, unlimited, unlisted, unloaded, unloading, unloads, unlock, unlocked, unlocks, unloosens, unloved, unlucky, unmade, unmannerly, unmarried, unmask, unmasks, unmeasured, unmended, unmentioned, unmet, unmoved, unmown, unmute, unnatural, unnaturally, unnecessary, unneeded, unnoticed, unopened, unopposed, unoriginal, unpack, unpacking, unpaid, unpaved, unpeeled, unpinned, unpleased, unplowed, unplug, unpolished, unpopular, unpriced, unprocessed, unpublished, unpunished, unraked, unrated, unreached, unready, unreal, unrealized, unreasonable, unrecognized, unregistered, unreinforced, unrelated, unremarkable, unreported, unrepresented, unresolved, unrestricted, unrewarded, unrinsed, unripe, unroll, unromantic, unsafe, unsaid, unscramble, unscrambled, unscrew, unseal, unseat, unsecured, unseemly, unseen, unselfish, unsent, unsettled, unshaken, unshaved, unsold, unsolved, unsophisticated, unsound, unspoiled, unspoken, unstable, unstained, unstated, unsteadily, unstitched, unstrung, unsung, unsupported, unsure, unswayed, unsweetened, untalented, untamed, untapped, unteach, unteaching, unthread, unthrone, untidy, untitled, untold, untorn, untouched, untoward, untraced, untreated, untrimmed, untruth, untucked, unturned, untwist, untwists, unusually, unveil, unveils, unvexed, unwanted, unwarned, unwary, unwasted, unweeded, unwelcome, unwell, unwise, unworldly, unworn, unwrap, unwrapped, unwritten, unzipped, yard’s 

You’ll have unlimited 24/7 access to the site.

He flew into an unmeasured rage.

We’ve never had a more uncaring boss.

Dad untwists jars that I can’t open.

He unhooked the tractor from the trailer.

Unbind the dog from his leash.

Can you unfasten the back of my dress?

These towels are unused.

His flunkies threw undeserved praise at him.

He’s unlucky in love.

Her visit was unanticipated.

This food product is unprocessed.

My phone number’s unlisted.

That dress is unsuitable for this event.

That scifi movie was unreal!

Unlock the door.

His behavior in front of the Queen was unseemly.

This fabric’s uncoated.

Untamed beasts roam this jungle.

It’s unsafe to swim here.

We’re both “Smiths,” but we’re unrelated.

Their hamster’s uncaged.


The unplowed fields begged for rain.

What an unattractive beard!

That unbalanced jerk should see a shrink.

Your shirt’s untucked.

The cat’s unbrushed fur has mats.

Since you’re unassigned, join the team that you want to be on.

She’s got untapped gifts!

I’m uninterested in that game.

I untangled the Xmas lights.

The judge said, “That’s an unimportant fact.”

Unearth the coffin.

She roamed the museum, unguided by a docent.

I was unfocused during the test.

Though he was uneducated, he rose to the top.

I’m unsuccessful at golf.

We were unready for their team’s trick plays.

It’s an unwritten rule that we don’t do that here!

Unhand me, you brute!

He’s uncertified to practice law.

She unbuttoned her coat.

That clod is ungifted at sports.

It’s an unremarkable book.


Their Xmas tree’s undecorated.

Our plan’s still undefined.

I’m undecided on who I’ll vote for.

That case is still uncracked.

Gran’s been unwell for 2 weeks.

Sis is being uncooperative!

What uninspired acting!

Hand me that uncolored egg.

She came back from the beach unburned.

This film is unrated.

I love these unspoiled woods.

She was unaffected by the virus.

She unfolded the clothes.

This drug has undesired side effects.

Uncork this wine bottle.

What we all knew went unsaid.

Unbutton your shirt.

Much is undiscovered in our deep oceans.

Undrape the window.

Throw out those unmended socks.

Where are my unfaded jeans?

I’m unpleased with your work!


Doc will unthread these stitches.

The door’s unlocked.

She held her cup of tea unsteadily.

That crime’s unsolved.

All food goes unwasted in our house.

You ungrateful brat!

The magician undraped the box.

Dad’s unpacking the car.

Get unground, whole-bean coffee.

That couple is unmarried.

She’ll run to unseat the Senator.

Unhurried, he cleaned the room.

Till now, that thought’s been unexplored.

Unroll your sleeping bag.

Stay healthy for your unborn child.

I’m uncertain what you mean.

He seems unshaken by the wreck.

The sky’s unclouded!

Their parrot is unconfined in their sun room.

He swallows his food unchewed!

He climbed from the wreckage uninjured.

The cop let him go, uncharged.


What they tried to do had unintended results.

Their garden’s unweeded.

Even with new facts, my mind’s unchanged.

This sewage is untreated.

It’s uncomplicated to set this up.

That crook seems unbounded by morals.

Unteach my golf swing’s bad habits!

They unhitched their wagons.

You can’t undo a dumb sent email!

He talked for an hour, uninterrupted.

Let’s fix these unresolved issues.

That act was unethical.

He snuck into the party unrecognized.

Is it unnatural for dogs to like cats?

Any more clean-up is unnecessary.

People in that country are unfree.

He felt unloved by his dad.

Her hard work went unrewarded.

Ives wrote music called “The Unanswered Question.”

The road’s uneven here.

Perfect grilling dad, the meat’s unburnt!

Her hair was frayed and untrimmed.


Unscrew the light bulb.

Why’s the trash still uncollected?

I’ve got unrestricted access to the lab.

His teeth looked unnaturally white.

Unchain the prisoner.

Which key unlocks the front door?

This land is as yet uncultivated.

In this scene, he unmasks Spider-Man.

Unseal the tomb!

His biggest hopes went unrealized.

This pear’s unripe.

Unscramble their secret code.

Our voices are unrepresented!

They had an unspoken agreement.

I’m unacquainted with her books.

Their country is undemocratic.

I was uninformed about the facts.

His untruth swayed the crowd.

I must unpack my suitcase.

Watch how she unbuckles this seat belt.

This jar is unopened.

The cop was off duty, thus unarmed.


My novel’s still untitled.

Why are these items still unpriced?

That’s an unfounded rumor!

The troops were unreinforced.

She gave me the most unwanted chore.

They were forced to work, unpaid.

The trip was easy, unimpaired by storms.

He’s the most unpopular kid at school.

These mountains are uninhabited.

He’s unaware that he has bad breath.

After 90 days, your work is unimproved.

I’ll now unveil the plan.

He unloads the mulch using that truck.

I grew tired of her unending sob story.

I undressed and put on my PJs.

That phone call went untraced.

We must uncover who robbed the bank.

Your bad tennis serve needs unteaching.

That’s the undistorted truth!

He’s an unsung hero!

What an uncanny resemblance!

We’ve unscrambled their code!


That was an unneeded comment.

The crimes were unconnected.

Uncloak the space ship.

I’m unsure what you mean.

The unbroken silence was tense.

We have 10 more unpeeled kiwis.

They were unwarned about the coming attack.

I’m unconvinced that he can change.

His death is unconfirmed.

Why’s this gun lying around unsecured?!

Don’t cut down any undesignated trees.

She seemed untroubled by her gaffe.

He’s untalented at singing.

I hope she unveils our new boss to us today.

You seem unusually quiet tonight.

Their team’s still undefeated.

I was unmoved by his speech.

What an unintelligent comment!

She just turned five, but is still unchristened.

Watch how he unhooks the two rail cars.

Unmute your phone.

Burping on a date is unromantic!


What an untidy house!

They’re unloading the moving van.

Unhitch the wagons!

These are unevenly divided.

I was unimpressed with his magic trick.

I took some unsound advice.

Are the pets still unfed?

That good-looking guy is unattached.

These collards are unwashed.

I’d like unsweetened tea.

He was in an untoward car accident.

Uninstall this software.

He was an unknowing victim of a phone scam.

I’ve unjammed the printer.

The preacher railed against the unfaithful.

The diner was uncrowded.

I’m unfamiliar with that author.

The child was unseen and unheard, hidden in the closet.

The mom was unvexed by her baby’s crying.

Leave my toast unbuttered.


Mom’s undressing to take a bath.

They unhatched the cargo door.

This silver is unpolished.

I can’t unhook this necklace.

Dad unfastened his seatbelt.

Our car was undamaged by the hail storm.

Politics go unmentioned at our dinner table.

Is the steak unfrozen yet?

They unwrapped their gifts.

That’s an undeveloped nation.

They calmed down; thus, a battle went unfought.

I’ve unloaded the van.

I’ve stayed untouched by the flu bug.

That’s an unoriginal story.

I’m unsophisticated about fancy wines.

The accident went unreported.

Class, I need your undivided attention.

Unlatch the gate.

I’ve unturned the bedsheets.

Her college major is still undeclared.

My risky email is still unsent.

He’s unharmed from his minor car wreck.


It’s unlikely I can make your party.

Their unmown yard’s an eyesore.

Their team went unbeaten this season.

He puled about his unhappiness.

The dishes are uncleaned.

I was uninvolved with that incident.

Give the unsold food to the food pantry.

I saw a horror movie about unholy spirits.

This road’s unpaved.

That was unselfish to offer me some of your candy.

They’ve unveiled the President’s portrait.

Their regime is unstable.

I’m unafraid of that barking dog.

The sheriff uncocked his gun.

Unmask the superhero!

I was treated unfairly.

Unbox these used books.

I have too many unreached goals.

Unwrap this present.

She’s unwary that she’s being followed.

Restock these unbought items.

Unbuckle your seat belt.

He flew into an uncontrolled rage.


I’ve unrolled the tarpaulin.

Her thoughts went unstated.

My scab is unhealed.

We’re uncovering details of the crime.

Look at my pitiful uncombed hair!

If you’re unregistered for the trade show, go to that table.

My dress’s hemline has become unstitched.

I’ll put this unworn dress on consignment.

The bed’s unmade.

She slipped into the back of the class unnoticed.

She unpinned her cameo from her blouse.

His hands are arthritic, and he unbuttons things with difficulty.

I’m unenthusiastic about this book.

He’s charged with unconstitutional acts.

It’s unAmerican to not like hot dogs.

I was unprepared for the pop quiz.

She’s running for office unopposed.

Unbundle this pack of clean laundry.

I can’t untwist the top of this jar.

Shaggy walked into the haunted house uncertainly.

His speech was unimpressive.

They were attacked by an unworldly creature.

The lock is now unbolted.


Their tiff remains unsettled.

What’s in these unlabeled boxes?

I got back from the cave unbitten by bats.

He was mostly unclothed, waiting for the doc to come in.

He came to work unshaved.

My dad knows an untold number of jokes.

He makes unconventional chess moves.

Her behavior is unbecoming of a lady.

Unhappily, they got a divorce.

That comment was uncalled for!

That’s an unreasonable request.

My objectives are still unmet.

An unwelcome guest showed up.

Uncouple the caboose from this line of rail cars.

His odd actions remain unexplained.

The author left us one unpublished work.

They planted a bug in his room, undetected.

The seeds we sowed are still ungerminated.

What an unmannerly brat!

This table is unlevel.

I’m sick of her unceasing whining.

I’m unclear about what you mean.


I meant to be uncritical of him.

The angry mob roamed the streets unchecked.

That is unsupported by research.

These party favors were unchosen.

Toss me that untorn rag.

His crime won’t go unpunished.

I’m unbruised from the car crash.

Those dishes are unrinsed.

I hope she uncovers the truth about this event.

He became unstrung during the raging storm.

It’s unwise to do that!

These pennies are uncounted.

I’ve never felt unhappier.

I hope he undoes his mistake.


The boss is unavailable until 1:00.

Your pants are unzipped.

I’m unashamed about what I said.

We must unthrone the King!

This meat is uncooked.

This judge is unstained by scandal.

I have three unironed shirts left.

The doc examined patients, unprotected by a mask.

The victim is still unidentified.

We have the 2-by-4s, but the treehouse is still unbuilt.

Their unraked lawn looks awful.

Unplug the crockpot.

The road’s now unblocked.

I bet he unloosens his belt after that meal.

I was unswayed by her argument.

Beatrix Potter

The Roly-Poly Pudding

Lesson 43 – Part One

NEW WORDS: Foxx, Giles, Hutt, Jabba, Jove, Kleenex, Riggs, Tish’s, abide, abundant, adored, aftermath, aging, alcove, amend, analogy, antique, apropos, bathrooms, batty, beamed, beasties, blazer, cabinets, cadge, careened, catamount, cess, chambers, choky, churl, clamber, clangor, concerns, corpulent, crackle, craft, cubbyhole, dawdle, decrepit, dingy, displaced, distraught, empathetic, emphatic, ensconce, exchanged, existed, expansive, fetid, finetooth, foothold, footing, forthwith, fragrance, frazzle, gargantuan, glean, gravitated, grimalkin, grisly, grossly, gruffly, hacked, harrumphed, hateful, hillock, hogwash, hokem, humbug, imperative, impish, imprison, impudent, infestation, inspected, intrusion, investigated, jailhouse, jarring, jitters, jugs, ledge, liable, locking, marshmallow, meandered, menace, menagerie, mewed, mews, mildew, misery, misfortune, mold, moseyed, mysteries, nauseous, oblong, obscure, obsessed, obstinate, overlooked, oversight, peaked, peewee, pernicious, plethora, plummet, plundered, prod, prowled, psyche, puckish, quizzed, ratfink, readying, recommenced, redolent, reeked, reprove, resembled, retched, rodents, ruined, ruinous, rummaged, salutations, scoured, shingles, sideslip, singe, situated, skedaddled, smuggled, snooped, sparrows, spied, staircases, stammered, stench, sternly, tangibly, tarnation, taunted, tawny, timey, tottered, townsfolk, tracked, traversed, treatment, truant, twitch, uncontrollably, uneasy, unhealthily, unruly, utensil, veered, venue, vile, virtually, volcano, wayward, where’ve, whomp, wisp, wrested, wringing, yeast

It was once upon a time. There was an aging cat. The townsfolk called her a grimalkin. She was Mrs. Tish Twitch. She was a high-strung parent. Her kittens frequently veered astray. They were unruly. They were obstinate. They engaged in too much horseplay. They got into scads of trouble! What would they do next? She never knew. So unpredictable! They were fine one minute. They were disobedient the next! She could not trust her offspring. What could she do? 

It was Tish’s day to bake. She’d craft bread, cookies, and cake. She’d lock up her kittens! Then she would not fret. They’d be confined to the cupboard. Wasn’t this mean of her? Perhaps even cruel? Maybe! But the kids did this to themselves! They got what they deserved. They should amend their behavior. Then there’d be no need for this rough treatment.

She tracked their whereabouts. She caught Moppet. Then Mittens. But she could not espy Tom. He was truant. He’d gone AWOL. Where was he? Tish went up and down. She snooped all over. She searched the house with a finetooth comb. She mewed for Tom. “Where are you? Where could you be? Come out! Come out, wherever you are!”


She inspected all the rooms. She rummaged through the closets. She checked under the staircase. She searched the basement. She combed the attic. She prowled around the tool shed. But no Tom! She could not identify his location. She was distraught. She was distressed.

It was a decayed house. It was in need of abundant repairs. There were lots of dank halls. There was lots of mold and mildew. There were plentiful places to hide. The walls were four feet thick. There were noises in the walls. Were there secret chambers inside them? Maybe sequestered staircases? There were wee doors in the woodwork. Cheese and bacon disappeared at night! Were there ghosts? Were there grisly spirits? Were they being spied upon?

Tish got more upset. Her mews morphed into wails. But did Moppet and Mittens care? Nope! Not a bit. They left their mom to her pursuit. Then THEY became impish!

Tish had overlooked locking the cupboard door. That was unlike her. It was a hapless oversight. The kids could prod it open. They unfastened it. They exited their jailhouse. They knew it was mom’s day to bake. They smelled yeast. It was redolent to their nostrils. They adored its fragrance. It made their mouths water. They saw dough rising. It was in a pan. The utensil was in front of the fire.


The dough was all puffy. It was like an enlarged marshmallow. They patted it. They had soft, fluffy paws. Mittens asked this. “Shall we make muffins?” But just then, they had a scare. There was a door-knock. Moppet hurtled into the flour sack! Mittens skedaddled to the dairy. She concealed herself in a jar. It was on a stone shelf. It was next to the milk jugs.

Who’d knocked? It was Mrs. Riggs. She’d moseyed on over to cadge some eggs. Tish gravitated down the stairs. She was in a tizzy about Tom. “Salutations, Cousin. Come in,” she mewed. “Sit down. It’s a mess here.” She sobbed big tears. “I can’t find Tom. What if the rats got him?” She wiped her eyes with a Kleenex. She was tangibly flustered.

Riggs was empathetic. But she was also emphatic. “Tish! He’s a wayward lad. He was puckish when I last saw him. Do you remember? I had come to tea. He ruined my best hat. Such an impudent child. But we’ll deal with that later. So, Tish. Where’ve you looked for him?”


Tish sighed. “I’ve traversed each alcove in the house! And at each place, there existed a stark reminder for me. There are just too many rats here. Look at me. I have kids who get in trouble. And I have rats. Rats, rats, and more rats! My house is virtually a menagerie of rats. Those rodents drive me batty! They tug at my psyche. They’re loathsome! They’re unsavory beasties. I can’t keep up! There’s no way! I’m a hot mess!”

Riggs said, “I don’t get jitters from rats. I’ll help you. We’ll stumble upon Tom. Then we’ll reprove him!” Then she glanced across the room. “Oh, my! What’s all that soot? There’s a heap at the fireplace. It’s like the aftermath of a volcano. It’s a hillock of ashes.”

“That’s an apropos analogy. Yes, indeed! The chimney desperately needs an arrant sweep.” Tish then looked in the kitchen. “Oh, dear! Riggs! Just look! More news to add to my misery. Moppet and Mittens are gone! They’ve escaped the cupboard! The jailbirds have fled their coop.”


Riggs and Tish hunkered down. They got to work. They scoured the house afresh. They revisited every room. They foraged under beds. They scanned the cabinets. They ransacked the clothes chests. They looked in bedrooms. They peaked in bathrooms. They investigated the library. They roamed through the dining room. They’d left no stone unturned! But no luck! Just misfortune. The kittens were gone! They were invisible.

They heard a whomp. It was jarring. Then something careened down the stairs. Poor Tish had tears in her eyes. She was obsessed with her rat infestation. “My, oh, my! We have a plethora of rats. I caught six young ones three days past. They were in a hole. It was in the back kitchen. We feasted on them for dinner.”

“Once, I saw the old father rat. He was colossal! I lunged at him. He hissed. The hateful churl taunted me. He had sharp, tawny teeth. They had ample decay. It was disgusting. What a vile creature! And, oh, his noxious breath! He smelled like a sewer. He had the odor of a cess pool. I gagged uncontrollably. I almost fainted. I thought I’d die. But, whew! Then he whisked down the hole. I regained my composure. Humbug! Rats! They frazzle my nerves.”


Riggs and Tish kept at it. They heard something. A “roly-poly” noise. It was under the attic floor. But they could not see a thing.

They returned to the kitchen. “AHA! By Jove! Here’s one of ’em!” cried Riggs. She wrested Moppet from the flour sack. She looked like a snow catamount. They shook the flour off of her. It made the room dusty. Tish hacked. She coughed up a hairball.

They situated Moppet on the floor. Tish and Riggs looked sternly at her. She was fearful. “Oh! Mom! There’s been an old woman rat here,” stammered Moppet. “She stole some dough!”

The two adult cats ran. They studied the dough pan. There were signs of intrusion. They saw scratching finger marks. And a lump of dough was gone! “Which way? Where did she go? We’ll smoke her out.”

Moppet did not know. She’d been too scared to peep out of the sack. Riggs and Tish took her with them. Now she’d be safe. She’d be in sight. They recommenced with their search.


First, to the dairy. They found Mittens, forthwith! She’d hidden in an empty jar. They tipped it over. She fell out. She tottered to her feet. “Oh! Mom!” puled Mittens. I spied an old man rat here. He’s gargantuan! He’s dreadful! He’s hideous. He’s grossly rotund. He’s unhealthily corpulent. He resembled Jabba the Hutt.”

Riggs quizzed her. “Who in tarnation is that?”

Mittens rolled her eyes. “You know! From Star Wars.”

Riggs harrumphed. She gruffly replied, “Oh! Your science fiction hogwash. It’s all hokem, if you asked me. Can’t abide the stuff. Anyway, what did the ratfink do?”

She said, “He plundered some butter. A mighty chunk of it! Then he smuggled away the rolling pin. He reeked of a most fetid stench! He smelled like manure. It made me nauseous. I almost retched.”

Riggs and Tish exchanged looks. “Hmm! Rolling pin. Butter! My poor Tom!” yelled mama Twitch. A pernicious sense of doom came over her. She was wringing her paws. She was shaking her head. She was pulling her hair. She was biting her claws. She was beside herself.


“HMM! A rolling pin, eh?” said Riggs. “I smell a rat. No pun intended. What did we just hear? It was a roly-poly noise! It was in the attic. It’s when we looked in that chest.”

They made haste. They bolted out of the room. They rushed upstairs. They heard the roly-poly clangor! It was as clear as a bell! They knew exactly where it came from. It was under the attic floor. “This is a big deal, Tish,” said Riggs. “It’s a huge red alert. There’s a menace in this house. No question about it. Send for Giles Foxx! NOW! We can’t tarry! We can’t dawdle! He must bring a saw. That’s imperative.”

Now, we transfer ourselves to a new scene in our story. Here is Tom’s tale. We need to glean his perspective. It will explain some mysteries that we’ve mentioned up to now. What had Tom been up to?

I’m uneasy about telling you this. But poor Tom! He had displayed a perilous lack of wisdom. It’s unwise to ascend the insides of a chimney. It’s worse if it’s in a decrepit house! And their house was just such a beat-up antique. One must be cautious in such a chimney. You can’t find your way. And menacing rats are liable to be there!


But you know Tom. He did not want to be shut up. Not in a cupboard! He saw his mom readying to bake. He knew what she’d do. She’d lock him up! She’d imprison him. So, he looked for a new venue. He would ensconce himself there.

Such a cubbyhole should be convenient. But it should be an obscure location. You know. Hard to find. He thought of an exemplary hideaway. “Why not the chimney?” The fire had just been lit. It was not hot yet. There was just a white choky smoke. It was just a wisp. It was from the green sticks. Tom got on the fireplace’s metal guard. That’s called a “fender.”


He looked up. It was an old-fashioned fireplace. The chimney was expansive. A man could stand up in it. And one could walk in it. There was lots of room. Even more room for a peewee Tom Cat. He vaulted into the fireplace. He balanced on the iron bar. That’s where the kettle hangs. Tom took a second leap off the bar. He had strong hind legs. He descended upon a ledge. It was high up in the chimney. He displaced some soot. It floated down like dingy snowflakes. It meandered onto the fender.

Tom coughed. The smoke choked him. He heard the sticks. They’d begun to crackle and burn. He considered what he’d do next. He’d clamber to the top. He’d get on the slate roof shingles. He’d find a good foothold. He’d watch for birds. He’d catch sparrows.

But he had some concerns. He talked to himself. “I can’t go back. What if I lose my footing? What if I sideslip? I might plummet into the fire. I’d singe my gorgeous tail. It would be ruinous to my cyan blazer.”

That old-timey chimney was cavernous. It was from the old days. That’s when folks burnt logs of wood on the hearth. The chimney stack stood up above the roof. It was like a dwarf-sized stone tower. The oblong shingles kept out the rain. The daylight shone down from the top. The light beamed under the slanting shingles.







We’re invited to quite a nobby party this weekend.


Nobly, the King led his soldiers into battle.


I’m not nutsy, and there’s no way I’m diving into the water from this high cliff!


Oddly, I agree with the other political party on this issue.


I’m going to add this pansy to the flower arrangement.


A neighbor of mine calls his dad “Pappy.”


This pasty mix is going to turn into slime for the kids to play with.


Those criminals were skilled at finding a patsy to swindle.


My friend Patsy has applied to three colleges.


Those pesky bugs are driving me crazy, flying up my nostrils and biting me.


I love the Gershwin opera “Porgy and Bess.”


That restaurant is too pricy for my wallet.


There’s a big announcement at work today, but I’m not privy to what it’s all about.


Beverly made me a proxy to vote in her behalf at the Homeowner Association meeting.


That pudgy (also “podgy“) kid can run faster than you’d think he could.


My favorite animal at the zoo is the pygmy (also “pigmy“) hippo.


The cheerleaders led us in a spirited pep rally today.


That old sailor has quite a ruddy complexion.


Rugby is certainly not a sport for sissies!


Sadly, I can’t make it to your wedding.


Charlie Brown’s younger sister is named “Sally.”


The Colonel yelled to his scouts, “Sally forth and find out the enemy’s whereabouts.


Our new boss is really savvy with her social skills.


With scaly skin like that, this must be a reptile of some sort.


Let’s find a shady spot to set up our picnic.


I’m a little dizzy with this flu bug, so I’m shaky on my feet.


How did you get your shoes to be so shiny?


Shyly, the little girl came to the front of the class to present her show-and-tell.


I counted sixty people attending church this morning.


How old are these leftovers; they’ve gotten slimy!


Slyly, the boy snuck into the kitchen and snacked on a cookie.


This barbecue has a wonderfully smoky flavor.


The road became snaky as we headed up the steep mountainside.


My shoes and socks are soggy from running through puddles.


I’m sorry that I forgot your birthday.


I slept poorly last night, so I’m a bit spacy today.


This curry is way too spicy for my tastes.


That guy with the spiky hair makes me nervous.


You can cut yourself on that spiny plant.


This stony beach is tough on my bare feet.


Mommy, tell me a bedtime story tonight.


Our team must stymy the other team’s offense and keep them from scoring.


Get the soap and water all sudsy for us to wash the car with.


You will completely sully your reputation if you approve that unethical plan.


That man always has a surly attitude, when he ought to be counting his many blessings.


My favorite candy is salt water taffy.


It’s time to tally up the points in our card game.


Tammy has invited me to her house for a sleepover.


If we don’t get moving, you’re going to be tardy for school.


This is a really tasty steak.


When someone drinks too much alcohol, they might be described as “tipsy.”


Mom’s all in a tizzy because we’ve left muddy footprints on the floor.


She is a truly amazing piano player for her age.


Mom, my tummy hurts!


The legs on these wooden deck chairs are twiny.


Vichy France was a part of their country that cooperated with the Germans during World War II.


That’s kind of a wacky idea, but let’s try it!


He was looking wanly, but he refused to cease his hunger strike.


Weary from a hard day of harvesting crops, the farmer went straight to bed.


The sculptor’s art often has a wedgy shape.


The car shined wetly upon coming out of the carwash.


That tired, hungry child has become very whiny.


Don’t worry; we’ll be home in time for dinner.


The comedienne wryly delivered her sarcastic jokes to an appreciative audience.








Beatrix Potter

The Roly-Poly Pudding

Lesson 44 – Part Two

NEW WORDS: Bain, Hobbes, Holmes, Houdini, Hyde, Jekyll, Krakatoa, Marie, Pickens, Samuel, Sherlock, Twitch’s, Vesuvius, advertising, agape, allergic, amateur, antagonist, appetizing, arachnid, artistic, arugula, ascot, asparagus, avail, baffled, balderdash, baubles, befuddled, bellyache, bestial, blithely, blubber, bluebottle, boohoo, breadcrumbs, brewer’s, brutish, buckteeth, budged, bulbous, bulging, carping, cascaded, chintzy, claustrophobic, cleansed, coils, compartment, complement, confinement, conscience, consequence, contracted, cooperative, coops, cranny, critically, dauphine, decorators, demon, dilled, disarranging, disarray, discharge, distracted, dozens, driblet, dual, durst, emerged, employment, enfolded, enraged, entree, fee, felines, festooned, figment, filch, flavor, floundered, forenoon, frenzied, fruitless, fusty, futures, gamey, garishly, gaudy, gawking, gazillions, getaway, gewgaw, gimlet, gnawing, gorge, gormless, grimaced, grimy, gristle, grumbled, grunted, harpy, hauling, haymow, heights, heinous, hightail, hourglass, hovel, hovered, howdy, indigestible, inhaled, inmate, interstice, invaded, irritated, jowls, junky, keister, kitsch, knots, lath, locale, loosened, lowlife, manhandled, masterful, mincemeat, mocked, moisten, molten, motley, mulling, mumsy, mysterious, nebula, neutral, niggling, nonsense, noticeable, offensive, outfitted, overbite, pangs, panted, parcels, partners, pattering, persuaded, phobia, pierced, pilfer, plaintive, plumes, prevarication, primary, prolonged, properly, protagonists, pungent, pustule, quarters, quivered, rafter, rafters, random, rasping, rathole, raucous, regretted, relatives, remorse, sawing, secluded, separately, serpent, shadowy, sinister, skirting, skull, smog, smut, smuts, snivel, sociopath, somersaulted, speedy, spewed, splayed, stashed, strident, stuttered, subsequent, substantial, sup, surroundings, swarthy, tasteless, thieves, tiptoed, tones, toppled, torso, township, tramped, transformed, trifles, trinkets, trundling, tumultuous, unclean, uncomfortably, unsightly, venomously, vertigo, vinaigrette, visage, wainscot, walkway, warfare, whacked, whimper, whiner, wickedness, wizened, writhed, yammered

Tom was now goosepimply! He was afraid of great heights. So, he had vertigo. He tiptoed up, and up. He had to wade sideways. He trudged through mounds of soot. He was like a chimney sweep, himself. And he looked the part. His fur was becoming blacker by the minute. He’d transformed into a swarthy-looking cat. He resembled a black panther now. He was terribly unclean.

It was confusing in the dark. One flue led to another. Where was he? Where was he headed? There was less smoke now. But Tom felt baffled. He was befuddled. He was all aflutter. His nerves were frayed.

He scrambled up. The top was still a ways away. But he came to an odd place. There was a loosened stone. It was in the wall. He whacked at it. It budged. He nudged it till it fell out. There was an opening there.

Oddly, mutton bones were scattered about. “Strange,” said Tom. “Who’s been gnawing bones way up here? I wish I’d never come! Dumb and dumber. I’m so gormless. I’m such an idiot! And what a putrid smell! It’s something like ‘mouse.’ But not quite. It’s dreadfully pungent. It makes me sneeze. ACHOO!”


He squeezed through the hole. He dragged himself along. He was in an uncomfortably tight passage. He had to slither like a serpent. There was scarcely a driblet of light there. He groped his way along. He was cautious. He inched a few yards. He was at the rear of a skirting board. That’s in the attic. There’s a small mark in the picture there.

All at once, his walkway collapsed. He somersaulted head over heels. Down an interstice he went. He floundered down, headlong. He’d created quite a commotion. He landed on his keister. He was atop a heap of filthy rags. He was overcome with the stench. He picked himself up. He looked about. He’d never been here. Yet he’d thought that he’d known every nook and cranny in the house. But not this mysterious locale!

Tom loved detective stories. He fancied himself an amateur Sherlock Holmes. So, he examined his surroundings. He looked for clues. This was a claustrophobic compartment. It was stuffy and fusty. It was a rathole. It was a dump. It was a junk heap. It was a snake pit. It was in complete disarray.


There were boards. There were rafters. There were cobwebs. There was lath and plaster. There were random decorations. It was all gewgaw. Junky. Gaudy. Useless. A mishmash of trifles, trinkets, and baubles. The decorators were tasteless. They had no artistic sense. It was all kitsch. These quarters were totally unsightly!

Then Tom’s heart stopped. He perceived wickedness in the room. He became aware of a spooky visage. He viewed a shadowy figure. It was NOT a figment of his imagination. It was across the room. EGADS! It was an enormous rat! An odious looking hulk of a rat!

The bestial troll was garishly outfitted. Chintzy jewelry hung from his torso. He was festooned with it. He wore a snooty-looking ascot. He had an ugly pustule on his left cheek. A nebula of smog hovered about him. He was smoking a pipe. The tobacco scent permeated the room. The rat took a deep puff. He wheezed. He snorted.

Then he spoke. Blithely, he said, “Howdy-do!” He paused. Then, he turned instantly from Jekyll to Hyde! He spat, venomously, towards Tom.


“GADZOOKS! What’s this unwelcome intrusion?!” The rat’s bulbous jowls wobbled as he bellowed. “You’ve invaded my privacy. You’ve caused a calamity. You’ve toppled onto my bed. You disgust me. You’re a feline. You’re an enemy. You’re an antagonist. You’re an adversary. You’re covered with smuts. You smell of soot. And I’m allergic to your fur.”

“No one treats Samuel Whiskers like this! Especially a lowlife CAT! Abominable creatures, felines. My primary life goal is to battle with the feline species!” His teeth chattered as he yammered. He had bulging ebony eyes. They were nearly popping out of his skull. Tom had never seen a creature this irate and enraged! What was next? Would billows of smoke discharge from his ears? Would plumes of molten lava shoot from his mouth? Would he be like Mount Vesuvius? Would he be like Krakatoa?

Tom quivered with fear. He stuttered. “Please! Sir! The chimney needs sweeping.” But his prevarication was of no avail to him.

“Ann-Marie!” squeaked the rat. Drool splayed from his maw. His voice was a raucous, high-pitched shrill. It was grating to the ear. Then, there was a pattering noise. A wizened old woman rat arrived. She had a wicked overbite. Crooked buckteeth hung from her gums. She poked her head around a rafter. Then there was a feverish frenzy!


All at once, she rushed upon Tom. Before he knew it, she had manhandled him. It happened too fast for him to react. She was experienced at this! His coat was pulled off. He was enfolded in a bundle. She commenced to tie him with string. The twine was in hard knots. They were being firmly tied. There was no escape. Tom was now their prisoner!

Ann-Marie did the tying. The old rat observed her. He inhaled a pinch of snuff. She finished her task. The rats both sat gawking at him. Their mouths were agape.

Then the old rat grimaced. It was a most sinister look. He looked like a demon. “Ann,” he called out. “Let’s sup on the cat. Make a scrumptious kitten dumpling roly-poly pudding.”

“Hmm! What should accompany our entree? Cook up a delectable Henry Bain sauce. That will best complement the meat. Start with an arugula salad. Then a light lemon vinaigrette to moisten it. How about dilled asparagus? And potatoes dauphine? And let’s finish with a tart mincemeat pie. Vanilla ice cream, a la mode, of course. That will make for us a gourmet dinner. I’m famished!”


Ann responded. “That requires dough. And a substantial pat of butter. And a rolling pin.” She was studying Tom. She’d cocked her head to one side. She was mulling over how she’d cook him.

Balderdash!” yowled Sam. “Make it properly. Use breadcrumbs.”

Nonsense! Butter and dough,” replied Ann. The two rats consulted. A few minutes passed. They departed. Sam left through a hole in the wainscot. He tramped boldly down the front staircase. He skulked to the dairy. There, he stole butter. He did not encounter a soul.

Sam made a subsequent journey. This was for the rolling pin. He thrust it in front of him with his arthritic paws. He was like a brewer’s man trundling a barrel.

He heard Riggs and Tish. But they were busy. They were lighting a candle. They didn’t look into where he was. They did not notice him.

Ann went down. She went by way of a skirting board. And through a window shutter. She invaded the kitchen. There, she stole the dough. She pinched a saucer. She scooped up the dough with her paws. No one observed her, either.


Meanwhile, Tom was isolated. He was sequestered away. He was in solitary confinement. He was under the attic floor. He was an inmate in the rats’ secluded hovel. He wriggled about. But he was tied up in taut, unyielding knots. Even Houdini would have failed to free himself from these coils! He mewed for help. But his mouth was imbued with soot and cobwebs. No one could possibly hear him. He was way out of earshot. He was frantic. Panic set in. His situation was hopeless.

A spider appeared. It emerged from a crack in the ceiling. It examined the knots critically. It kept a safe distance. It was a good judge of knots. That’s because it had a habit of tying up bluebottle flies. Oh, the poor, unfortunate flies! The arachnid did not offer to assist Tom. It was a neutral party to this warfare.

Tom wriggled. Tom squirmed. Tom writhed. He was exhausted. Presently, the rats came back. They set to work. Tom pleaded with them. He begged, with a plaintive voice. “Please don’t roast me! Please don’t eat me! I’m too young to die. I have my whole life before me. My family will miss me.”


He prolonged his fruitless argument. “Look! I won’t taste good! I’ll have a gamey flavor. You’ll get a stomachache! I’ll be all gristle. I’ll be too chewy. I’m wiry. My muscles are all sinewy. Your jaws will be sore. You’ll regret eating me! Have mercy! Please let me go!”

Sam mocked Tom. “Boohoo, grouse! Bellyache, whimper. Gripe, snivel, blubber! Such a baby. Cat? Didn’t your mumsy tell you? Life is nasty, brutish, and short. So claimed Thomas Hobbes! Ann, ignore this whiner. I’m starving.” Sam had no conscience. He offered no remorse. He was a sociopath!  

Now, they began to make him into a dumpling. First, they smeared him with butter. Then, they rolled him in the dough. Sam was having some doubts. “Won’t the string be indigestible?” inquired Sam.

Ann said, “No.” She thought that it would be of no consequence.

She kept preparing their dish. But she wished that Tom would hold his head still. He kept disarranging the pastry. He was NOT cooperative. (Good for him! That bought him some time.) But she laid hold of his ears. Her razor-sharp claws almost pierced his skin.


Tom bit. Tom spit. He mewed. He grunted. He wriggled. He caterwauled. The rolling pin went, “roly-poly, roly. Roly-poly, roly!” The rats each held an end. Sam complained. “His tail is sticking out! You did not procure enough dough.”

Ann replied. “I fetched as much as I could haul.”

Sam grumbled. “I’m no longer sure. It might not be an appetizing pudding.” He furrowed his brow. He stared intently at Tom. “He smells sooty. The offensive smell will seep into the meat.” Ann was about to argue the point. But a fracas stopped them. There was a cacophony. The strident sounds were above them. They heard the rasping noise of a saw. They heard a dog. The canine was scratching. He was yelping like a crazed zombie!

The rats dropped the rolling pin. Their antennae were up! They listened attentively. Sam was irritated. He spewed, “DRAT! CURSES!” He snarled, “GRR! We’re discovered. We’re interrupted. We’ve got to hightail it out of here! PRONTO!”

“Collect our property. We must depart at once. We shall be obliged to leave this pudding. I know my opinion is contrary to yours. But I’m persuaded that I’m right. The knots would have proved indigestible. Yes! Definitely troublesome for the stomach.”


Ann spoke up. “Come now, at once. Help me. Tie up some mutton bones. Let’s wrap them in a counterpane. I’ve also got half a smoked ham. I stashed it in the chimney.” The heinous rats made their speedy getaway. They were breathless. They panted. Their tongues hung out. They scuttled away in a frenzied hurry-scurry.

Tom was flabbergasted by all of this. What a tumultuous hurly-burly! But he was relieved! Apparently, he’d be no one’s dinner. Thank goodness!

The sawing went on. Giles Foxx finally got the plank up. They found Tom. They saw the rolling pin. Alas, Tom looked ridiculous. He’d been rolled into a grimy dumpling! But there was a noticeable smell of rats. Giles spent the rest of the morning sniffing and whining. He wagged his tail. He went ’round and ’round the hole. He looked like a gimlet tool. At last, he was satisfied. He nailed the plank down. He put his tools in his bag. He descended the flight of stairs.

The cats had recovered. They invited Giles to dinner. The dumpling had been peeled off of Tom. They made it separately into a bag pudding. They added currants. This was to hide the little pieces of smut.


They’d been obliged to put Tom into a hot bath. That melted the butter off of him. He felt nicely cleansed, now.

Giles smelt the pudding. It gave him hunger pangs. But he regretted that he could not dine with them. He had just made a wheelbarrow. It was for Miss Potter. He had deliver it to her. And she’d contracted with him to build dual hen coops.

What a forenoon it had been! Things calmed down. The day passed. I was going to the post office. It was late in the afternoon. I noticed something. I saw it from the corner of my eye. It was Samuel Whiskers. He was with his wife. The partners were on the run. They had big bundles. They were on a little wheelbarrow. It looked just like mine. Had they stolen it? Thieves! They were turning at a gate. That was Farmer Pickens‘ barn.

Sam was puffing. He was out of breath. Ann was carping at him in shrill tones. What a harpy! What a shrew! It all seemed to be about niggling matters. She seemed to know her way. She was hauling a large quantity of luggage. I really think that it was MY wheelbarrow. I never gave them permission to use it!

They went in the barn. They bound their parcels with string. They tied them to the top of the haymow.


After that, there were no more rats at Tish Twitch’s. What about at Farmer Pickens’? The poor man! He’s been driven nearly distracted. Gazillions of rats moved to his barn. They’re all over it! They gorge themselves on the chicken food. They filch the oats. They pilfer the bran. They champ at the meal bags. They’re all relatives of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Whiskers. Some are their children. Some are their grandchildren. Some are their great, great grandchildren!! There’s no end to them! And it’s quite a motley crew!

Now, I wager that you are curious. How would our protagonistsfutures unfold? Much time passed. Much sand had cascaded through the hourglass. Moppet and Mittens grew up. They came to be superb rat-catchers. They go out rat-catching in the village. They find plenty of employment! They charge a reasonable fee for a dozen rats caught. They earn a comfortable living. They hang up the rats’ tails. They exhibit them to the public. It’s masterful advertising! They’re arranged in a row on the barn door. This shows the township how many they’ve ensnared. There are dozens of them!

But what about Tom Kitten? His unpleasant experience gave him a phobia. He has always been apprehensive about a rat. Now, he never durst face anything that is bigger than a mouse!


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.) 
Colonial Towns And Townspeople 

Lesson 45 – Part One 

NEW WORDS: abided, additory, announcements, bargained, bartering, boatloads, bustling, butchered, characterized, chiefly, chitchat, clumps, coact, commonly, container, conveniences, conveying, countryfolk, cumulated, entailed, errands, excursions, expectations, expertise, fabricate, fatty, faucets, flashlights, haggled, happenings, hatter, hinterlands, horseshoes, imaginary, indispensable, intensive, intermix, junket, laborious, leftover, malls, mills, mollycoddled, munchkins, necessitate, normally, nucleus, patching, prattle, prerequisite, presumable, prevailing, prevented, profusion, proportions, purveying, relied, retrieve, revisit, rustics, salient, sewers, slathered, smokehouse, soured, specialist, specialists, splurged, squirreled, stoves, supermarkets, swapped, tedious, thoroughgoing, townspeople, tradesfolk, tradespeople, tradesperson, uncared, untended, unwonted, urgency, visualize, volumes, waterwheel  

Chapter One: The Country Family
Let’s take an imaginary trip. We’ll revisit a time long past. Visualize that it’s 300 years ago. We’re at an early American farm. Back then, you abided in the countryside. Who did most of the work that was indispensable for survival? It was your family! You did it all. You did it right at home. Houses were far apart from each other. So, you could not rely on neighbors or stores for each thing that you’d need. You made most things at home. Think about what you had to worry about, purveying for yourself! Food to eat. Water to drink. Water to use to cook and clean. Lighting to help you see, after dark. Heat when it turned cold. You made your own clothes. Each family member had volumes of work to do! Even young munchkins had to help out! There was so much work to do!


There was no electricity. There were no electric lamps or lights. There were no flashlights! How did you see once it got dark? You lit candles. And you made those candles at home. There were no electric ovens or stoves. You built your own fire. That would heat your home. That would cook your meals. There were no sinks or faucets with running water. You fetched your own water. And it had to be enough for drinking, cooking, AND cleaning. You’d retrieve it from a nearby creek. Or you might have a well outside. There weren’t malls with clothing stores. You made your own clothes. There weren’t supermarkets. You grew your own vegetables. You milked your own cows. You made your own cheese. Imagine all of that intensive labor! And you had boatloads of work each day! What if you were sent back to that time? You’d REALLY miss our modern conveniences!

Here’s how a day in the country began. The first urgency was heat. A woman would fetch some wood. Then she’d start the fire in the hearth. The hearth was the most salient place in the home. Most of the chores required fire. That was especially so in the winter. Each person stayed close to the hearth. That’s because it provided the only heat in the house.


So, the fire was now blazing. What was next for a country woman? She’d likely bake bread. Sometimes she’d make her own flour. She’d grind corn kernels or wheat. They’d turn into a fine powder. Then she’d intermix this flour and water with yeast. The dough would rise for many hours. When ready, it would be put into an iron pot. That would have a tight lid on it. The pot would be hung over the hearth to bake.

There was one imperative daily task. It had to be done twice a day. That was milking the cows. It was tedious work. And it took a long time. It was commonly left for the children to do.

The milk would be cumulated. They’d drink what they needed. Then, there might be leftover milk. It was transformed into either cheese or butter. Making cheese entailed a slow, laborious process. You’d boil and cool the milk. That produced small curds. These were clumps of soured milk. They looked sort of like cottage cheese. These curds were then pressed into forms. That made the final cheese product.


How about the butter? Milk was left to sit. A while would pass. The fatty cream would float to the top. Then the cream was poured into a tall, wooden container. That was a “churn.” A child normally had to pump the handle of the churn. That was the “dasher.” He or she would pump it up and down for a long time. At some point, the fat in the cream separated into butter. The leftover liquid was buttermilk. That was used for cooking or drinking.

What did country folks eat? They ate chiefly vegetables and grains. They rarely ate meat. That was only if the men or nearby neighbors had butchered one of their animals. Of course, there were no refrigerators. So, the meat had to be preserved. That way, it would not spoil. This was done by hanging it in strips above the fire. Or it might be squirreled away in a separate shed. That was a “smokehouse.” The smoke from the fire dried out the meat. That prevented it from spoiling. Other foods were preserved in lots of ways. They might be slathered with salt. They might be canned. They might be stored in a cool, dark cellar.


There was no rest for the weary! Additory chores laid in wait! Now, it was time for sewing. In colonial times, women had to fabricate their own thread and cloth. That was a prerequisite for sewing anything. Men and boys picked cotton from the fields. Or they sheared the sheep. The women cleaned and dyed this cotton or wool. They then took the cotton or wool. They made it into thread or yarn. After that, they’d weave the yarn into cloth. Girls were taught to sew and weave. It was not unwonted for them to be good sewers before the age of ten! That way, they could help to make their own clothes. It was thoroughgoing work to make clothes. And it was expensive to buy new clothes in town. So, much of the sewing work was patching or fixing old clothes. It didn’t matter that clothes become worn out. It didn’t matter that they had holes or tears. They would continue to be mended. They’d make them last as long as possible.


High expectations were set for the children. They were not mollycoddled! They worked hard to coact with the family chores. So, they did not have a lot of time to play. They had few toys. Any that they had, they likely had to make themselves. Sometimes girls made dolls. They might use parts of a corn plant to do so. Sometimes boys carved small toys out of wood. Most boys worked the farm alongside their fathers. They’d take over the family farm when they were older. The family might live near a large town. Those boys might live at home till they were 11 or 12. Then, they were expected to learn a trade. They’d become an apprentice for many years. They’d work with a master tradesperson in town. They’d learn his job. The country family in colonial times worked hard each day. Sometimes a trip into town was a welcome relief from their daily tasks. In town, the family was able to trade or buy things. That way, they could save the time and effort it took to make them. The next chapter is about such a trip into town!


Chapter Two: A Trip To Town
So, we’re back at your country farm. You’ll go to the nearest town. That’s not an everyday event! It was three hundred years ago. There were no cars or trains! You’d go by horse and wagon. It was slow going. Why were excursions to the township rare? You did not want things at home untended for long. Your animals relied on you for care. Your crops could not go uncared for.

What might necessitate a junket into town? We’ve learned about lots of things that you made on your own. But some things you just could not make! Other folks could do that better. And you had to balance your time and money. You might need iron nails. You might need a new pair of shoes. It made sense to make your own flour. It made sense to make your own clothes. But you could not do it all! Fortunately, there were tradespeople in town. They were specialists. They did jobs that made no sense for you to do. They made products that you did not have the expertise to make.


How would you pay them? You’d see farmers conveying a load of goods to sell. Or they might have bargained one good for another. Maybe they’d trade eggs. Maybe they’d trade butter. That might get them some cloth to make clothes. With bartering, you swapped or traded. You would not use money. You haggled in a friendly way. Then, you’d exchange things. You may have brought vegetables or chickens to trade.

Where was your first stop in town? Here’s what’s likely. It would have been at the town square. (That was even more presumable in a large town.) That’s where most of the shops and key buildings were. This was unlike the country. Remember, out in the hinterlands, homes were far apart. But town buildings were close to each other. It was easy to visit a profusion of shops. You could do it all on the same day.

The town square was a key nucleus. Lots of happenings took place there. The mayor and town leaders made speeches there. Key announcements were made there. Townspeople met there. They’d chitchat and prattle with their friends. This was how folks stayed up-to-date with the prevailing news.


So, you’d complete your town square errands. Then, you’d head on. You’d likely go to the nearby trading post. Or there might be a general store. Lots of farmers might be there. You could buy, sell, or trade all kinds of things. You’d trade your vegetables, grains, or dairy products. You’d leave with tools, cloth, or supplies. Your trip would have been a success. You’d have gotten what you needed.

We’ve just characterized a normal colonial town. That’s where your day-trip would end. Most smaller towns had only one general store. A very large town was different. You could see and do much more. The town might be on a river. You may have seen a mill. That’s a place where wheat was ground. It was put between large stones. It would be crushed and ground. A mill could make large proportions of flour. Mills were almost always on the river. That’s because flowing water was needed. It would turn the huge waterwheel in the mill. That would make the large, flat stones inside turn. That’s how the wheat was ground. You might have visited the miller. No doubt, you would have brought freshly harvested wheat or corn. That came from your own farm! The miller would grind it into flour. You took it home. You’d bake bread, cakes, and other good things to eat.


Next, you may have stopped in the baker’s shop. Perhaps you bought freshly baked rolls and bread. What a treat for your family!

What if you were a rich farmer? You may have gone to the hatter for a new hat. You may have gone to the dressmaker. You’d might have bought a new dress for your daughter. You might have splurged. Maybe you did not buy cloth. Maybe you bought a new shirt from the tailor. And you would have had to visit the all-important cobbler. He would have made you a new pair of strong, leather shoes.

The blacksmith was a key specialist in town. He had his own set of tools and skills. He built fires so hot that they melted iron. He’d pound melted iron into different products. He made horseshoes. He made nails. He also made lots of metal tools. You’d use some of those back on your own farm.

These towns were bustling. The tradesfolk and merchants there had something special to offer the countryfolk. And the rustics had much-needed fresh food to offer back. Soon, we’ll learn more about these special people.







Her presence was the sine qua non of every social event.


We can’t maintain the status quo; we must change to meet our many challenges.


Let’s repaint the bathroom in a light aqua color.


The guan, from Central and South America, is a bird that’s somewhat similar to a turkey.


Guar gum, which comes from a type of bean, is a thickening agent used in things like ice cream and salad dressing.


The new boy in our class is named Juan Rodriguez.


The center “lawn” of many colleges is called a “quadrangle,” or a “quad” for short.


The company has dug itself into a financial quag (short for “quagmire”).


The British currency is the British “pound,” often nicknamed a “quid.”


I made a little joke about his hair, and he came back with a stronger quip about what I was wearing.


My neighbor just quit her job in order to start her own business.


The teacher gave us a pop quiz today, but I was ready for it.


Bueno” means “good” or “all right” in Spanish.


Uncle Duane taught me how to play chess!


Two plus two will always equal four.


Our company must equip its employees with tools to be successful in the marketplace.


Tierra del Fuego is a series of islands at the southern tip of South America.


A “duomo” is a type of cathedral that you see especially in Italy.


A guaco is a tropical plant that’s used as an antidote to snakebites.


Guano” is a fancy word for “bird poop.”


I like guava jelly on my toast because it’s very tart.


A guiro is a musical instrument made of a hollow gourd, and you scrape the surface with a stick.


If Suzy is behind you, she will quack like a duck, and you’ll think it’s a real duck!


On college quads all across America, students are protesting about the recent Supreme Court decision.


To quench my thirst, I’ll quaff a tall glass of iced tea.


Our dinner special tonight is an oven-roasted quail.


When that bully approaches me, I start to quake in my boots.


My kitty gets all quaky any time a stranger enters our house.


A “quark” is a VERY small particle that we learned about when studying physics.


Don’t forget to bring home a quart of plain yogurt from the store.


The King sent his army to quash a rebellion out in the provinces.


I’m a social worker, employed by a quasi-governmental agency.


The Queen just had a visit from the new Prime Minister.


This meat has a very queer smell to it; I think it has spoiled.


I need to quell Sam’s fear of thunder and lightning.


The prosecutor said, “We need to query the defendant about his whereabouts on the night of the crime.”


The Knight left the castle on his quest for the Holy Grail.


Go wash your hands, and be quick about it.


Class, I appreciate how quiet you are being.


You do NOT want to get stuck with a porcupine quill!


Did you know that your Grandma made this beautiful quilt?


Quinn just got back from summer camp, and he said that he really liked it.


At work, Don’s frequent sarcastic quips are going to get him in trouble.


Rob has a little quirk where when he disagrees with someone he gets a large sneer on his face.    


I’m quite full, so I don’t need any more food.


When Benny gets frustrated, he quits trying.


Margaret, congrats on hitting your sales quota before the end of the month!


I love Alan Alda’s quote, “Your assumptions are your windows to the world. Scrub them off every once in awhile or the light won’t come in.”


The restaurant served a delicious squab entree for $28.


A police squad nabbed the bank robbers who went into First National Bank today.


A squat is a great exercise for working your quads and gluts.


The journalist wrote a hard-hitting squib that lampooned the politician’s speech.


I’ve eaten squid on occasion, but I think that it’s too chewy.


The socialite had a suave, confident manner about herself.


Dad, you look great in your new suede blazer.


We booked a suite at Glacier National Park for our summer vacation.


Our defense team will try to get the jury to acquit you on all of these criminal charges.


The armored knight has put on his cuisse to protect his thigh.


That horse trainer is an icon in the equine industry.


I think that I’ll order the huevos rancheros for brunch.


We got to tour a lifelike pueblo at the museum’s new exhibit.


That quaint little cabin in the woods is actually the home of a witch!


The Quaker religion used to be called “The Religious Society of Friends.”


I have no qualms about grounding Betty for a week after what she did!


We love to go swimming in the lake in the nearby quarry.


Did you know that quartz is used to control the frequencies of radio transmitters?


It was fun winning the hot dog eating contest, but now I feel really queasy.


I’ll quench my thirst with some ice cold soda water.


The yellowish quince tastes somewhat like an apple, and it’s great for making jelly.


My young son will quiver with fear every time the evil green witch shows up when we’re watching “The Wizard of Oz!”


That billionaire has a lot of his money deposited at Suisse Bank.


I love Asian cuisine, especially Thai food.


I need one more quarter for this parking meter.


Tonight’s performance will include a string quartet by Bartok.


I’m not going to quibble any more about your pricing; you’ve got the deal!


The sergeant barked to the troops, “You need to quicken your pace!”


Quinine is a staple ingredient of medicines that are used to fight malaria.


A string quintet generally adds one more viola to a string quartet.


My mom has a number of good recipes that use Bisquick.


I need to ask you a question.


When you have 6 divided by 3, the answer is 2, and that answer is called the “quotient.”








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.) 
Colonial Towns And Townspeople 

Lesson 46 – Part Two 

NEW WORDS: allotted, alternatively, apposition, bagels, beige, carder, carders, chapati, colonized, comparatively, concomitantly, conjoined, consistency, constituent, customarily, customers, daunting, detruded, diets, dyeing, edged, efficacious, ensuing, entwine, evolved, existent, farmsteads, fibril, finalized, flax, garnering, gears, globally, granulate, granulated, gride, grinding, grindstones, gustable, humungous, inaugurate, ingredients, inserted, interweave, introducing, kibbling, kingsize, kneading, levigate, localized, machine’s, matzo, millers, millstones, morsels, multicolored, offering, optimal, patrons, pedal, pod, pressing, pulverized, purchasing, queued, readiness, replicated, rotate, shuttle, spindle, spindles, spinner, spinners, stauncher, stretching, stringlike, structures, suchlike, termed, textile, thickness, tortillas, tradesman, tradesmen, treadle, treadling, twisting, utensils, variant, variegated, vendor, vestments, vibrant, watermill, weaver, weavers, whitish, woman’s, workflow 

Chapter Three: The Bread Makers: Millers and Bakers
Bread has long been an indispensable constituent of many people’s diets. That goes for the entire world. And it’s been this way for thousands of years. In almost every culture, people make bread, or foods like bread. In Mexico, they eat tortillas. In India, they eat chapati. In Israel, they eat matzo. And in the U.S., we may eat any of the above. We also eat bagels, muffins, biscuits, and sliced bread.

In colonial times, most breads were made from wheat or corn. Where did the wheat and corn come from? Right! The farmer! But it was a long process from the farmer’s field to the baker’s shop. Today we’ll learn about what, and who, was involved with making bread.

First, the farmer planted his crops. Then he harvested the wheat or corn when they were fully grown. Next, the farmer had to separate out the seeds, or grains, from the plant. Then the seeds had to be ground into flour.


Back then, people did their own grinding. They’d grind their own wheat grains or corn kernels. They used big stones. These were called “grindstones.” Early grindstones were used by native people globally. One stone was larger than the other. It was either flat or bowl-shaped. The other stone was customarily small. You could hold it in your hand. The person grinding would spread some grains on the larger stone. Then they’d gride them with the smaller stone.

Imagine kibbling two stones together all day long. You’d get just a wee bit of flour. You could make just one loaf of bread. It was daunting work! Eventually, people found a more efficacious way to do the job. Introducing the “mill!”

Mills were existent in Europe long before people colonized America. A mill replicated a person with a grindstone. It pulverized the grains of wheat between two stones.

The stones in a mill were called millstones. They were humungous. They were far too large for a person to lift. Now, a person would no longer have to grind the stones together. A kingsize machine would grind the heavy millstones together. The bigger the millstones, the more grain the mill could granulate into flour.


Water mills were the prevailing type of mill in early America. They were localized right on the rivers. The fast-flowing water made the big wheel turn around. The wheel was conjoined to gears. The gears made the millstones inside the building rotate. The heavy weight of the stones was detruded to levigate the grains.

The tradesman in charge of the mill was termed a “miller.” The miller would charge farmers money. Then he’d grind their wheat or corn into flour. The farmer might alternatively pay by offering the miller some grain. The miller would grind the grain into flour. He’d then collect the flour into bags. A miller with a watermill could grind and bag lots of flour in a day. That’s more than a farmer with a grindstone could grind in weeks.

The flour would be granulated. Then the miller would sell some of it to the baker. The baker made bread, muffins, and cakes out of that flour.

How did the baker make dough? He mixed a lot of flour with a little bit of water. He tossed in a little bit of salt. He also added a special ingredient. That’s called “yeast.” The yeast made the bread puff up and rise when it was baked.


Next, the baker kneaded the dough. Kneading dough is like pressing and stretching the dough together. You do this in lots of different directions. That makes sure that the ingredients are all evenly mixed. You knead back and forth for quite a while. When you’ve finalized that task, the dough has the optimal consistency, or texture. Certain kinds of bread had to be kneaded for a very long time.

Next, the baker shaped the dough. He might pat it with his hands. He might roll it with a rolling pin. Then it was time for the bread to be inserted into the oven. Ovens back then were brick or stone structures with a fire inside.

The bread would turn just the right shade of brown. Then the baker took it out of the oven. He’d let it cool for awhile. Mmm, can’t you just smell that gustable aroma? That’s freshly-baked, warm bread, ready to eat!

Has bread-making evolved much in 300 years? Not really. It’s still made in much the same way. The first step is making the dough. Bakers have to get up extra early. Sometimes, they’re up at two or three o’clock in the morning! They make their dough. They start baking bread. They have to be in readiness for their first early-morning customers. You’ll see this scene today, all over the world. It’s first thing in the morning. Hungry patrons are queued up outside the bakery door. They’re ready to buy their bread and other breakfast treats. There’s nothing better than fresh-baked morsels to inaugurate your day!


Chapter Four: The Cloth Makers: Spinners and Weavers
Hundreds of years back, farmers made their own textile. They used materials that they were garnering from their own farmsteads. Most farmers sheared wool from their own sheep. On a few farms, cotton was grown. Farmers picked cotton from cotton plants that grew in their fields. The farmers’ wives cleaned, combed, and dyed the cotton or wool. Then they’d spin it into fibril before weaving it into cloth. But this took lots of time. So, what if they had several vestments to make? They’d give their cotton or wool to specialist tradespeople. They’d interweave the cloth for the farm family. Today we’ll learn about spinners and weavers. These were two types of tradesmen in town. They had tools that helped them make more cloth in bulk. They made more than a farmer’s family could make by themselves.

Lots of farmers used their sheep’s wool to make cloth. First, they’d let the sheep’s coats grow to a deep thickness. Then, they’d shave or shear off the wool with a razor-edged blade. The wool would grow back. Thus, the sheep were ready to be sheared again the ensuing spring.


Let’s take a close look at cotton. That’s a plant that was grown on farms in the Southern colonies in apposition to the coast. The cotton first had to be planted. Then it was hand-picked from the plant. A cotton boll is the seed pod of the cotton plant. Farmers plucked the white, stringlike fibers found inside the cotton boll. They also used the stalk of another plant called “flax.” That could be picked apart into fibers, as well. That cloth was called “linen.” Whether cotton or flax, farmers needed to clean the fibers. That would remove the seeds and dirt from these plant parts. They had to do that before using them to make cloth.

What’s the first step in making cloth? It’s to make the cotton, flax, or wool into thread. There were utensils the farmer had that helped him do this. First, the cotton, flax, or wool was cleaned. Then it had to be combed with a tool called a “carder.” Hand carders look suchlike cat or dog brushes. Women would use two carders concomitantly. They’d brush the wool until all the fibers lined up in the same direction.

The combing process would be completed. Then, the women might dye the cotton or wool variant colors. They’d use the juice from variegated plants or berries. They dipped the cotton or wool in the dye. They allotted plenty of time for it to soak up the vibrant juices. Dyeing was hard work. And it took a long time. So, farmers usually skipped this step if they were making cloth at home. Thus, clothing sewn at home in those days was generally plain. It was likely just a whitishbeige color. It was an unwonted treat to buy multicolored cloth in town.


Here’s the next step in the workflow. Women then used small wooden
”spindles.” These would entwine the clean fibers into thread. Women turned the spindle by hand. That would make yarn that was much stauncher than a single fiber of cotton, flax, or wool.

A few farmers could afford a spinning wheel. The spinning wheel turned fibers into yarn or thread by twisting them together very tightly. It could spin wool into thread much more quickly than a hand spindle. There were rare cases when a farmer was comparatively wealthy. Often, you’d see him purchasing cloth from a spinner. This was a vendor who turned cotton, flax, or wool into thread using a spinning wheel.

The spinning wheel not only has a spindle attached to it. It also has a big wheel and a foot pedal called a “treadle.” The spinner would step on the treadle to make the big wheel spin. This was called “treadling.”

See the thread between the woman’s left hand and the spindle? It’s been spun into thread. It’s ready to be collected on the spindle. A large spinning wheel turned the spindle around quickly. That allowed the spinner to make a lot of thread or yarn in one day. There was one way that farm families could save time. They’d buy yarn or thread from the spinner. Then they’d weave it into cloth by hand at home. They might save even more time and effort. They’d visit another tradesperson, the weaver. The weaver would make the cloth for them.


Let’s say that the spinner has made the yarn or thread. Then, the weaver took over. His job was to weave yarn or thread into cloth. Look at the clothing you’re wearing now. You’ll see that the cloth is made up of lots of little rows of threads. Some of these rows go up and down. Others go across. To do this, the weaver used a tool called a “loom.”

A typical loom had pedals. The weaver used them to control the machine’s parts. The weaver used a special piece called a “shuttle.” It would carry the strings back and forth. They’d go from one side of the loom to the other. The newly made cloth was rolled up on a bolt. That was underneath the loom.

Today, cloth is made in factories. It’s made by machines. But these machines spin and weave just like the tradespeople did long ago. So, now you know how cotton, flax, and wool were woven into cloth. You know how it was done by hand. And you know how it was done by the spinners and weavers in town.

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.) 
Colonial Towns And Townspeople

Lesson 47 – Part Three

NEW WORDS: abiding, accomplished, amazingly, anomalous, attire, bareheaded, benefits, blacksmith’s, bonnets, brawniest, breeches, bricklayer, bricklayer’s, bricklayers, brims, builders, candleholders, carpenters, chisel, chisels, clarified, classifications, cobblers, concrete, conjure, cooled, cornerstones, correctly, crucially, decorative, deemed, designing, diagram, diligent, disjunct, dressmakers, edges, embroidery, erected, especial, exacting, exclusively, fancier, farmplace, fastens, fastidiously, figuring, fitting, flawlessly, forges, foundation, foundations, fructuous, gadgets, handled, handmade, harden, hardens, hatmaker, hatmakers, hatters, hinge, impervious, impolite, inconvenience, inescapable, ironwork, jaunting, jigsaw, kettles, limestone, lowest, malleable, manufacturing, mason, masons, masterly, measuring, milliner, millinery, moldable, molds, moreover, notably, outerwear, painstaking, partial, patched, pits, pliable, postpone, potpourri, preponderance, racks, rarities, reshape, resourceful, scars, secondary, shaping, similarities, singular, sizzling, smite, smites, snugly, spaces, specialized, stonemason, styles, superheat, superstore, toughest, travail, trowel, undeniably, underside, ungentlemanly, unladylike, unloath 

Chapter Five: Dressmakers, Tailors, Hatters, and Cobblers
Here we are back in Colonial America. Most people made their own clothing. This was undeniably true for the preponderance of farmers. They had everything they needed to make clothes on their farms. Now, making clothes was hard work. So, most people had only two outfits! One was a set of work clothes. The other was a set of fancier clothes to wear on Sunday. That was it! People did not get new attire until their old clothes wore out.

Some farmplace families had the money to buy clothing. They did not need to make it themselves. So, they went jaunting to town when they needed new clothes. There, they would find several specialists to help them dress well. These were the dressmaker, the tailor, the hatter, and the cobbler.

Back then, there were no racks full of dresses for women to try on. It took a lot of time for a dressmaker to make a dress. So, she had to make sure someone would buy each dress made. Now, it cost a lot of money to buy a dress. So, a farmer’s wife would choose the singular color and style she wanted. The dressmaker might display one or two dresses in the shop window. But most dresses had to be made-to-order. Very wealthy women were rarities. Some of them might even order a dress from England.


A woman would come in looking for a new dress. The dressmaker might show her some patterns. They might discuss designs that were according to the latest fashions. The woman could choose the pattern and fabric that she was partial to.

The dressmaker would then use a measuring tape. She’d measure the woman’s arms and legs. And she’d measure her chest, neck, and waist.

The measurements clarified how much cloth was needed for the dress. The dressmaker would then cut the cloth into pieces. They were cut according to the shape of the patterns. She’d finish cutting all the pieces. Then she’d hand stitch or sew the pieces together. She accomplished that using a fine needle and thread. Back then there were no electric sewing machines like we have today. So, this was slow, painstaking work.

Finally, the dressmaker might add decorative finishing touches. Often, they’d add hand-knitted lace or embroidery. This could be around the collar or hem of the dress. It would sometimes take weeks to make a new dress!


Tailors did the same kind of work as dressmakers. But they made clothes for both men and women. You’d visit a tailor and have your measurements taken. The tailor would make a shirt, or a pair of “breeches,” to order. Breeches were often worn in colonial times. They were knee-length pants with long, woolen stockings.

Almost everyone in early America wore a hat. In fact, it was deemed anomalous or impolite to walk around bareheaded. And you didn’t want folks thinking of you as ungentlemanly or unladylike! Men wore hats with brims. Women wore soft bonnets. Wearing a hat also offered some benefits.  It kept your head warm and dry. It kept the sun out of your eyes. It protected the expensive wigs that were customarily worn by many.

People who made men’s hats were called hatmakers, or hatters. (Here’s a fancier way to describe it. “Millinery” is the designing and manufacturing of hats. A hatmaker can be called a “milliner.”) What were men’s hats made of back then? They were made out of beaver skin, wool, or camel fur. Yes! Really! Camel fur! They were fastened together with glue. The hatter mixed the glue himself. Hats took time to make, just like clothes. You didn’t walk out of the shop, on your initial visit, with a hat on your head. Instead, a customer chose the style of hat that they wanted. They had their head measured by the hatter. They came back days or weeks later, when the hat was done.


Out of all classifications of their outerwear, shoes were the hardest for farmers to make themselves. So, what did a farmer do when he needed a new pair of shoes? He’d visit the “cobbler,” or “shoemaker.” The cobbler would make shoes to order. This was the same as with the dressmaker, tailor, and hatter.

Most folks had just one or two pairs of shoes. Lots of people had no shoes at all! In poor farm families, no one wore shoes for most of the year. What if a farmer did have shoes? He might wear the same pair of shoes each day for months. As a result, shoes wore out quickly. Most farmers could not often afford to buy a new pair of shoes. So, they would take their old shoes to the cobbler. They’d have them patched, or repaired. Cobblers spent as much time fixing old shoes as they did making new ones.


The shoemaker used many specialized tools for his trade. In early America, most shoes were made out of leather. That comes from the dried hide or skin of a cow. There were two parts to a shoe. There was the sole and the upper. Both were made from leather. The sole was the underside of the shoe. The upper was the top part. The shoemaker would take measurements of your feet. He’d cut the leather. He’d then use a needle and thread to sew the pieces together.

Making clothes, hats, and shoes was diligent travail. Farmers who could afford it were unloath to pay others for these products. Today, it’s much easier to buy clothes. We can choose from a potpourri of styles that are already sewn. We don’t have to get measured. We don’t have to postpone having our needs met for weeks, abiding to get our new clothes. And we don’t have the inconvenience of going to four disjunct tradespeople. We can just go to one department store or superstore!

The Elves and the Shoemaker (N/A: This has already been covered in an earlier AOCR version.)

Chapter Six: The House Builders: Bricklayers, Masons, and Carpenters
How were homes built in Colonial American towns? Most people erected their own homes! They would get the help of their neighbors. However, there were some townspeople who were wealthy. They could hire tradespeople who had particular expertise in building. There were three of these types of tradespeople back then. And these jobs still exist in modern times. These hard workers were the bricklayer, the mason, and the carpenter.

The bricklayer builds walls and houses using bricks. Bricks are made from clay. That’s extremely fine, red soil that comes from the earth. A long time ago, people discovered what you could do with clay. You mix clay with a little water. You shape it into a block. Then you bake it in the hot sun. It dries out and hardens into an impervious brick.


In this picture, you’ll see a bricklayer laying bricks. That’s the way it was done three hundred years ago. He’s using a special tool. That’s called a “trowel.” With the trowel, he spreads the “mortar.” Mortar is a really gooey, sticky material. It’s kind of like glue for the bricks. Mortar is made of sand, water, and a type of crushed rock called lime. (That comes from crushed limestone. Lime is also essential for making concrete.) The bricklayer would spread the mortar evenly with his trowel. Then he’d add another brick to the wall. A good bricklayer’s wall will be straight and strong. And it will last for many, many years.

A “stonemason” is called a “mason” for short. He builds walls and houses with stones. He has some things in common with the bricklayer. For instance, the mason can use mortar to stick stones together. Can you see the mortar in the spaces between the stones in this chimney? Now, bricks are mostly the same size and shape. But stones come in all shapes and sizes. The mason has to be very careful. He has an exacting task. He has to make sure that each piece fits together closely with the pieces next to it.


Look at the stones in this wall. They’ve been carefully fitted together. It’s like fitting the pieces correctly in a jigsaw puzzle. How would a mason fit the stones together so well? He’d have to chip away at them with a hammer and a sharp chisel. He’d patiently and fastidiously reshape the stones. That way, each one would fit perfectly into its space next to the others. In fact, these stones would fit together amazingly well. The mason did not even need to use mortar to keep them in place!

Back then, many masons were asked to build the foundations of houses. The foundation is the base of the house. It’s the lowest part on which the rest of the house stands. The stones in the foundation must fit together snugly. You don’t want them to ever move or crack. The stones on each of the corners of the house are called “cornerstones.” They are crucially important. Strong cornerstones make a strong foundation. They make for a sturdy house that won’t fall down!


Finally, what other material is used to build houses? That’s right, wood. And who works with wood? Yes, the carpenter. Most carpenters start with a diagram of what they plan to build. This tells the carpenter how long, wide, and thick each wooden board should be. And, it shows how the pieces need to be fitted together. Sometimes, carpenters do something else to save money and time. They don’t use smooth wooden boards. Instead, carpenters would use rough logs to build houses.

The carpenter uses a lot of special tools. This picture shows a carpenter measuring a board. He’s using a special kind of ruler called a square. That’s good for measuring angles and straight edges. The carpenter makes a mark on the board with a pencil. That shows him where to cut. Carpenters have to get their measurements exactly right. It’s not good if they cut the wrong sized piece of wood. And it’s not good if they cut it at the wrong angle. Then, the pieces will not fit together correctly. The house will not stand up properly!


Most good carpenters measure their boards twice before they cut. That’s to make sure that they’ve marked them flawlessly. That’s why carpenters have a saying. It’s, “Measure twice. Cut once.” It’s to remind themselves to double-check their measurements before they cut. Once they cut a board, they can’t uncut it!

The carpenter gets out his saw. He cuts the boards to the sizes he needs. He then fastens them together with his hammer and nails. So, what’s another key tool that a carpenter uses? He uses a tool called a “level.” That helps him to make sure that everything is straight and even.

A carpenter builds a house from the ground up. He begins by building the house’s frame. The frame gives the house its shape. It holds everything together. It holds up the walls, the roof, the doors, and the windows.

A good carpenter not only builds a beautiful house. It’s also a house that keeps rain and wind out for years. Many early American house builders were true experts at their trades. We know that because many of their buildings are still standing today! They are as straight and tall as ever.

Today, bricklayers, masons, and carpenters still build our homes. We might call them “construction workers.” Modern homes can have similarities to colonial homes. We still build with mixes of brick, stone, and wood. But we have an advantage over colonial tradespeople. Today, home builders use electric power tools to make their work much easier to accomplish.


Chapter Seven: The Blacksmith
Blacksmiths were notably important tradesmen in town. They made all the tools people needed to be fructuous with their jobs. They made chisels for masons. They made hammers and nails for carpenters and cobblers. They made household items like kettles, cooking pots, and candleholders. And they made lots of other utensils. Some of these were horseshoes, hinges, knives and swords, and locks and keys. So many gadgets that people used in daily life came out of the blacksmith’s shop!

To do his work, a blacksmith needed five basic things. He needed some metal to work with. He had to have something to heat the metal in. He had to move the hot metal from one place to another. He had to have something to put it on. Finally, he had to have something to hit it with. Blacksmiths in early America worked almost exclusively with iron. Iron is a very strong metal. But when it’s heated in a fire, it becomes soft and pliable. That means it can be shaped into whatever shape the blacksmith wants. Another great word for this is that iron is “malleable” after heated.


To superheat the iron, a blacksmith used an especial oven called a “forge.” Most forges were simply open fire pits. There, the blacksmith could work closely and easily with the metal he put in the fire. The important thing was that the fire burned hot. It was so sizzling hot that it could melt metal!

The forge would get hot enough. Then the blacksmith would put a piece of iron in it. Since the forge was so hot, he had to use “tongs.” Tongs have two long metal arms connected by a hinge.

He’d squeeze the two arms together. Then he could grab things without using his own hands. You can see the blacksmith using tongs in this picture. Tongs were an essential tool for the blacksmith. They were almost like a secondary pair of hands for him!

The blacksmith left the iron in the forge until it was red hot. It got so hot that it turned bright red in the fire. Then he’d pull it out. He’d use his tongs again, to keep from burning his hands.


He’d quickly remove the red-hot piece of iron from the fire. He’d place it on the anvil. Then he’d bang away at it with his hammer. In this picture you can see the anvil. It’s the big block of metal on which the blacksmith shaped the iron. The blacksmith had to work quickly. The metal was only soft and moldable when it was red-hot. Once the iron cooled, it would harden.

While he kept the metal hot, he could shape it however he liked. He could make the metal longer or shorter. He could make it thicker or thinner. He could bend and mold it into special shapes. In this picture you can see how the blacksmith is shaping a horseshoe. He’d be satisfied with the size and shape of whatever he was making. Then he’d let the iron cool off. Sometimes he’d plunge it into a bucket of cold water. It would harden after a short time.

Now, a blacksmith lifted hammers and heavy iron pieces all day long. So, he was one of the brawniest, toughest men in town. He likely had more than his share of scars and burns. Those were inescapable due to all of the hot metal that he handled each day.


Blacksmiths were often thought of as clever and resourceful people. They were masterly at figuring out how to fix things and to make things work. What if a person needed a special tool for a special job? Chances were that the blacksmith could figure it out. He’d conjure up whatever was needed.

Where did the name blacksmith came from? Well, the word “smith” comes from the word “smite.” That’s another word for “hit.” And, iron is black in color. So, a blacksmith is a person who smites black metal for a living.

Today, machines do the work of blacksmiths. They melt iron in large pots. They pour the hot metal into molds, or shapes. For example, there’s a mold for horseshoes. The good thing about using a mold is that no one gets burned. Moreover, all the horseshoes come out with the same high quality. But we still appreciate the handmade ironwork of the blacksmiths from years ago. No town in early America was without a blacksmith. He was the essential tradesman in every town.








My dad was in the Chi Phi fraternity in college.


Phew, it is brutally hot outside!


My Uncle Phil loves to watch NASCAR racing.


When you retire from working, you enter a new phase in life.


There are three different colors of phlox in my garden.


Who were you just talking to on your phone?


My grandpa showed me how to play an old phono, also called a record player.


That jewel may be shiny, but it’s just a phony (also “phoney“) diamond.


That’s a photo of us with Mt. Kilimanjaro in the background.


This aphid may be a tiny bug, but it is a serious pest in agriculture and forestry.


Have you seen the animated film “Alpha And Omega,” which was about two wolves who fell in love?


That huge guy is Dolph Schmitt, a heavyweight boxer.


I think that this glyph from an ancient language means “heaven.”


This graph shows traffic deaths per month for the last five years.


Humph, I missed way too many short putts on the golf course today!


The doctor said that my lymph glands are a little bit swollen.


The wizard in this story can morph into many different animals!


The protagonists in this fantasy are a faun, an elf, a nymph, and a fairy.


The tackled running back made a loud “oomph” sound when he hit the ground.


I hate it when Uncle Ralph gets out his gross chewing tobacco.


You do NOT ever want to get a dangerous staph infection.


We saw an evil sylph floating above near the treetops.


They named their new baby boy “Philip.”


They just phased out this model in their cell phone product category.


We see different phases of the moon’s appearance as it orbits the Earth.


Phenol is a form of carbolic acid, which is very poisonous if swallowed.


That young rapper has been quite a phenom the last three years, and he just won his first Grammy.


Phenyl is a strong deodorant and germicide for disinfecting areas in hospitals, nursing homes, etc.


Gross, look at the phlegm that I just blew out of my nose!


My mom is completely phobic when it comes to spiders.


To add insult to injury, she gave a cutesy name to her new little yappy dog, who she’s calling “Phoebe.”


I just phoned in an “all the works” pizza for delivery.


Phones were ringing off the hook at the Utility when the town’s power went out.


Phooey, Mom forgot to put dessert in my lunchbox.


Captain Kirk yelled, “Fire photon torpedoes!”


The teacher asked, “Could you please phrase that part of your sentence less sarcastically?”


I love desserts with phyllo pastry, like Napoleons and baklava.


A “phylum” is a class of organisms that all have the same body plan.


Ephram is a Hebrew male name meaning “very fruitful.”


A mysterious glowing sphere descended from the sky and landed in the meadow.


On our Middle East vacation, we got to visit the Sphinx in Egypt.


To cipher (also “cypher“) is to use figures or numerals arithmetically.


When the queen dies, Princess Daphne will become the new queen.


That darned gopher is tearing up our back yard!


I think that you need a hyphen here to make your sentence flow better.


We have a nephew who is struggling with his reading because of dyslexia.


My parents say that a popular Sunday comic when they were growing up was called “Little Orphan Annie.”


Aunt Sophie always sends us hilarious birthday cards.


We need to siphon (also “syphon“) out the standing water on the boat’s floor.


Typhus is a nasty infectious disease transmitted by lice and fleas.


A zephyr moved our hot air balloon gently towards the east.


Mrs. Murphy showed us a YouTube in class today about dangerous animals.








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.) 
Colonial Towns And Townspeople

Lesson 48 – Part Four

NEW WORDS: Lucas, Shetland, abrupt, afore, armload, attitudes, ballad, bedevil, bemoaning, bewailing, bushels, byway, canvassed, carpenter’s, cathedral, cauldron, chirruping, chortling, cider, clippety, comestibles, confessed, conjectured, consolation, consumed, countrysides, crusty, curvet, dewdrops, discharged, disenchanted, disheartened, dismissive, dismount, dissatisfied, ditties, downcast, downhill, eavesdropping, elderly, erect, espying, fantastico, faultless, fluent, flush, foodstuffs, forefeet, forefoot, forspent, furnishing, glancing, goodhearted, groundless, grousing, halted, hamlets, hammered, hammering, harshly, hassle, hindfeet, honorable, hoofs, hostilities, hungering, huzzah, impelled, indebted, infantrymen, inquiring, inquisitive, jolliest, jubilance, labors, lassie, laughable, lea, leeks, lumps, magnifico, marketplace, nourishing, nutriment, obligatory, oddments, oregano, parsnips, perfectamente, perfunctory, persevering, pinkish, piqued, pivoting, platters, plodding, pony’s, populace, posit, pottage, profess, rarefied, realizing, rosemary, scrounging, servant’s, sorrowfully, sovereignties, stomachs, storekeeper, surveilling, tabernacle, thyme, topnotch, townies, townspeople’s, tramping, treaded, truce, trudging, tumbrel, unfit, uphill, victuals, voluntarily, wartime  

Chapter Eight: The Little Gray Pony
There was once a man who owned a little gray Shetland pony. In the morning, the dewdrops were still hanging on the pinkish clover in the lea. The birds were chirruping their morning ditties. Each morning, the man would curvet onto his pony. He’d ride away, “clippety, clippety, clap!”

They rode along the flush pike byway. The pony’s four small hoofs played the jolliest ballad on the pavement. The pony’s head was always high in the air. The pony’s two little ears were always pricked up. He was a merry gray pony. And he loved to go, “clippety, clippety, clap!”

The man rode to nearby hamlets and through the varying nearby countrysides. He rode to a cathedral, to a tabernacle, or to the marketplace. He went uphill and downhill. One day, he heard something fall. It landed with a clang on a stone in the road. Glancing back, he saw a horseshoe lying there. And when he saw it, he cried out. “What shall I do? What shall I do, if my little gray pony has lost a shoe?”


He decided to dismount from the pony in a great hurry. He looked at one of the pony’s forefeet. But nothing was unfit. He lifted the other forefoot. But the shoe was still there. He moved to inspect one of the hindfeet. He began to think that his theory was groundless. But when he looked at the last foot, he cried out again. “What shall I do? What shall I do? My little gray pony has lost a shoe!”

Then he made haste to go to the blacksmith. When he saw the smith, he called out to him.

“Blacksmith! Blacksmith! I’ve come to you. My little gray pony has lost a shoe!” But the blacksmith answered, “How can I shoe your pony’s feet, without some coal, the iron to heat?” The man was downcast when he heard this. But he left his little gray pony in the blacksmith’s care. Then he hurried here and there to buy the coal.

First of all, he went to the store. When he got there, he called out. “Storekeeper! Storekeeper! I’ve come to you. My little gray pony has lost a shoe! And I want some coal, the iron to heat. That way, the blacksmith may shoe my pony’s feet.”


But the storekeeper answered him. “Now, I have apples and candy to sell. And there are more nice oddments than I can sell. But I’ve no coal, the iron to heat, that the blacksmith may shoe your pony’s feet.”

Then the man went away bewailing. “What shall I do? What shall I do? My little gray pony has lost a shoe!?”

By and by, he met a farmer. He was coming to town with a tumbrel full of healthy comestibles. He called out, “Farmer! Farmer! I’ve come to you. My little gray pony has lost a shoe! And I want some coal, the iron to heat. That way, the blacksmith may shoe my pony’s feet.

Then the farmer answered the man. “I’ve bushels of corn, and hay and wheat. Something for you and your pony to eat. But I’ve no coal, the iron to heat, that the blacksmith may shoe your pony’s feet.”

So, the farmer drove away. He left the man standing in the road, bemoaning. “What shall I do? What shall I do? My little gray pony has lost a shoe!”


In the farmer’s wagon he saw corn. This made him think of the mill. So, he hastened there. He called out to the dusty miller. “Miller! Miller! I’ve come to you. My little gray pony has lost a shoe. I want some coal, the iron to heat. That way, the blacksmith may shoe my pony’s feet.”

The miller came to the door in surprise. He heard what was needed. He responded back. “I have wheels that go round and round. I have stones to turn till the grain is ground. But I’ve no coal, the iron to heat, that the blacksmith may shoe your pony’s feet.”

Then the man turned away sorrowfully. He sat down on a rock near the roadside, grousing. “What shall I do? What shall I do? My little gray pony has lost a shoe!”

After a while, an elderly woman came down the road. She was driving a flock of geese to market. She came near the man. She halted and was inquiring about his trouble. He told her all about it. When she had heard it all, she found his tale laughable. Her geese even joined in with a cackle as she was chortling. She responded to him this way. “Don’t you know where the coal is found? You must go to the miner. He works in the ground.”


Then the man sprang to his feet. He told the woman he was indebted to her for her sage advice. He ran to the miner. Now, the miner had been plodding away and scrounging for coal for many a long day. He abided down in the mine, under the ground. It was so dark there that he had to wear a lamp on the front of his cap. That would light things where he worked. He had plenty of black coal ready. He gave great lumps of it to the man. The man then took them in haste to the blacksmith.

The blacksmith lit his great red fire. He hammered out four, fine new shoes. He did this with a “cling!” and a “clang!” He fastened them on with a “rap!” and a “tap!” Then away rode the man on his little gray pony. “Clippety, clippety, clap!”


Chapter Nine: Stone Soup
Thank goodness, wartime had ceased. A truce had been signed, and hostilities between sovereignties had ended. Three soldiers, Henry, George, and Lucas, were tramping home from the war. They had been trudging along for many days, and they conjectured that they’d march many more afore they finally made it home. They were cold and forspent, but most of all, they were hungering.

“Look, just over those trees!” Henry said, pointing. “I see a church steeple. There must be a town over there. Perhaps the goodhearted inhabitants there will offer up to us some of their foodstuffs.”

“Good idea,” said George.

“Let’s go,” said Lucas.

The three soldiers treaded toward the town, holding their stomachs and hanging their heads because they were so hungry. They weren’t realizing it, but a little lassie was espying them coming. She turned and ran to the blacksmith’s shop. She banged on his door.

“Blacksmith! Blacksmith!” she called. “Three soldiers are coming. They look hungry. We must offer them something nourishing.”


The blacksmith didn’t turn his head. He continued hammering on the big iron pot he was making. Clearly piqued, he responded to her with a dismissive tone. “I have no time to be offering food to hungry soldiers. It’s a pressing matter for me to get this pot finished, or I will not get paid. If I do not get paid, I cannot buy food, and my family and I will be hungrier than those soldiers.”

The girl was dissatisfied by this response. “If you say so,” she sighed. Then she ran to the carpenter’s shop and banged on the door.

“Carpenter! Carpenter!” she called. “Three soldiers are coming. They look hungry. We must offer them nutriment.”

The carpenter gave the girl but a perfunctory glance. Then he continued staring at the level he had just placed on top of a table. “Hungry soldiers,” he said, without much consolation. His tone with the girl was abrupt. “I have no time to be furnishing food to three hungry soldiers. It’s obligatory that I get this table done, or I will not get paid, and then I will not have enough food to feed my family.”

The girl was disheartened by this response. “If you say so,” she sighed. Then she turned and banged on the baker’s door.


“Baker! Baker!” she called. “Three soldiers are coming. They look hungry. We must offer them some victuals.”

The baker didn’t turn his head. He continued pulling fresh loaves of bread out of his oven. He spoke to the girl harshly. “Humph,” he said. “I suppose you posit that I’m going to voluntarily give those three soldiers some of my fresh bread. I will sell it to them, but I will not give it away for nothing. I must eat, too, you know.”

The girl was now quite disenchanted with her townspeople’s attitudes! But she had a persevering spirit. She kept on, and she went from shop to shop to shop. She asked everyone in town if they could feed three hungry soldiers. But they were all too busy doing their own jobs to offer any help. They told the girl that they did not have enough to feed their own families, let alone the three soldiers.

Finally, Henry, George, and Lucas stumbled into the town square. They were colder, more tired, and hungrier than ever. They looked around. Nobody had come out to see them.


“Hello,” said the girl, who had been surveilling the infantrymen from across the town square.

As the three soldiers were pivoting to see her, Lucas said, “Aha! Are you the welcoming committee?”

“I am so sorry,” said the honorable young girl, who had a servant’s heart. “I’ve canvassed the town’s entire populace. But right now, everyone in town is all consumed with their own labors. They cannot feed you.”

“Well, then,” said Lucas. “We shall have to feed ourselves.” He reached down to the ground and picked up a large stone near his feet. “We shall make Stone Soup. We make it all the time where I come from.”

“Stone Soup?” asked the girl. “But you can’t make soup from nothing but stones.”

“Of course, you can,” said Lucas. “Stone Soup is the world’s most topnotch soup, and the best part is that all we need to make it are three large stones and a large pot of water.”

“Here’s a stone,” said George.

“And here’s another,” said Henry.


Perfectamente,” said Lucas, who was fluent in Spanish, too. “Then if we could just find a large iron pot, we could make the soup ourselves, and we wouldn’t bedevil anyone.”

“I know where we can get a pot,” said the girl. She ran to the blacksmith’s shop. But she didn’t even have to knock. The blacksmith had been eavesdropping through his door.

“I’m impelled to profess that I’m inquisitive about this Stone Soup,” he said. “I’ll lend you a pot.” He and the girl carried it out to the town square.

Fantastico,” said Lucas. “Now, we just need to fill this pot with water, and we’ll start our Stone Soup cooking. We won’t have to hassle anyone else.”

Several people popped out of their houses and shops carrying buckets of water. They discharged the water into the cauldron.

The carpenter popped out of his shop. “Do you need some firewood?” he asked. He carried an armload of wood to the square and began building a fire.

George, Henry, and the girl each dropped a stone into the pot. Everyone stood watching Lucas stir the soup.


“Mmm,” said Lucas. “It already smells so delicious. And we really don’t need anything else. But!”

“But what?” asked the girl.

“This Stone Soup looks a tad rarefied,” confessed Lucas. “Stone Soup is best when it has a bit of barley and some meat in it.”

“I have some barley,” said the baker, popping out of his shop. He brought a bowl full of barley and tossed it into the soup.

“I have a side of beef that I just sundered,” said the butcher. He came out with two platters piled high with cubes of beef and dropped the meat into the pot.

“Ah,” said Lucas, stirring and sniffing. “The soup looks much better now. But, oh dear!”

“What?” asked the townies.

“This Stone Soup would be even better with a little onion, or leeks, and a bit of salt.”

The grocer brought onions, leeks, and salt. Other townspeople turned up carrying a few items from their homes. They brought potatoes, turnips, parsnips, carrots, and celery. They also brought some herbs. They had some thyme, rosemary, and oregano, and they added it to the pottage. All of these were chopped up and tossed into the pot.


Magnifico,” said Lucas. He stirred, sniffed, and then took a little taste. He stood up, erect. All the townspeople watched and waited. Finally, Lucas said, “It is faultless.” The townspeople sighed with jubilance. “Except,” said Lucas, “I forgot one very important thing.”

“What? What? What?” the townspeople asked.

“Stone Soup is best when it is shared.”

The townspeople shouted, “HUZZAH!” They brought out tables and chairs. They brought out bowls and cups and spoons. They brought out fresh apple cider, loaves of crusty bread, and fig pies. They talked and laughed with the soldiers and ate and ate and ate.

They ate every last bit of Stone Soup. That’s all except for the three stones, which sat at the bottom of the pot.

“Thank you for teaching us to make Stone Soup,” said the girl. She peered into the pot. “But the stones are still there. Why didn’t they get cooked into the soup?”

“That’s odd,” said Lucas. He winked at the girl and whispered, “Perhaps you were right in the first place. Perhaps you can’t make soup from stones, after all.”

With their stomachs full and spirits raised, the three soldiers waved goodbye to the little girl and the townspeople, and they continued on their long march home.


Lesson 49 – Beatrix Potter

The Tale Of Jemima Puddle Duck

NEW WORDS: Kep, alighted, awe, beautifully, brushwood, burdened, bushy, clumsily, coattail, collie, conscientious, elegantly, escorted, foxgloves, foxhound, gobbled, greeny, howls, limping, nestful, sackful, skimmed, snippets, squealing, suffocating, uneasily, woodshed

What a funny sight this is. A brood of ducklings with a hen! Listen to the story of Jemima Puddle-duck. She was quite annoyed. That’s because of the farmer’s wife. She wouldn’t let her hatch her own eggs.

Her sister-in-law is Mrs. Rebecca Puddle-duck. She was perfectly willing to leave the hatching to someone else. “I don’t have the patience to sit on a nest for twenty-eight days. And you don’t, either, Jemima. You would let them go cold. You know you would!”

Jemima Puddle-duck quacked at her. “I wish to hatch my own eggs. I’ll hatch them myself.” She tried to hide her eggs. But they were always found. Then they were carried off. She was desperate. She decided to make her nest away from the farm.

She set off on a fine spring day. She waddled along the cart road that leads over the hill. She was wearing a shawl and a blue bonnet. She reached the top of the hill. There, she saw some woods in the distance. She thought that it looked like a safe, quiet spot.

Now, she was not much in the habit of flying. She ran downhill a few yards. She was flapping her shawl. And then she jumped into the air. She flew beautifully when she got a good start.


She skimmed along over the treetops. Soon, she saw an open place in the middle of the woods. The trees and brushwood had been cleared there. Jemima landed rather clumsily. Then she began to waddle about. She went in search of a convenient, dry nesting place. She rather fancied a tree stump that she spied. It was amongst some tall foxglove flowers.

But, someone was seated upon the stump! She was quite startled to see this. It was an elegantly dressed gentleman. He was reading a newspaper. He had black pointy ears. His snout showed off sandy-colored whiskers.

“Quack?” said Jemima Puddle-duck. Her head and her bonnet were tilted to one side. “Quack?”

The gentleman raised his eyes above his newspaper. He looked curiously at Jemima. “Madam? Have you lost your way?” said he. He had a long bushy tail. He was sitting on it, as the stump was somewhat damp.

Jemima thought him mighty civil. Handsome, too. She explained that she had not lost her way. She said that she was trying to find a convenient, dry nesting place.


“Ah! Is that so? Indeed!” said the gentleman. He still looked curiously at her. He folded up the newspaper. He put it in his coattail pocket.

Jemima complained of the annoying hen we talked about earlier. He said, “Indeed! How interesting! I wish I could meet with that fowl. I would teach her to mind her own business! But as to a nest? There is no problem. I have a sackful of feathers in my woodshed. No, my dear madam. You’ll be in no one’s way. You may sit there as long as you like.”

He led the way. They walked to a very old, dismal-looking house. It rested among the foxgloves. It was built of branches and grass. There were two broken pails. One was on top of another. They acted like a chimney.

“This is my summer residence. You would not find my winter house so convenient,” said the hospitable gentleman. There was a tumbledown shed. It was at the back of the house. It was made of old soap boxes. The gentleman opened the shed door. He showed Jemima in.


The shed was almost full of feathers. It was almost suffocating! But it was comfortable and very soft. Jemima Puddle-duck was rather surprised at what she saw. She wondered how he had found such a vast quantity of feathers. But it was very comfortable. So, she made a nest. It was no trouble at all for her.

She finally came out. The sandy-whiskered gentleman sat on a log. He was reading the newspaper. At least he had it spread out. But he was looking over the top of it. He was so polite. He seemed almost sorry to let Jemima go home for the night. He promised to take great care of her nest. She told him that she would come back again the next day.

He said that he loved eggs and ducklings. He should be proud to see a fine nestful in his woodshed. Jemima Puddle-duck came every afternoon. She laid nine eggs in the nest. They were greeny-white. They were all very large. The foxy gentleman admired them immensely. He used to turn them over and count them. That’s when Jemima was not there.

At last, Jemima told him her plans. She intended to begin to sit the next day. “I will bring a bag of corn with me. That way, I’ll never need to leave my nest until the eggs are hatched. They might catch cold,” said the conscientious Jemima.


“Madam, I beg you not to trouble yourself with a bag. I will provide oats to you. But let’s do one thing before you commence your tedious sitting. I intend to give you a treat. Let’s have a dinner party, all to ourselves! May I ask you to bring up some herbs from the farm garden? They will help to make a savory omelet. Sage and thyme. Mint and two onions. And some parsley. I’ll provide lard for the omelet,” said the hospitable gentleman with sandy whiskers.

Alas, Jemima Puddle-duck was a simpleton. Not too bright! Not even the mention of sage and onions made her suspicious. She went around the garden. She nibbled off snippets of the many different sorts of herbs that he had asked for. She didn’t know it. But these types of herbs are used for stuffing a roast duck! Poor Jemima Puddle-duck!

So, she waddled into the kitchen. She got two onions out of a basket. The collie dog Kep met her coming out. He asked some questions. “What are you doing with those onions? Where do you go every afternoon by yourself, Jemima Puddle-duck?”


Jemima was rather in awe of the collie. She told him the whole story. The collie listened intently. He kept his wise head turned to one side. Then, he grinned when she described the polite gentleman with sandy whiskers. Kep smelled a rat!!!

He asked many things about the woods where she was nesting. He asked about the exact position of the house and shed. Then he went out. He trotted down to the village. He went to look for two foxhound puppies. He was going to ask for their help. There they were. They were out on a walk with the butcher.

Jemima Puddle-duck went up the cart road for the last time. It was on a sunny afternoon. She was rather burdened with bunches of herbs. And the two onions in a bag were heavy. She flew over the woods. She alighted opposite the house of the bushy, long-tailed gentleman.

He was sitting on a log. He sniffed the air. He kept glancing uneasily around the woods. Jemima landed. He quite jumped. “Come into the house as soon as you’ve looked at your eggs. Give me the herbs for the omelet. Come quickly!”


He was rather abrupt. Jemima Puddle-duck had never heard him speak like that! He had been so polite all the time. She felt surprised and uncomfortable. She was inside the shed. Then, she heard pattering feet round the back of it. Someone with a black nose sniffed at the bottom of the door. And then he locked it! She couldn’t get out!

Jemima became much alarmed. A moment afterward there were the most awful noises. She heard barking, baying, growls and howls, squealing and groans. Then the noise stopped. Oddly, nothing more was ever seen of that foxy-whiskered gentleman!

Presently, Kep opened the door of the shed. He let out Jemima Puddle-duck. Unfortunately, the two puppies rushed right in. They gobbled up all the eggs before he could stop them. The dogs looked a bit hurt. Kep had a bite on his ear. And both the puppies were limping. Jemima just didn’t get it. They had saved her life! Why was the shed full of feathers? Because that fox had roasted many an unwary duck!

Jemima Puddle-duck was escorted home in tears. She was so sad to have lost those eggs. But, she laid some more in June. She was permitted to keep them herself, this time. But only four of them hatched. Jemima Puddle-duck said that it was because of her nerves. But she had always been a bad sitter!







In this photo, Roger Federer is holding up his trophy for winning the U.S. Tennis Open.


A “caliph” was the ruler of the Ottoman Empire from 1571 to 1924.


Our new boss is named Joseph Thompson.


In the Bible, a “seraph” is one of the celestial beings hovering above God’s throne in Isaiah’s vision.


This photo from the late 1800s shows people being transported in a phaeton, a light four-wheeled carriage.


In ancient Greece, a “phalanx” was a group of heavily armed infantry formed in ranks and files.


I love the music from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Phantom of the Opera.”


King Tut is probably the best known pharaoh name from ancient Egypt.


The human body’s pharynx connects the mouth and nasal passages with the esophagus.


The air force is phasing in a new radar technology with its new fighter plane purchases.


I fell prey to a phishing scam, and the criminals got personal information about me.


I am learning to use Photoshop from a great website called “Phlearn.”


Mom is on a business trip to Phoenix, Arizona.


A “phoneme” is a basic unit of speech sound, where each language has its own set of phonemes.


The term “phonics” relates to figuring out what sound each letter in a given word makes.


My cousin Phyllis loves to play pickleball.


Sir Isaac Newton lived in the 1600s and 1700s, and he’s considered one of the greatest minds ever in understanding the science of physics.


That asphalt is way too hot to walk bare-footed on.


A “sophist” was in a class of professional teachers in ancient Greece, and the word can be a synonym for a “philosopher.”


Camphor is obtained from a tree, and it is used as a treatment for infectious pain and itching.


Rather than calling the eldest son of the King of France (1300s to 1800s) a “prince,” he was called a “dauphin.”


In ancient Greece, the “Delphic Oracle” supposedly delivered messages from the god Apollo to humans.


I never can remember what the differences are between a dolphin and a porpoise.


My daughter has become a big fan of graphic novels.


A gryphon (also “griffin”) is a fictional fabled monster with the head and wings of an eagle and the body of a human.


In the Bible, each of these four men is considered a “major prophet“: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel.


You’d better tell the teacher that Louis just ralphed in the rest room.


Sulphur can very often be found in volcanic areas and hot springs.


A digraph is when two letters “combine” to make a sound unlike either letter’s individual sounds, such as in:  TH, SH, CH, PH, GH.


From a distance, we watched the clumsy giant troll galumph down the mountainside.


The crowds cheered the President’s triumph in her reelection.


The professor will harrumph every time he thinks he’s made an astute or witty remark.


Mrs. Phillips, our school’s librarian, helped me find some good books today.



I wish that I could get rid of this hacking cough.


Not many people are going to laugh at your lousy jokes.


Mom says that she had a rough day at work today.


I overcooked the roast, and I’m afraid it’s a little tough to chew.


The doc said that I have one of the worst coughs that she’s heard in a while.


Okay class, enough playing around; we need to get back to work!


She has one of the oddest, high-pitched laughs that I’ve ever heard.


When a snake will slough off its outer skin, it’s called “molting.”


The pigs are moving toward their water trough.


Gross, the cat just coughed up a big hairball.


I laughed so hard at that movie that my ribs hurt.


I need some rougher sandpaper than this, for this particular job.


Unfortunately, today’s test was tougher than I expected it to be.


I love your unrough skin after you’ve shaved.


I was coughing so much last night that I slept very poorly.


Stop laughing at me, or I’ll throw this glass of water on you!


Lots of laughter helps you to forget your problems.


This may be the roughest surface that I’ve ever tried to walk barefoot on.


The other team had the toughest defense that we’ve played against this season.







Core Knowledge (R) Independent Reading 

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

Lesson 50 – Part One

NEW WORDS: Alfred, Gus’s, absentminded, ack, agony, crackling, dajesty, darkened, dold, fearless, generous, groaning, guffumffffff, itching, knight’s, majesty, neared, nevermind, nightfall, relaxing, reluctant, snnniccck, snnnniccck, snnnuummm, snnnuuuummmm, swollen, thumping, thunderous, troll’s, trolls

Introduction: Sir Gus and His Stuff
This reader tells the tale of Sir Gus, a knight. In the past, there really were knights like Sir Gus. Knights helped kings and queens keep their lands safe. Here are some of the things a knight would have used. Lance, Shield, Spear, Sword.

Knights rode on horses and helped defend castles. Knight, Castle. Sir Gus.


Chapter One: The Beginning
Long before you were born, in a place we can no longer find, there was a king. King Alfred was his name. King Alfred was in charge of a large land that stretched from the dark forests of the north, to the sea in the south. The people of this land were very happy with him as their king. King Alfred liked to have fun. He liked parties and feasts. He was fair and kind, and he kept his people safe.

King Alfred could not do this all by himself. He had twelve knights to help him keep his lands peaceful and his people safe. These brave knights — well, sometimes they were brave — helped to keep bad things from happening.


The most well-known knight of all was Sir Gus the Fearless. The king himself had given Sir Gus the name “Fearless.” This was an odd name, for Sir Gus was not entirely fearless. In fact, he had a lot of fears.

Sir Gus was scared of the dark. He was scared of mice and bats and spiders. He did not like boats, and he could not swim. Shadows and loud noises made him faint. In fact, lots of things made Sir Gus faint.

Sir Gus had all the things a knight must have. He had a shield and a lance. He had a spear and a sword. But Sir Gus liked a long soak in a bathtub better than a fight.

Cats and horses made Sir Gus itch. Sometimes the itching was so bad that he would start jumping up and down. Sir Gus was rather absentminded. He got lost a lot and could rarely tell which way to go. Sir Gus found it difficult to get up in the morning. He liked to sleep in, so he was late most of the time.

All in all, Sir Gus was a rather odd knight. But King Alfred did not see this. What he saw was that Sir Gus always served him well.


Chapter Two: The Thief
One dark and stormy night, while King Alfred was sleeping, a thief crept into his bedroom and stole the king’s golden ring. The next morning, when the king woke up, he saw that his ring was gone! The king was very sad.

“Someone stole my ring!” he cried in agony. “It was my father’s ring, and his father’s before him. It is a king’s ring. I must have it back!” King Alfred was so upset in the morning; he could not eat his herring on toast.

King Alfred summoned his twelve brave knights. Eleven of them came at once on horseback. Sir Gus the Fearless came later, on foot. Sir Gus explained why he was late. He explained that he had lost his horse.

“Why, good sir,” said the king, “you will not get very far on foot!”

“Yes, my lord. I mean no, my lord,” replied Sir Gus. “The problem is, your majesty, that when I am on my horse, I itch. I had such a bad itch last night that I fell off my horse, and it ran off.”


“Well, you must stop itching then,” said the king.

“Yes, indeed,” replied Sir Gus, trying very hard not to itch.

Then the king told the knights what had happened. He told them he was counting on them to recover his ring. The next day, at sunrise, eleven of the knights galloped off to find the thief. Some time after lunch, Sir Gus was awakened by the king himself. “Not up yet?” asked the king.

“Pardon me, my lord,” stammered Sir Gus. “I was just . . .”

Nevermind!” said the king. “There’s no need to explain. Why should you be up at the crack of dawn? For what can a knight do without a horse? But never fear! I have a gift for you. You may take my horse. But you must be careful, Sir Gus. My horse is the fastest in the land.”

Sir Gus got out of bed. He stretched and yawned loudly. Then he got dressed. “Do not fear,” said Sir Gus, as he mounted the horse. “I am an — ” And with that, Sir Gus was carried off. The king’s horse had shot off like an arrow.


Chapter Three: All’s Well That Ends Well
Sir Gus rode the king’s horse out into the country. He galloped over green land and lovely rolling hills. All was well, until he began to itch. He scratched his leg. He scratched his neck. He tried to scratch his back and nearly fell off the horse. Nothing seemed to help. At last Sir Gus told himself that he had better stop, lest he scratch himself right off of the king’s horse!

Sir Gus stopped in front of a farmhouse. Near the farmhouse was a stone well. Standing near the well was a young, strong-looking man. Sir Gus spoke to the young man politely. “Pardon me, good sir,” he said, “may I drink from your well?”

“Yes, you may,” said the young man.

Sir Gus went to draw water from the well. He grabbed the rope and began to tug on it. But then he felt the need to scratch. He let go of the rope and started itching himself. Soon, he was scratching himself so hard that he started jumping up and down. He jumped up and down so much that he fell into the well and landed with a splash at the bottom. “Ack!” cried Sir Gus. “What have I done?”


It was a good thing that Sir Gus was tall. The water in the well only came up to his chest. The young man peered down into the well. “Have no fear!” he shouted to Sir Gus. “I will help you. I will drop the bucket down. Take hold of it, and I will lift you up.”

Sir Gus waited nervously at the bottom of the dark well. He did not like the dark or the cold water. His legs began to shiver and shake. The bucket came down the well. Sir Gus grabbed the bucket and held on tight. Slowly, the young man began to bring Sir Gus up out of the well.

As Sir Gus reached the top of the well, the young man offered the knight his hand. “Young man,” said Sir Gus, as he stepped out of the well, “I am touched by your generous deed. I would like to thank you for helping me. What is your name?”

“My name is Robin,” replied the man.

“Well, then, Robin,” said Sir Gus, “I thank you.”


“You are welcome,” said Robin. The two men shook hands. Robin clasped the knight’s hand so tightly that water dripped from his glove. Robin smiled. “Come into my house,” he said. “I will find you some dry clothing.” Sir Gus went inside. “Sit down,” said Robin. “I will fetch you some dry clothing and something to drink.” Robin left the room.

Sir Gus sat down on a wooden chair. As he did so, a large black cat jumped onto his lap. At once, Sir Gus began to itch all over. He got up and started jumping up and down. He jumped so hard that he knocked over a chair and bumped into a shelf. Some things fell off the shelf. As he bent down to pick these things up, Sir Gus spotted a ring. It was the king’s ring! Robin was the robber!

Sir Gus stood thinking for a moment. “There is no point fighting with the man,” Sir Gus said to himself. “That would be dangerous. I can tell by his grip that he is very strong.” Sir Gus grabbed the ring. Then he tiptoed quietly out of the house. He mounted his horse and rode back to see the king.


Chapter Four: The Hungry Troll
King Alfred was delighted when Sir Gus gave him his ring. “How did you find it so quickly?” he asked.

Sir Gus shrugged and said, “It was nothing, sire — just a bit of good luck.”

“I see that you are not only brave and clever,” said the king. “You are modest, as well!”

The king slipped the ring back on his finger. Then he had all his other knights come to a meeting. “Knights,” he said, “brave Sir Gus has recovered my ring. You may all go home.”

The knights rode off to their homes in the country. They carried with them the story of Sir Gus and the king’s ring. The story was told far and wide. Sir Gus became a very famous knight.

For a long time, all was well. Each day the king would hunt, fish, and eat. Each night he slept peacefully in his bed. Months passed. Then one snowy winter morning, there came the sound of thunder. Except it was not thunder. It was the thunderous cry of a troll.

The troll had woken from a long sleep. It was very hungry. A troll is a monstrous beast. It will eat a lot of things, but it is very fond of people. King Alfred was frightened. He woke up when the troll cried out. He feared for the safety of his kingdom. He sent for his knights.


At once, eleven brave knights came. They, too, were woken by the loud cry of the troll. However, Sir Gus the Fearless did not come. The cries of the troll had not woken him. He was still tucked up in bed snoring. At last, the king could wait no longer. He sent one of the other knights to fetch Sir Gus.

Sometime after lunch, Sir Gus came. He was tired and hungry. He had a bad cold. His nose was swollen and red. “What kept you?” asked the king. “Did you not hear the sound of the troll?”

“Doe, your dajesty,” said Sir Gus, “I did dot. I have a dold in my doze,” replied Sir Gus.

“Well, it must have stopped up your ears, too!” said the king. “Hear me, knights! I am concerned. We must do something to stop this monstrous troll! We must keep this loathsome beast from eating all of the people in my kingdom! Who has a plan?”

“If I may, your majesty,” said the knight known as Sir Tom, “I know that trolls are scared of fire. We could make a fire near the troll’s home and scare it.”

“I like it!” said the king. “See that it is done!” Eleven of the knights went to get torches. Then they rode off to find the troll. Sir Gus, however, did not ride off at once. He crept into the king’s kitchen and helped himself to a big slice of pie.


Chapter Five: Fire!
It was not hard to find the troll. Trolls cry when they are hungry. The knights simply followed the sound of loud sobs and eating. As nightfall neared, the knights arrived at the foot of a large hill. The troll had spent all day eating the rocks and plants on the hill. All that was left on the hill were some prickly plants and some old, dying trees.

Near the top of the hill was a cave. Scary troll sounds were coming from inside the cave. The knights met in a grove at the foot of the hill. They knelt down and made a plan. “When it is dark we will light our torches,” said Sir Tom. “Then we will creep up the hill. The sight of the flames will scare the troll, and it will go back to its home beneath the ground.”

“And what if that plan fails?” asked Sir Ed. “I don’t care to be the troll’s dinner.”

“Well, do you have a better plan?” asked Sir Tom. Sir Ed said nothing. The other knights were quiet, as well. At that very moment came the sound of a horse trotting nearby.

“Found you at last!” said Sir Gus, as he rode up to the knights. “So, my fellow knights, tell me, have you devised a plan of attack to defeat this monstrous troll?”


“Yes, we have!” said Sir Tom. “We have agreed that our bravest knight will creep up the hill with a torch and frighten the troll away.”

“Splendid idea!” said Sir Gus. “And who is going to attempt this brave deed?” he asked, looking around.

“You!” said Sir Tom and Sir Ed together.

“But, but . . . well . . . I . . . er . . . um . . .,” said a reluctant Sir Gus. It was no good trying to get out of it. Sir Tom handed Sir Gus a lit torch. Then he pointed at the cave.

Sir Gus went up the hill alone. By the time he reached the mouth of the cave, it was pitch black. The lit torch cast shadows on the ground. Sir Gus looked around him. He saw shadows dancing on the ground. He was afraid. But he pressed on.

From inside the cave came alarming troll sounds. “Snnniccck, Snnnuummm, Guffumffffff!” The troll was eating bits of rock with its sharp teeth, then spitting out the bits it did not like. Sir Gus approached the cave. Small pieces of rock came flying out. Some of them landed at Sir Gus’s feet. Sir Gus jumped back, trying to avoid the flying pieces of rock.


Suddenly there was a thumping sound. Thump! Thump! Thump! The troll was coming out of the cave! As the troll got closer, the sounds got louder. “SNNNNICCCK, SNNNUUUUMMMM, GUFFUMFFFFFF!”

Sir Gus was afraid. He started to feel weak in the knees. At last he fainted. His torch fell to the ground. It landed on some dry, prickly plants near the mouth of the cave. The plants caught on fire. The flames got bigger quickly. From inside the cave came a scream. Then came the thumping sound of a large beast running away. Soon, all that remained was the sound of crackling flames.

Sir Gus lay on the ground for a while. At last, the heat from the fire woke him. He got up and ran back down the hill. When Sir Gus appeared, the knights shouted, “Hooray! Brave Sir Gus lit the fire! He has driven away the troll! Hooray for Sir Gus!”


Chapter Six: The Boat Trip
Word of how Brave Sir Gus had driven away the troll went across the kingdom. The tale soon reached King Alfred. The king was so grateful to Sir Gus that he changed his name from Sir Gus the Fearless to Sir Gus the Utterly Fearless. Sir Gus was given a splendid, but rather large, red robe to keep as a symbol of his bravery.

To celebrate the defeat of the troll, the king invited his knights to go hunting with him. Eleven of the knights rode off with the king to hunt for red deer and wild pigs. Sir Gus, however, didn’t go. He did not like hunting. It was far too dangerous. Rather than go hunting, Sir Gus took a long, relaxing bath. Then he went to the kitchen to see what tasty foods were being prepared.


The next day, King Alfred decided to go sailing on his boat. He insisted that his knights all go with him. And so, right after lunch, the knights made their way south to the coast. One by one, they stepped onto the king’s boat. Sir Gus wanted to tell the king that he did not like boats or water. In fact, the two together made him very sick, indeed. But he didn’t want to upset the king, so he joined the party.

It was a nice afternoon when the boat set sail. The sun shone. The water was calm. There was not a cloud in the sky. The king appeared on deck. “Isn’t this wonderful?” he said. “Sir Gus, I trust you are having a wonderful time?”

“Yes, indeed, I am,” replied Sir Gus, lying.

Then, late in the afternoon, the sky