Module D – Lessons 51 to 60


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Click here for Lesson 52
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Click here for Lesson 54
Click here for Lesson 55
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Click here for Lesson 58
Click here for Lesson 59
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Core Knowledge (R) Independent Reading 

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

Sir Gus 

Lesson 51 – Part Two

NEW WORDS: Alfred’s, Henry’s, Ivan, apologize, ar, assembly, award, bundled, carcass, dazed, fearsome, icing, joust, jousting, llama, medal, nautical, ooooooe, uuuuuug, vengeful

Chapter Seven: The King’s Ghost
Ar! Do as we say or die!” came the sound of a large booming voice from somewhere on the water. King Alfred and eleven of his knights jumped with fright. They had all tried to sail the boat in the stormy waves and strong winds. They looked up to see a pirate ship flying a black flag. The pirate ship had sailed up next to the king’s boat.

The king and the eleven knights were not prepared to fight. The knights did not have their swords or shields with them. “I will count to ten,” shouted the pirate chief. “If you do not hand over the king and his boat by then, we will attack! We do not care to harm you, but if we must, then we must!”

The pirate chief began to count, “One, two . . . um.” He hesitated. (Pirates aren’t good at math!) “Three,” came a voice from below. It was Sir Gus. He was lying down below the deck, and he was feeling very ill. Sir Gus was so ill that he had no idea what was happening. The strong winds had kept him from hearing what the pirate chief had said. All he could make out was the sound of someone counting.


“Thank you,” said the pirate chief. He went on counting. “Seven, eight, nine…”

Uuuuuug! Ooooooe!” came a loud and scary sound from inside King Alfred’s boat. “Uuuuuug! Ooooooe!”

“What is that hideous sound?” yelled the pirate.

“It is the ghost of our last king, and it protects our ship!” replied Sir Tom. Sir Tom was well aware that, in fact, the hideous sound was coming from Sir Gus, who was feeling very sick indeed, but he was hoping to scare the pirates away with a ghost story.

“Uuuuuug! Ooooooe!” came the sound again.

“If you harm the king,” Sir Tom shouted, “you will be haunted by this evil, vengeful ghost! I will count to ten, and you had better go away, you thief! The ghost would rather not harm you, but if it must, then it must.”


Pirates are very afraid of ghosts. And so, within seconds, the pirate ship began to sail away. Not long after, the clouds cleared, and the waves died down. Sir Gus felt some relief and came limping back up on deck.

“Well done, Sir Gus!” said the king. “You scared those evil pirates away by pretending to be a ghost.”

“I did?” said Sir Gus, still looking rather green in the face.

“Why, yes!” said the king. “Such a clever and helpful trick! How can I ever repay you for your wisdom and bravery? Perhaps I should award you a medal?”

“Your majesty,” said Sir Gus, “the best payment of all would be if you would order the captain to sail this boat back to land. I find the nautical life not to agree with me.” And with that, the king’s boat sailed for home.


Chapter Eight: The Letter
The story of how Sir Gus saved the king from pirates traveled across the land. People began to tell tales of Brave Sir Gus. The king thanked his knights and gave them presents. Sir Gus was given a shiny medal and a silver cup. Then, after several parties at the palace, the knights went back to their homes.

The kingdom remained peaceful and calm for several months. Then one day, the king was given a letter that told of danger. The King summoned his knights to the palace. Just as before, eleven of the twelve knights arrived at once. However, it was several days before Sir Gus the Utterly Fearless appeared, looking dazed and dented.

“I am glad to see that you have arrived at last,” said the king.

Sir Gus knelt down. “Your majesty, I apologize for my late arrival. I had a nasty run-in with a llama near the Old Stone Bridge,” explained the knight.


“A llama?” exclaimed the king. “I didn’t know that we had llamas in our kingdom.”

“Indeed, nor did I, your majesty,” replied Sir Gus.

Then the king called an assembly of all of his brave knights. “Good knights,” said the king, “my people have told me that there is a fearsome beast in the Bleak Forest of the East. It is said that this beast can make flames come out of its mouth. Which of you noble knights will do battle with this terrible beast?”

Sir Gus was looking at a fly buzz around the room, so he did not hear much of what the king said. He did not see that his fellow knights had all taken a step back, leaving him standing alone in front of the king. “Once again, Sir Gus the Utterly Fearless will save us!” proclaimed the king, as he patted the rather astonished knight on the back. Sir Gus looked puzzled. The other knights smiled and chuckled.


Chapter Nine: The Fearsome Beast
The next morning, long after everyone else had eaten their morning meal, Sir Gus awoke, much rested but not eager to set off. He yawned. He stretched. He took a bath. He had lunch. At last, he mounted his horse. But he soon faced another problem: he could not tell which way was east.

Sir Gus could seldom tell which way to travel. He rarely saw the morning sun, so he did not know that it rose in the east. But knowing that he did indeed need to begin, he sniffed the afternoon air, flipped a coin, and rode north.

Sir Gus rode north into the Woods of Doom. He rode for a week. The days got shorter and colder. Sir Gus did not know why. Another thing Sir Gus did not know was that the Woods of Doom were very dangerous. So, he was not prepared when, from out of nowhere, there appeared a band of armed men. The men were bandits. They grabbed Sir Gus and tied him up.


The bandits bundled Sir Gus into the back of a wagon. Then, with much speed, they began to travel southeast. About a week later, the bandits arrived at the Bleak Forest of the East. There, not far from the Dark Dismal Swamp, they made camp. The bandits had some dinner and went to sleep.

The next morning, while the bandits were still sleeping, something deep inside the forest began to creep closer to their camp. It was the fearsome beast. It had eyes of red flame. It had claws that could shred the hardest stone. It shot fiery flames that could melt metal. And it was going to pounce on the sleeping men.

Sir Gus had relaxed for the better part of a week as he bumped along in the wagon. He was feeling well rested. So, in spite of the fact that it was morning, and in spite of the fact that his arms were tied, he decided to try to get up.

After a long struggle, Gus was able to stand up in the wagon. Just as he stood up, the fearsome beast grunted and charged in to attack. Sir Gus spun around as best he could to see what had made the sound. The bright morning sun shone on his shiny helmet. The sunlight bounced off his helmet and shone on the fearsome beast.


The flash of sunlight shone in the eyes of the fearsome beast and blinded it. The beast screamed and ran away. But it could not see. It ran into the Dark Dismal Swamp and sank in the deep mud. The bandits, having woken with a start, fled as well. They scrambled into the wagon and drove away as quickly as they could. As they drove off, Gus fell out of the wagon. He landed on the ground with a thud.

Sir Gus the Utterly Fearless lay on the ground for two days, unable to get up. At last a hunter spotted him and untied him. Sir Gus thanked the hunter. Then he made his way back to the king’s palace on foot. When he arrived, the king was just sitting down for his dinner. Sir Gus knelt and spoke to him. “Your majesty,” he said, “I am happy to report that the fearsome beast lies at the bottom of the Dark Dismal Swamp.”

“Well done, Sir Gus!” said the king. “Well done!” The king called all his knights to a meeting. “Sir Gus has killed the fearsome beast and tossed its carcass into the Dark Dismal Swamp,” the king announced. “Thanks to his brave actions, the kingdom is safe. You may all go home.”


Chapter Ten: The King’s Birthday
Six months passed until King Alfred saw his knights. This time he did not need their help, but he asked them to come to his birthday party. The king had asked 500 people to join him. He had made plans for a large feast, as well as jousting, magic, and dancing. Everyone was very excited.

The palace was filled with five thousand candles. Gold cloth was draped on the walls. King Alfred had planned a treat for everyone. Just as the jousting was about to begin, a thousand white doves were to be released into the sky above the palace.

King Alfred asked King Henry, the king of another kingdom, to attend the birthday party. The twelve knights were coming, too. King Henry’s knights were going to challenge King Alfred’s knights in jousting. The winners would get 100 gold coins each.

On the day of the party, the king met with some of his knights. “This is going to be the best party ever!” said the excited king. “I am eager to see each of you joust. I think King Henry and his knights will be amazed by your skill.”

“Winning will be our birthday gift to you, Sire!” said Sir Pete.

“We are the most feared knights of all time!” said Sir Tom. “We will crush them! We will make them cry!”


Sir Gus looked on as his fellow knights boasted of their skill. He did not join them. In fact, he was very nervous. He was hoping that he would not start itching and fall off his horse.

“I know you will win,” said the king. “And that will make a fine birthday present. I thank you in advance!” The knights began to file out. “Sir Gus!” called the king.

“Your majesty?” said Sir Gus.

“Do you like my birthday cake?” asked the king.

“Yes, Sire.”

“Do you see how the royal baker made a tiny king out of icing that looks just like me?”

“Yes, Sire.”

“It is a wonderful birthday present! But the best present of all will be seeing you defeat Sir Ivan the Black Knight in the jousting.”

“Sir Ivan?” asked Sir Gus nervously.

“Yes,” said the king. “He has made quite a fearsome name for himself. But I trust that you will beat him.” Sir Gus was too scared to speak. “Well, then,” said the king. “Off you go! And happy birthday to me!”

Core Knowledge (R) Independent Reading 

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

Lesson 52 – Part Three

NEW WORDS: Albert, Doug, arena, basil, basil’s, betrayed, cloudless, dungeon, dusted, eagerness, enemy’s, fighter, fighters, helmets, lances, nobles, opponent, prisoners, recalling, requested, retreating, revealed, revenge, rival, scarier, spectacle, strands, summon, treason, tremble, wizard’s

Chapter Eleven: Betrayed
When all of the nobles and knights were assembled in the arena, King Alfred stood up. He welcomed King Henry, who was seated next to him. Then he gave the command to release the doves. At once, a spectacle of white birds rose up into the clear, cloudless sky. The people gasped. Then they clapped and cheered. Finally, everyone sat down to see the knights joust.

Sir Ed rode out. He was dressed like a knight prepared for battle. His horse was draped in red, as King Alfred had requested. His opponent was a knight called Sir Basil. Sir Basil’s horse was draped in gold. Sir Ed smiled at the cheering crowd. When King Alfred gave the command, the jousting began. The rival knights held their lances. Then they charged at each other. Within seconds, Sir Ed had knocked Sir Basil to the ground. The crowd stood up and clapped loudly.


Next to enter the arena was Sir Gus. He rode in on the king’s horse. His opponent was Sir Ivan. Sir Ivan was known to be a very fearsome knight. He was called the Black Knight because both he and his horse dressed mostly in black.

Sir Gus and his horse faced the Black Knight. Sir Gus was hoping that he would not begin to itch. He was hoping he would not faint. When the king gave the command, Sir Gus picked up his lance, closed his eyes, and charged at Sir Ivan.

With one blow from the Black Knight’s lance, Sir Gus was knocked clean off his horse. He landed on the ground with a thud. His helmet rolled off to one side. The crowd gasped. They waited for their hero, Sir Gus the Utterly Fearless, to get up. But Sir Gus did not get up. He was knocked out, which is just as well really, because what happened next would have scared him to death.


Chapter Twelve: The Wizard
King Henry had a wizard with him. The wizard’s name was Albert. Shortly after Sir Gus was knocked off his horse, Albert the wizard jumped into the arena. Some people hoped that he was going to help Sir Gus, but it soon became clear that he had other plans.

Albert ran into the center of the arena and began to cast a spell. He lifted his arms and screeched out some magic words. Flames rose up into the air. The crowd gasped. The wizard cast a sleeping spell. The crowd fell asleep. King Alfred and his knights fell asleep, too. The only people who did not fall asleep were King Henry, his knights, and the wizard himself.

You see, King Henry was only pretending to be a good king. In fact, he was a very wicked king. With the help of his wizard and his knights, he hoped to take over King Alfred’s kingdom. King Henry spoke to the Black Knight. He told him to carry King Alfred to the dungeon below the palace. Then King Henry went to say thank you to his wizard.


“Good job, Albert! Well done!” said King Henry. “How long will this spell of yours last?”

“It will last for 100 years,” replied Albert, “unless someone finds out how to undo it, and that is very unlikely. You see,” the wizard explained in a whisper, “there is only one thing that can break the spell and wake everyone up. The web of a male garden spider must be rubbed into King Alfred’s left hand. And, as only you and I know the secret, your majesty, it is not going to happen.” King Henry smiled an evil smile and patted his wizard on the back.

“You are a clever wizard,” the king said. “I will see to it that you become very rich. But at the moment, I must summon my army. The troops are waiting in the king’s forest, just west of here. As soon as they hear from me, they will attack.”

The king pointed at Sir Gus, who was lying on the ground. “Because Sir Gus and the rest of King Alfred’s knights are asleep, no one can stop us. We will win easily! Meanwhile, let us go and find out how much gold and silver King Alfred keeps in his palace!” And with that, the king and his wizard left the arena.


Chapter Thirteen: Breaking the Spell
Sir Gus awoke to the sound of doves cooing in his ears. He felt the birds rubbing against his chin. Luckily for him, he was asleep when Albert the Wizard cast his spell. Because he was asleep, Sir Gus was not affected by the spell. The doves that were released when the jousting began had come back to the arena and woken him up.

Sir Gus rubbed his eyes. He lifted himself up off the ground. Then he dusted himself off and looked around. He could not quite believe what he saw. The hundreds of people who were clapping and cheering were now fast asleep — all of them!

Just then, Sir Gus saw the Black Knight ride past. The Black Knight was carrying a sleeping King Alfred away on his horse. Sir Gus followed the Black Knight. He saw him carry the king down the steps that led to the palace dungeon. Sir Gus was confused. “Goodness, what is happening?” he said to himself.


Sir Gus crept down into the dungeon to look for the king. It was very cold and dark in the dungeon. Sir Gus did not like it one bit. He grabbed a torch to help him see in the dark.

The torch made things even scarier, for it let Sir Gus see all of the scary things in the dungeon. He saw water dripping down from the damp walls. He saw puddles. He saw mice and rats running back and forth. Sir Gus shivered. He did not like mice. Nor was he fond of rats. The dungeon was filled with cobwebs and scary spiders. The sight of the spiders made Sir Gus tremble and shake.

Sir Gus made his way past lots of cobwebs. In the end, he found King Alfred asleep in a tiny cell. Sir Gus went into the cell. A bat swooped from one dark corner to another. Sir Gus was afraid of bats. He jumped with fright and ran over to the king. The terrified knight reached for the king’s left hand. As Sir Gus grabbed it, several strands from the web of a male garden spider were rubbed into the king’s left hand. Instantly, the king awoke.


Chapter Fourteen: Looking for the Enemy
“My good knight, what is happening?” asked an astonished King Alfred, as he got up.

“Your majesty,” said Sir Gus, “pardon me, but I am not quite sure. It seems that King Henry and his knights did not come as friends, for I saw the Black Knight place you in this dungeon.” Sir Gus tried to explain as best he could what had happened. However, he could not explain why he had woken up in the jousting arena to find everyone else asleep.

“How are you feeling?” asked the king, recalling that Sir Gus had fallen from his horse in the joust.

“Well, I am still standing,” replied Sir Gus.

“We had better get out of here and find out what is happening,” said the king.

“Yes,” said Sir Gus. “By all means. We must find out what is happening.” But, deep down, Sir Gus was not sure he really cared to find out what was happening.

Slowly, Sir Gus and the king crept out of the dark dungeon. They set off to find King Alfred’s knights. At the same time the king woke up, so did everyone in the palace and the arena. Slowly people began to realize that someone had betrayed King Alfred. It wasn’t long before King Alfred and Sir Gus found the other knights in the palace.


“Your majesty, I rejoice to find you well,” said Sir Tom as he knelt and kissed the king’s ring. “We feared King Henry had taken you from us. It seems he was planning to take over your kingdom.”

“Yes, I am alive, all thanks to Sir Gus,” explained the king. “He found me in the palace dungeon. I am still not sure why he found me asleep in my own dungeon.”

“That is easy to explain,” said Sir Tom. “King Henry’s wizard cast a spell that made everyone sleep. It would seem that somehow the spell did not harm Sir Gus, and he was able to wake you up.”

“In fact, everyone has woken up,” said Sir Ed.
“What about King Henry and his knights?” asked King Alfred. “Where are they?”

“Do not fear, your majesty,” said Sir Ed. “We will find King Henry and his knights, and we will see that they are punished for what they have done.” King Alfred’s knights looked high and low, and in every corner, for King Henry and his knights. But they were nowhere to be found. Somehow, they had all managed to escape. But at least King Alfred was safe.


Chapter Fifteen: Revenge
For a while, King Alfred was very sad. King Henry, his friend, had betrayed him. How could he? Then King Alfred got mad. King Henry, his friend, had betrayed him! How dare he! When you are a king, you must show your enemies how brave and strong you are. Kings don’t do this themselves, as that would be dangerous. They send an army to do it for them. And that is just what King Alfred decided to do.

Late in the afternoon, one month after Albert the Wizard had cast his evil spell, King Alfred held a meeting with his knights. This time all twelve of them arrived on time. “Sit down,” said the king. “I have something important to tell you.”

“We are here to serve you,” said Sir Tom as, one by one, the knights sat down at a long table.

“I know I have told you how much your bravery means to me,” said the king. “I think you are the most excellent knights my kingdom has ever seen, or indeed may ever see.”

“Thank you, your majesty,” said Sir Ed.

“We rejoice to serve you,” said Sir Tom.

“I have decided,” explained the king, “that our kingdom must fight King Henry’s kingdom. We must strike back! We must punish him for his treason and evil deeds!”

“If I may say so,” said Sir Ed, “that is an excellent idea!”


“Indeed!” said Sir Tom. “We should show him who’s boss around here!”

“Just what I was thinking,” replied the king, “and that is why I have decided to send an army to fight against King Henry’s army. I won’t lead the army myself, you know.”

“No, indeed not,” agreed Sir Tom. “That would be silly.”

“Yes, very silly indeed,” said the king with a smile. “No, our most respected knight, the leader among leaders, the fighter among fighters, will lead the army. My other brave knights will assist him.”

Eleven of the twelve knights looked at each other eagerly. Each of them was hoping that the king was going to pick him to lead the army. As the king was about to say which knight he had picked, Sir Gus fell off his chair. The reason for his fall is easy to explain. That afternoon, after eating a large lunch, Sir Gus went to sit in the king’s rose garden. It was there that he was stung by a bee. The bee had stung him on the bottom, and he was finding it very difficult to sit down. In the end, the pain was too much for him. He fell off his chair and landed in front of the king.


Chapter Sixteen: Battle Plans
“Yes, I pick you, Sir Gus! Why, who else would I pick?” said the king. “I have lost count of all the times you have saved me.” You see, the king believed Sir Gus had fallen off his chair in his eagerness to volunteer to lead the army. “You must get started, Sir Gus,” the king went on. “You must prepare your army. The other good knights will assist you with your battle plans. Good luck!” With those words, the king left the room and went off to walk his dog.

Sir Gus was stunned. “Me?” he mumbled.

“Yes, you!” shouted all eleven knights together.

Sir Tom reached for a map of King Henry’s kingdom. “You will need this,” said Sir Tom. He was feeling a little sad that King Alfred had not chosen him, but what could he do? “This map shows all of the hills, rivers, and valleys in King Henry’s kingdom,” Sir Tom explained.

“Thank you,” said Sir Gus. He did not understand why he would need a map that showed hills, rivers, and valleys, unless it was to point out the best places to hide. Still, he took the map and pretended to look at it.


“Sir Gus,” said Sir Tom, “you are holding the map upside down.”

“Am I?” said Sir Gus. Then he added, “Yes, I am. You see, I am trying to get a sense of how things might look from the enemy’s position.”

“What is your plan?” asked Sir Ed. Like Sir Tom, he was sad that he was not chosen to lead the attack. But there was not much he could do about it. “Do you plan a sudden attack at night with some of the army, or an all-out attack at sunrise with the entire army?”

“Sunrise?” said Sir Gus. “That is in the morning. No, I think the attack at night is a much better plan. If you like, Sir Ed, you could lead the sudden attack, and I could stay with the rest of the army and keep them safe.”

“I could not take this moment of glory away from you,” said Sir Ed. “It would not be fair.”

“Sure, you can,” replied Sir Gus. “I mean, you must not feel bad. I have other plans up my sleeve — plans that will soon be revealed.”

“Well, if you really don’t mind,” said Sir Ed, “I would be delighted.” Sir Ed was starting to feel much happier about everything. “I have just one request,” said Sir Ed.


“Yes,” said Sir Gus. “What is it?”

“The Black Knight and his men are camped in the Fields of the West,” explained Sir Ed. “I would like to attack them there. And I would like to take Sir Tom with me. He can lead our knights in battle, while I lead our foot troops.”

“I was just about to say the very same thing,” announced Sir Gus.

“Wonderful!” said Sir Ed. “Excellent!”

“Splendid!” said Sir Tom. “Fantastic!” By this point, Sir Tom and Sir Ed were both feeling a lot happier. “It seems we have a good plan,” said Sir Tom. “We will go and get the horses.”

“Good idea,” said Sir Gus. “I will stay here and make sure that the rest of the army stays safe.” Eleven of the knights went off to prepare for battle. Sir Gus went off to find someone who could stop the awful pain he was feeling in his bottom.


Chapter Seventeen: Marching Orders
The next morning, the knight known as Sir Doug arrived at the palace. He found Sir Gus in the king’s kitchen cooking eggs and bacon. “Good morning!” said a cheery Sir Gus.

“Sir Gus,” cried Sir Doug, “Sir Tom and Sir Ed need your help!”

“They do?” said Sir Gus, who was beginning to suspect that there would be no time to eat breakfast.

“Yes!” replied Sir Doug. “Their sudden night attack in the Fields of the West did not go well. They were engaged in fierce fighting with the Black Knight. They have battled all night. They sent me to beg you to come with the rest of the army and save them! Sir Gus, the rest of the army is awaiting your command.”

“Yes, indeed, my command,” replied Sir Gus, knowing that he must go at once. “Go and saddle the horses! We will ride at once!”


A little while later, Sir Gus appeared in front of the king’s palace. He was dressed for battle and holding the map that Sir Tom had given him. “My friends,” Sir Gus announced, “we will ride south, until we get to the Old Stone Bridge. Then we will use the bridge to cross the Misty River and enter King Henry’s kingdom.”

Sir Doug and the rest of the men looked puzzled. “But, Sir Gus,” said Sir Doug, “the Old Stone Bridge is north of here, not south.”

“Is it?” said Sir Gus. “Then we will ride north.”

“Very well,” said Sir Doug. “But, if you don’t mind my asking, Sir Gus, why should we ride all the way up to the Old Stone Bridge? That will take us ten miles away from the fighting. Sir Ed and Sir Tom need us. Would it not be better to take the quickest way? The battle is just west of here. If we ride west to the river, we can dismount and walk our horses across the river.”

“It is too dangerous,” Sir Gus said. What Sir Gus did not tell them was that he did not know how to swim and was frightened to cross the river on foot. And that was the real reason why Sir Gus and his men rode north.


Chapter Eighteen: The Final Battle
Sir Gus and his men rode north. They reached the Old Stone Bridge just as the sun began to set. There they rested. Meanwhile, the Black Knight waited in the Fields of the West. He had taken Sir Tom and Sir Ed prisoner. He was sure King Alfred would send the rest of his army to try to free them. He was sure that King Alfred’s army would come charging across the shallow waters of the Misty River and attack him in the Fields of the West.

The Black Knight placed his men along the banks of the river. He kept them on high alert all day. They waited and waited. But King Alfred’s army never came. Late in the afternoon, the Black Knight told his men to stand down. “It appears that King Alfred has given up!” he told his men. “Let us march back to the palace.”

Then he spoke to his prisoners, Sir Tom and Sir Ed. “King Alfred must not care about you,” said the Black Knight. “We will take you back to King Henry and let him decide what to do with you.” The Black Knight and his men began their march. They felt the fighting was finished. They took off their helmets. They tossed their shields and weapons into the supply wagons. The men began to smile and relax and pat each other on the back. They were not expecting what happened next.


Sir Gus and his men charged at them. This was as much of a shock for Sir Gus as it was for the Black Knight. Sir Gus had not expected to find King Henry’s army quite so easily. He had not expected his men to charge into battle on their own. But that was what they did. When Sir Gus saw that his men were charging, he shouted, “Charge!” and rode after them.

The Black Knight and his men were not expecting an attack, and they were not prepared. They tried to fight as best they could. Some of them were able to grab spears. Others used sticks and stones. However, it soon became clear that it was no use. The Black Knight’s men panicked and ran. King Alfred’s army cheered as they chased the retreating men.

When the battle was won, the men cried, “King Alfred is the greatest king, and Sir Gus is the bravest knight of all!” They grabbed Sir Gus and tossed him high in the air, shouting, “Hooray for Sir Gus! Hooray for Sir Gus!”


Lesson 53 – Coxhead Academic Vocab-Builder

NEW WORDS: Cincy, Eyre, Michigan, Wi, abstract, analyze, aspect, assemble, building’s, bullying, capacity, clarify, coherent, commission, compensate, comprehensive, compute, conceive, conduct, confine, conservative, context, contribution, controversy, convene, convert, countdown, deduce, deviate, discriminate, displace, distinct, distribute, dominate, driver’s, enforce, entity, equip, evaluate, exceed, exercises, experiment’s, explicit, extract, factory’s, federal, film’s, flawless, fluctuate, format, fraud, gains, gender, golfer, guards, guideline, handouts, haywire, heartbeat, ignorant, illness, immigrate, implement, imply, impose, incidence, incorporate, infrastructure, inhibit, innovate, input, institute, integrate, integrity, intermediate, interval, journal, justify, liberal, lung, manual, margin, media, minimal, ministry, modify, monitor, motive, mutual, nagging, network, objective, observer, offset, orient, ousted, output, passive, persist, phenomenon, philosophy, posts, potential, precede, preliminary, prohibit, protocol, proves, publication, radical, rational, regulate, relevant, renew, resolve, restrain, revise, rigid, seating, sequence, sinus, specs, statistic, submit, subsidy, substitute, summary, survey, thereby, thesis, thinker, transmit, ultimate, undergo, undertake, violate, violence, visible, voluntary, wrench

That’s an “abstract” painting.

I need access to Wi-Fi.

Adapt to the cold weather.

Adjust your seatbelt.

Please alter my new suit.

Your clever analogy speaks to me.

Analyze this data.

What day is their annual party?

Anticipate his next move.

I hate this aspect of my job.

Let’s assemble the go-cart.

Assign me to do yard work.

He’s quite an authority figure.

I’m here on behalf of the King.

Seating capacity is sold out.

Cease your fire!

Under no circumstance can you go there.

She’s a civil rights leader.

Clarify what you mean.

“Jane Eyre” is a classic novel.

She’s so dizzy that she’s not coherent.

Our Commission gave its report.


Our community has a pool.

Please compensate me for my work.

That’s a complex math problem.

Doc gave me a comprehensive check-up.

Compute the sum of these numbers.

I can’t conceive of a better plan.

His conduct was flawless.

I must confine you to your room.

That took considerable effort.

Let’s construct a tree-house.

What’s its context in that phrase?

His speech led to a controversy.

Convene a hearing to review that.

I’ll convert to your diet!

Earth’s core is molten.

Doing that is rude in their culture.

I need some bills in their currency.

Can you deduce the answer?

Demonstrate this to the team.

Despite hard work, I’m no good at this.

Can you detect a heartbeat?

Don’t deviate from the plan!


To discriminate against someone is wrong.

This weight will displace some of the water.

She has a distinct advantage.

Distribute these handouts.

The Champ should dominate this match.

The economy is weak.

Edit this letter for me.

We must eliminate world hunger.

She’ll emerge as a new rock star.

I had an encounter with a mean dog.

I’ll enforce these rules.

I sense an evil entity in the room.

Equip yourself for our hike.

We must establish a motive for murder.

Evaluate which product is better.

It’s evident that he’s lying.

Don’t exceed the speed limit.

I liked the Asian art exhibit.

That film’s got too much explicit violence.

Let’s expose him as a fraud.

Now I’ll extract your tooth.

This phone has a cool new feature.


That’s a State law, not a Federal law.

My aunt is a finance manager.

I fluctuate about which route to take.

What format is your DVD player?

There’s a leak in the building’s foundation.

This grant will fund us for a year.

The cat’s gender is male.

Follow each guideline to the letter.

What’s your experiment’s hypothesis?

You’re being ignorant of the facts.

I’ll illustrate my point with this chart.

They want to immigrate to the U.S.

Let’s implement the plan.

Did you imply that I’m fat?

May I impose upon you to borrow a wrench?

The incidence of bullying events here has dropped.

I paid my income tax.

Incorporate this phrase into the contract.

He’s a fine individual.

Our transportation infrastructure needs fixing.

The guards inhibit our movements.

We must innovate this old product.

Give me your input in two hours.


She teaches at the Science Institute.

Integrate the army with our allies’ troops.

Her integrity is spotless.

The heat is intense outside.

She’s an intermediate-level golfer.

Set up an interval of ten feet between the posts.

Must I intervene in your little fight?

Investigate her complaint.

Don’t involve yourself with them.

He writes for a medical journal.

You can’t justify taking such actions.

The Labor Union voted down the contract.

This is a three-layer cake.

Are you liberal or conservative?

I must renew my driver’s license.

I think I’ll do likewise.

Let’s study the driving manual.

Note that in the margin of the page.

The media is all over this story.

He’s got mental health issues.

This will take minimal effort.

She works at the Ministry of Magic.


Modify the specs on this product.

You’re today’s hall monitor.

She’s a mutual friend of ours.

The network has gone haywire!

That’s the norm for behavior here.

Our objective is to grow sales 20%.

Did you obtain the permit?

The gains offset the losses.

Let me orient you to the new office.

The factory’s output is way up.

I was a passive observer of the event.

Why do you persist at nagging me?

Was that odd phenomenon a UFO?

His philosophy is, “work hard and play hard.”

That trade policy will hurt U.S. jobs.

The new hire has much potential.

Precede me as we walk to the stage.

The preliminary findings look bad.

I presume you want dessert?

My previous boss was kind.

Our trick plays were the primary reason that we won.

Prohibit folks from coming in here.

I finished the project.


They went west to prospect for gold.

It’s our protocol to put safety first.

That publication is too right-wing for me.

Pursue that thief!

The Radical Party got few votes.

Practice random acts of kindness.

She’s a rational thinker.

Recover it from the bottom of the lake.

A revolution ousted his evil regime.

We had to regulate the oven’s temperature.

Release the prisoner.

That’s not relevant in this case.

I rely on her help.

Resolve this tense stalemate!

Restrain your bad temper!

I won’t reveal my secrets.

Revise your plans.

Be less rigid and be more flexible.

What’s my role in the play?

He lost money on another stupid scheme.

Are we talking on a secure channel?

Tell me the sequence of events.


I love this TV series.

There’s a shift in the weather pattern.

You made a significant contribution!

I was the sole person at the park.

His vital signs are stable.

This statistic proves your point.

What’s the status of the launch countdown?

Let’s try a new hair style!

Submit your write-up by Friday.

Those farmers got a government subsidy.

I’m a substitute teacher.

She gave her summary to the jury.

Survey the land over that hill.

You’ll survive this sinus cold.

It’s hard to sustain a conversation with him.

Are you done with your task?

I got tense when the dog snapped at me.

Here’s my theory for his weird mood.

Do these exercises, thereby building the right muscles.

The topic of his thesis was lung cancer.

We can’t find a trace of his having been here.

Transmit this message to the boss.


They serve the ultimate burger here.

I’ll undergo treatment for this illness.

I shall undertake to beat him at his own game.

Now THAT is a unique perspective!

They’re recalling each vehicle here.

I’m heading to Michigan via Cincy.

Never violate the law!

Land was visible from the crow’s nest.

I work here on a voluntary basis.

Core Knowledge (R) Independent Reading 

(Review guidelines for publishing Core Knowledge (R) materials at the bottom of this page-view.) 
Classic Tales (“Session 2”)

Lesson 54 – Part One

NEW WORDS: Aladdin, Aladdin’s, Alice, Alice’s, Carroll, Iran, Persia, Wonderland, commanded, contents, conversations, cupboards, curiouser, diamonds, downwards, duchess, enthusiastically, gallons, genie, greeted, illustrations, joyfully, justly, lurked, magician’s, poof, shrinking, splendidly, sultan, sultan’s, thankfully, toffee

Where in the World Do These Tales Come From?
Iran (Persia): “Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp.”

England: “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland“; “The Open Road.”


Chapter One: Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp, Part One
There once was a poor boy whose name was Aladdin. His father was a tailor. When his father died, Aladdin’s mother had to work to earn a living.

One day, a stranger greeted Aladdin. “Tell me, son,” said the stranger. “Are you the son of the tailor?”

“Yes,” said Aladdin.

The stranger threw his arms around him. “My dear nephew!” he cried. “Your father was my brother! Now I learn he is dead! What a shame!”

Aladdin took the man to his mother. She was surprised. Her husband had never spoken of a brother. Even so, she greeted the man kindly. When he promised to help Aladdin become a merchant, she believed him.

But the stranger was not Aladdin’s uncle. He was a magician from faraway north Africa. He had come to Persia in search of a magic lamp. It was said that this lamp would make a man rich. To find the lamp, the magician needed a helper. He was looking for someone who would help without asking any questions. He thought Aladdin was just the right person.


The next day, the magician came to get Aladdin. “Come with me,” he said. “I will introduce you to other merchants.” Then, he led the boy out into the country.

The magician led Aladdin up a steep mountain. They climbed for an hour. Then, they came to a spot where no flowers grew. “Get some sticks,” said the magician. “We will make a fire. Then, I will show you something amazing.”

Aladdin did as he was told. The magician lit the fire. Then, he threw perfumes into it and chanted magical words. The sky darkened. Thunder rumbled. The Earth opened at their feet. There before them was a large stone with a brass ring attached.

“Under this stone is a treasure,” said the magician. “It will make you richer than any king. Lift the stone by the ring. Then, go down the stairs. You will pass many treasures, but you must not touch them. You will enter a garden. There you will see a lamp hanging from a tree. Bring that lamp to me. Once you have it, you may gather any of the treasures that you see.”

Aladdin was amazed. He could not believe what he was being asked to do. But he agreed. “Take this ring,” said the magician. “It will keep you safe from harm.” Aladdin took it and placed it on his finger.


Aladdin lifted the stone. He went down the stairs. He made his way through a hallway of treasures. He was careful not to touch anything. When he found the lamp, he tucked it inside his bag. Then, he filled his pockets with all the glittering things he saw. He didn’t know they were precious gems. He was thinking, “I will gather these pretty things to play with at home.”

All those gems weighed Aladdin down. When he came to the top of the staircase, he could not climb out. “Give me a hand, Uncle,” he cried.

“First, give me the lamp,” the magician answered.

The lamp was buried in the bag that Aladdin was carrying. “I cannot reach it now,” Aladdin said.

“Hand it up to me,” said the magician.

“But I can’t!” Aladdin said.

The magician grew angry. “The lamp!” he cried, for that was all he cared about.

But Aladdin did not want to drop anything. “I will give it to you when I get out,” he said.

The impatient magician felt he could wait no longer. He chanted a magic spell. The stone rolled back, trapping Aladdin in the black darkness of the cave.


Chapter Two: Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp, Part Two
Aladdin was trapped in the cave. “Uncle!” he called. “Help me!” But there was no reply. The magician had whisked himself back to north Africa. All he wanted was the lamp. If Aladdin would not help him get that, he cared nothing for Aladdin.

For three days, Aladdin stayed in the pitch-black cave. At first, he shouted. Then, he wept. Finally, he put his hands together to pray. As he did so, he happened to rub the ring that the magician had placed on his finger. A genie rose before him. “What is your wish?” said the genie of the ring. Aladdin was scared, but he managed to say, “Take me out of this cave!” Poof! Aladdin found himself outside again.

He ran home to tell his mother all that had happened. He showed her the gems, which she thought were just pretty things, as well. Then, he showed her the lamp. “It is so dirty,” said Aladdin’s mother. “Let me clean it. Then, perhaps I can sell it and get us some food.”

She took a cloth and started rubbing the lamp. Suddenly, a monstrous genie appeared. This genie was far bigger than the one that had appeared to Aladdin before. “What is your wish?” thundered the genie of the lamp.


The poor woman almost fainted with fear. Aladdin said, “We are hungry! Get us something to eat!” Poof! The genie returned with twelve gold platters piled high with food. Aladdin and his mother ate their fill. Then, they sold the silver platters and bought more food.

One day at the market, Aladdin caught a glimpse of the Sultan’s daughter. She was so beautiful that he fell in love at once. He told his mother that he wanted to marry the princess. Aladdin’s mother laughed. “Have you lost your senses?” she said. “Your father was a poor tailor!”

“Remember the glittering things from the cave?” said Aladdin. “Take them and offer them as a gift to the Sultan.”

Aladdin’s mother went to the Sultan. “My lord,” she said. “My son Aladdin wishes to marry your daughter.”

The Sultan burst out laughing. “Your son and my daughter?” he boomed. “Ha!” Aladdin’s mother opened her cloth and displayed the gems. The Sultan fell silent. He stepped forward to look closely at what he saw. He realized that they were not just pretty, glittering things.


“These are astounding!” the Sultan thought. “I have never seen such radiant gems!”

The Sultan spoke again: “Your son may marry my daughter — on one condition. He must send forty servants, each carrying a bowl of gems like these.”

When Aladdin heard this, he rubbed his lamp. The genie appeared. Aladdin repeated the Sultan’s wish. Almost instantly, the genie returned with forty servants. Each servant carried a large golden bowl. Half of the bowls were filled with pearls and diamonds; the others were filled with rubies and emeralds. The Sultan was amazed. He agreed that Aladdin could marry his daughter.

Aladdin was delighted. He rubbed the lamp. The genie appeared. Aladdin commanded the genie to prepare a wedding fit for a prince. The forty servants appeared again. They brought Aladdin rich clothes and sweet perfumes. They gave him a beautiful horse, which he rode to the wedding.

They threw gold pieces to the people who lined the streets to see him. They made Aladdin a palace right next to the Sultan’s palace. They even rolled out a thick, red carpet for the princess; it stretched from the Sultan’s home to Aladdin’s palace.

When the Sultan saw Aladdin’s palace, he was sure that Aladdin was the right husband for his daughter. They celebrated their wedding with a feast and music. The party lasted all day and all night.


Chapter Three: Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp, Part Three
Aladdin was delighted with his new life. He felt that everything was perfect. But danger lurked. The magician heard of Aladdin’s good fortune. “That lazy boy?” he said. “Married to the Sultan’s daughter? Surely this must be the magic of the lamp.”

He whisked himself back to Persia. He dressed as a poor peddler and carried a few shiny lamps in a basket. As he walked by Aladdin’s palace, he shouted, “New lamps for old!”

Aladdin was out hunting. His wife, the princess, heard the voice from the street. “We have that ugly, old lamp,” she thought. “I would gladly trade it for a shiny, new one.” She handed Aladdin’s lamp to the magician. He handed her a new lamp.

The magician hurried away and later that day, he rubbed the lamp. The genie appeared. “Take Aladdin’s palace and all that it contains,” commanded the magician. “Set it down in my home of north Africa.”

“I hear and I obey,” said the genie of the lamp.

The next morning, the Sultan looked out the window. His daughter’s palace was gone. So was the princess. He sent his soldiers out and they dragged Aladdin before the Sultan. “Find my daughter!” he stormed. “If you fail, you die!”


Poor Aladdin wandered far from the city. He walked beside a river and rubbed his hands, wondering what to do. The genie of the ring appeared once more. “What do you wish?” asked the genie of the ring.

“Bring my palace and my beloved wife home to me,” begged Aladdin.

“Sadly,” said the genie, “I cannot. That duty belongs only to the genie of the lamp.”

“Then, take me to be with my wife.” Poof! Aladdin found himself in Africa. His wife greeted him joyfully. She told him about the peddler and the lamp. When Aladdin heard this, he knew that the magician had used the lamp to work his evil deed. He and his wife made a plan to get the lamp back.

The next day, the princess cooked the magician a fine supper. Aladdin kept out of sight. She slipped poison into the magician’s cup. One sip was all it took. The magician fell on the floor, dead. Aladdin ran in and found the lamp. The magician had hidden it in his sleeve. Aladdin rubbed the lamp. The monstrous genie appeared.


“What do you wish?” the genie of the lamp thundered.

“Take this palace, with all it contains,” commanded Aladdin. “Carry it to Persia and set it down beside the Sultan’s home.”

“I hear and I obey,” replied the genie of the lamp. The palace was lifted up into the air. The next morning, the Sultan arose and looked out the window. He was very happy to see his daughter and her palace once again. He ordered a month of celebrations.

From then on, Aladdin lived with the princess in peace, pleasure, and safety. When the old Sultan died, Aladdin took his throne. He ruled justly over all people, rich and poor.



Subtitles for all illustrations:

A stranger greeted Aladdin. Aladdin took the man to meet his mother. The magician told Aladdin what to do. “Give me the lamp,” said the magician. A genie rose before Aladdin. The genie returned with platters of food. Aladdin’s mother showed the Sultan the glittering things from the cave. The genie returned with forty servants. Aladdin married the Sultan’s daughter. The princess traded the old lamp for a shiny, new one. The magician rubbed the lamp. The Sultan sent his soldiers to get Aladdin. Aladdin begged the genie for help. Aladdin told the genie his wish. The Sultan awoke to see his daughter.


Chapter Four: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Part One
In 1865, the English author Lewis Carroll introduced the world to a girl named Alice and the strange and funny world of Wonderland.

Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank of the river with nothing to do. Once or twice, she had peeked into the book her sister was reading. But the book had no pictures or conversations in it. “What is the use of a book,” thought Alice, “without pictures or conversations?”

It was a hot day. The heat made Alice feel sleepy. She was thinking if the pleasure of making a daisy-chain would be worth the trouble of getting up and picking the daisies. Just then, a White Rabbit ran past her.

There was nothing so very remarkable in that; nor did Alice think it so very peculiar to hear the Rabbit say to itself, “Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late!” But when the Rabbit took a watch out of its pocket, Alice jumped to her feet. She ran after the Rabbit and saw him pop down a large rabbit hole.

Alice followed the Rabbit down the hole, never once thinking how she would get out again. The rabbit hole dipped suddenly down. Alice found herself falling down what seemed to be a very deep well.


Either the well was very deep, or she fell very slowly, for she had plenty of time to look about her. She looked at the sides of the well. They were filled with cupboards and bookshelves. “Well!” thought Alice to herself. “After a fall like this, I shall think nothing of tumbling down the stairs!”

Down, down, down. Would the fall ever come to an end? “I wonder how many miles I’ve fallen by this time.” Alice said aloud. “I must be getting somewhere near the center of the earth. Let me see: that would be four thousand miles down, I think. I wonder if I shall fall right through the Earth! How funny it will be to come out among the people that walk with their heads pointing downwards! I shall have to ask them what the name of the country is. ‘Please, Ma’am, is this New Zealand? Or Australia?'”

She felt that she was dozing off when suddenly, thump! Down she came upon a heap of sticks and dry leaves.


Alice was not hurt. She got up and looked around. Before her was a long tunnel. The White Rabbit was hurrying down it. Alice ran after him. She heard him say, “Oh my ears and whiskers, how late it’s getting!” She thought she was catching up to the White Rabbit. Then, she turned the corner and, poof! He was gone. Alice found herself in a long, low hall. There were many doors, but they were all locked. She wondered how she would ever get out.

Suddenly, she came upon a little three-legged table. It was made of solid glass. There was nothing on it but a tiny, golden key. But, it would not open any of the doors.


Then, Alice spotted a curtain that she had not noticed before. Behind it was a little door about fifteen inches high. She tried the little, golden key in the lock. It fit! The door led into a small tunnel. It was not much larger than a rat hole. Alice knelt down and looked out into the loveliest garden that she had ever seen. She longed to get out of that dark hall. She longed to wander about the garden. But the doorway was tiny. She could not even get her head through it.

There seemed to be no use in waiting by the little door, so Alice went back to the table. This time, she found a little bottle on it. “Hmm,” said Alice. “That was not there before.” Alice looked closely at the bottle. The label said, ‘DRINK ME.’ “I’ll look first,” Alice said, “to see if it’s marked Poison.”

The bottle was not marked Poison, so Alice decided to taste it. She found it had a sort of mixed flavor. It tasted like cherry tart, custard, pineapple, roast turkey, toffee, and hot buttered toast. Alice drank it up.


Chapter Five: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Part Two
When last we saw Alice, she had decided to drink from a little bottle. The contents of the bottle tasted rather odd. “What a curious feeling!” said Alice. She was shrinking smaller and smaller. Soon, she was only ten inches high.

That was just the right size to fit through the little door that led to the garden. But, when she got to the door, she found that she had forgotten the little, golden key. She went back to the table for it, but she was too short to reach it.

Alice sat down and cried, but soon her eye fell on a little, glass box that was under the table. She opened it and found a very small cake. The words ‘EAT ME’ were spelled out on the cake with currants. “I’ll eat it,” said Alice enthusiastically.

Curiouser and curiouser!” cried Alice. “Now, I’m growing larger and larger! Goodbye, feet!” Alice’s head bumped against the roof of the hall. She was nine feet tall. She grabbed the little, golden key and ran to the garden door. But, she was now too large to go through the doorway! All she could do was peek into the garden with one eye.


Alice sat down and began to cry again. She went on, crying gallons of tears, until there was a large pool around her. Then, Alice heard a pattering of feet in the distance. It was the White Rabbit returning. He was splendidly dressed, with a pair of white gloves in one hand and a large fan in the other. He was muttering to himself, “Oh, The Duchess! Won’t she be cross if I’ve kept her waiting!”

When the Rabbit came near her, Alice tried to speak to him. “If you please, sir — ” The Rabbit was startled. He dropped his gloves and his fan and scurried away into the darkness. “How odd everything is today!” said Alice.

As she said this, Alice could see that she was shrinking again. In another moment, splash! She was up to her chin in water. Poor Alice was swimming in a pool of her own tears.

“I wish I hadn’t cried so much!” said Alice as she swam about in search of a way out. Thankfully, Alice did find a way out. She was not one for sitting still doing nothing, so she began to wander further and further into Wonderland.


It was at that point that she came upon a large, blue Caterpillar. The Caterpillar was sitting on a mushroom and smoking a pipe. Alice stood on her tiptoes and peeked over the edge of the mushroom. Her eyes met those of the Caterpillar. The two of them looked at each other for some time in silence.

At last, the Caterpillar took the pipe out of its mouth and asked, “Who are you?”

Alice replied, “I — I hardly know, sir. I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I have been changed several times since then.”

“What do you mean by that?” said the Caterpillar sternly. “Explain yourself!”

“I can’t explain myself, sir,” said Alice, “because I’m not myself, you see.”

“I don’t see,” said the Caterpillar.

“I’m afraid I can’t put it more clearly,” Alice replied. “I find that being so many different sizes in one day is very confusing.”


“It isn’t,” said the Caterpillar.

Alice felt a little irritated by the Caterpillar and she turned away. “Come back!” the Caterpillar called. “I’ve something important to say!” This sounded promising, so Alice turned and came back again. “Keep your temper,” said the Caterpillar.

“Is that all?” said Alice.

In a minute or two, the Caterpillar took the pipe out of his mouth and got down off the mushroom. Then, he crawled away into the grass. As he went, he said, “One side will make you grow taller. The other side will make you grow shorter.”

“One side of what?” thought Alice to herself.

“Of the mushroom,” said the Caterpillar. In another moment, the Caterpillar was gone. Alice broke off a bit of each side of the mushroom. She ate small bites and managed to bring herself back to her normal height.

Core Knowledge (R) Independent Reading 

(Review guidelines for publishing Core Knowledge (R) materials at the bottom of this page-view.) 
Classic Tales (“Session 2”)

Lesson 55 – Part Two 

NEW WORDS: Grahame, Kenneth, Scottish, ambition, armchair, carelessly, chaos, conceited, courtiers, craze, croquet, deserted, dignified, disappointing, doggedly, dormouse, dreamily, dwindled, entering, fellows, flamingo, flamingos, furrows, gryphon, hauled, indignantly, inexperienced, lockers, loyally, mallets, managing, mock, mole’s, murmured, newness, occupation, ratty, reaching, reeling, remarkably, remarked, ridges, scoundrels, sharply, slightest, stamping, stealing, strangely, strangest, tempered, thrilling, toady, treacle, verdict, villages, villains, wicker, wistfully, witnesses, writhing

Chapter Six: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Part Three
Next, Alice wandered until she came upon a Cheshire Cat. The Cat was sitting on the branch of a tree and grinning from ear to ear. Alice was beginning to wish her time in Wonderland would come to an end. “Cheshire Cat,” Alice said, “would you tell me, please, which way I should walk from here?”

“That depends a lot on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.

“I don’t care much where — ” said Alice.

“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.

“So long as I get somewhere,” Alice added.

“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”

Alice tried another question, “What sort of people live here?”

“In that direction,” said the Cat, waving his right paw, “lives a Mad Hatter. In that direction lives a March Hare. Visit either of them if you like: they’re both mad.”


“But I don’t want to visit with mad people,” Alice remarked.

“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat. “We’re all mad here.”

Then, the Cat vanished slowly, beginning at the end of his tail and ending with his grin, which remained some time after the rest of him had gone. “Well!” thought Alice. “A grin without a cat! How curious!”

She walked a bit and came to a house with a table set up in front. The March Hare and the Mad Hatter were having tea. A Dormouse was sitting between them. The table was large but the three of them were all crowded together at one corner of it. “No room! No room!” they cried out when they saw Alice coming.

“There’s plenty of room!” said Alice indignantly. She sat down in a large armchair at one end of the table.

“Have some lemonade,” said the March Hare.

Alice looked all around the table. “I don’t see any lemonade,” she remarked.

“There isn’t any,” said the March Hare.

“Then, it wasn’t very civil of you to offer it,” said Alice angrily.


“It wasn’t very civil of you to sit down without being invited,” said the March Hare.

The Mad Hatter looked at Alice for some time. At last, he said, “Why is a raven like a writing desk?”

“A riddle!” thought Alice. “We shall have some fun now! I believe I can guess that,” she added aloud.

“Do you mean that you think you know the answer to it?” asked the March Hare.

“Exactly so,” said Alice.

“Then, you should say what you mean,” the March Hare went on.

“I do,” Alice replied. “At least, I mean what I say — that’s the same thing, you know.”

“Not the same thing at all!” said the Mad Hatter.

“Why, you might as well say that ‘I see what I eat’ is the same thing as ‘I eat what I see!'”


“You might as well say,” added the Dormouse, which seemed to be walking and talking in its sleep, “that ‘I breathe when I sleep’ is the same thing as ‘I sleep when I breathe!'”

“It is the same thing with you,” said the Mad Hatter. Then, he turned to Alice again and asked, “Have you guessed the riddle yet?”

“No, I give up,” Alice replied. “What’s the answer?”

“I haven’t the slightest idea,” said the Mad Hatter.

“Nor I,” said the March Hare.

“Well,” thought Alice, “this is the strangest tea party I ever was at in all my life!” Alice stayed for a while longer and listened to the Dormouse tell a story about three sisters who lived at the bottom of a treacle well. The story was very odd indeed. Alice, confused by the tale, frequently questioned the Dormouse. At last, a frustrated Alice walked off. “It’s the strangest tea party I ever was at in all my life!” Alice concluded.


Chapter Seven: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Part Four
In this final chapter, Alice comes across even more odd things in Wonderland. As Alice wandered further into Wonderland, she found a door in a tree that led into a hallway. The hallway led into the beautiful garden that she had been in earlier. Remarkably, upon entering the garden, she met a huge number of people, including royal courtiers and royal children, as well as the King and Queen of Hearts. They were about to begin a game of croquet, and they invited Alice to play.

The game itself proved to be nothing but chaos, partly because the croquet ground was all ridges and furrows. The croquet balls were live hedgehogs, and the mallets were flamingos. Alice found that her biggest problem was managing her flamingo and stopping the balls — or hedgehogs — from walking away. In addition, the players all played at the same time without waiting for their turn.

The Queen, for her part, began stamping about and shouting, “Off with his head!” or “Off with her head!”


But lucky for Alice, she was removed from the game by none other than the Queen, who was eager for Alice to meet the Mock Turtle. On their way to meet the Mock Turtle, Alice was introduced to the Gryphon. What are a Mock Turtle and a Gryphon? Alice did not know either; nor did she ever get an answer that made sense. The best answer is that they are two more examples of the extraordinary inhabitants of Wonderland.

Together, the Mock Turtle and the Gryphon told the Queen and Alice stories of their school days. They recalled the subjects that they had studied in school, including Reeling, Writhing, and Ambition, not to mention ancient and modern Mystery. Alice was quite certain that she had not yet studied these subjects.

This odd conversation was stopped by the news that an important trial had begun. Alice raced off with the Gryphon to discover that the Knave of Hearts was on trial for stealing some tarts. Just like the game of croquet, the trial itself was a confusing mess. The witnesses were not at all helpful.

Quite strangely, Alice herself was called as a witness. When the Queen said that the sentence should be announced before the jury had decided upon their verdict, Alice was ready to scream. In fact, she did. “Stuff and nonsense!” said Alice loudly. “The idea of having the sentence first!”


“Hold your tongue!” said the Queen, turning purple.

“I won’t!” said Alice.

“Off with her head!” yelled the Queen.

Again, lucky for Alice, just at that moment she woke up on the river bank beside her sister. The sun was still shining and it was indeed a beautiful day. Alice eagerly told her sister all about her dream and her adventures in Wonderland. Alice’s sister was quite entertained by the stories of Wonderland and the way in which Alice told them. Alice’s eyes twinkled and shone as she told her sister about the Caterpillar, the Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter, the March Hare, the King and Queen of Hearts, not to mention the White Rabbit.

As Alice skipped away to enjoy some afternoon tea, her sister imagined this magical world full of curious creatures. Alice’s sister hoped that Alice would always remember the day that she dreamed of Wonderland and continue to tell the stories.

Subtitles for all illustrations:

Alice sees the White Rabbit. Alice followed the Rabbit. Alice fell down, down, down. Alice ran after the White Rabbit. Alice tasted what was in the bottle. Alice found a small cake. Alice grabbed the key. Alice saw the White Rabbit again. Alice swam in a pool of her own tears. Alice came upon the Caterpillar. Alice watched the Caterpillar crawl away. Alice came upon the Cheshire Cat. Alice spoke with the Cheshire Cat. Alice met the March Hare, the Mad Hatter, and the Dormouse. The March Hare answered Alice. Alice walked away frustrated. Alice came across even more odd things in Wonderland. Alice met the Mock Turtle and the Gryphon. Alice spoke at the trial. Alice told her sister of her adventures.


Chapter Eight: The Open Road, Part One
In 1908, the Scottish author Kenneth Grahame delighted readers with stories of Toad, Mole, and Rat and their adventures in a book called “The Wind in the Willows.”

“Won’t you take me to call on Toad?” said Mole to his friend, Rat. “I’ve heard so much about him.”

“Why, of course,” said Rat. “Get the boat out and we’ll paddle up there at once. It’s never the wrong time to call on Toad. Early or late, he’s always the same fellow: always good-tempered, always glad to see you, and always sorry when you go!”

“He must be a very nice animal,” said Mole, as he got into the boat.

“He is indeed the best of animals,” replied Rat, “so simple, and so friendly. Perhaps he’s not very clever — we can’t all be smart. It may be that he is both boastful and conceited. But Toady is a great friend.”


Rounding a bend in the river, they came in sight of a handsome, dignified old house. It was faded red brick, with well-kept lawns reaching down to the water’s edge. “There’s Toad Hall,” said Rat. “See that creek on the left? That leads to Toad’s boathouse. That’s where we’ll leave the boat. The stables are over there. That’s the banquet hall you’re looking at now — very old, that is. Toad is rather rich, you know. This is really one of the nicest houses around, though we never admit as much to Toad.”

They glided up the creek and passed into the shadow of a large boathouse. There, they saw many large boats. Some were slung from the cross beams. Some were hauled up on a slip. But none of them were in the water. The place seemed deserted. Rat looked around him. “I see how it is,” he said. “Boating is old news. Toad is tired of it and done with it. I wonder what new fad he has taken up now. Come along and let’s go see. We shall hear all about it soon enough.”

They stepped out of the boat and walked across the flower-decked lawn. They found Toad resting in a wicker garden chair. He had large map spread out on his knees. “Hooray!” he cried, jumping up upon seeing them. “This is splendid!” He shook the paws of both of them warmly, never waiting for an introduction to Mole. “How kind of you!” he went on, dancing round them. “I was just going to send a boat down the river for you, Ratty, with strict orders that you were to come here at once, whatever you were doing. You don’t know how lucky it is, your turning up just now!”
“What a delightful house you have!” said Mole.

“Finest house on the whole river,” cried Toad proudly. “Or anywhere else, for that matter,” he could not help adding.


Chapter Nine: The Open Road, Part Two
Toad was so excited that Rat and Mole had come for a visit. “Now then,” Toad said. “You fellows must help me. It’s most important!”

“You want us to help you with your boating?” asked Rat.

“O, pooh, boating!” said Toad, in great disgust. “A silly, boyish amusement. I gave that up long ago. A waste of time, that’s what it is. It makes me very sorry to see you fellows, who ought to know better, spending all your time thinking about boating. No, I’ve discovered the real thing, the best occupation for a lifetime. I plan to spend the rest of my life on it, and can only wish that I hadn’t spent so many years boating. Come with me, dear Ratty, and your dear friend, also. Come with me just as far as the stable yard, and you shall see what you shall see!”

Toad led the way to the stable yard. Rat followed, with a most unhappy look on his face. There, for all to see was a travel wagon, shining with newness. It was painted yellow and green.


“There you are!” cried Toad. “There’s real life for you in that travel wagon. The open road! The dusty highway! Camps, villages, towns, cities! Here today, up and off to somewhere else tomorrow! Travel, new places to see, fun! The whole world before you! A horizon that’s always changing! Mind you: this is the very finest wagon of its sort that was ever made. Come and look at the inside. Planned all of it myself, I did!”

Mole followed Toad eagerly up the steps and into the wagon. Rat did not move. He only snorted and put his hands deep into his pockets.

The wagon had little sleeping bunks and a table that folded up against the wall. It had a cooking stove, lockers, and bookshelves. It had a birdcage with a bird in it. It had pots, pans, jugs, and kettles of every size. “All complete!” said Toad happily. “You’ll find that nothing whatever has been forgotten, when we make our start this afternoon.”

“I beg your pardon,” said Rat. “But did I hear you say something about ‘WE’, and ‘STARTING’ and ‘THIS AFTERNOON’?”

“Yes, yes!” begged Toad. “You’ve GOT to come. I can’t possibly go without you. So please don’t argue — it’s the one thing I can’t stand. You surely don’t mean to stick to your dull, old river all your life and just live in a hole in a bank and go boating? I want to show you the world!”


“I don’t care,” said Rat, doggedly. “I’m not coming, and that’s that. I am going to stick to my old river and live in a hole and go boating, as I’ve always done. What’s more, Mole’s going to stick with me and do as I do. Aren’t you, Mole?”

“Of course I am,” said Mole, loyally. “I’ll always stick with you, Rat. What you say has got to be. All the same, it sounds as if it might have been, well, rather fun, you know!” he added, wistfully.

Poor Mole! The Life Adventurous was a new thing to him, and so thrilling. It was all so tempting. He had fallen in love at first sight with the yellow-colored wagon. Rat saw what was passing in Mole’s mind and began to change his mind. He hated disappointing people, and he very much liked Mole.

Toad was watching both of them closely. “Come in and have some lunch,” he said. “We’ll talk it over. We don’t need to decide anything in a hurry. Of course, I don’t really care. I only want you fellows to have fun. Live for others! That’s my motto in life.”


Chapter Ten: The Open Road, Part Three
Lunch was wonderful, as everything at Toad Hall always was. During the meal, Toad spoke to Mole. He played inexperienced Mole like one would play a harp. He described what would happen on a trip and the joys of the open road in a glowing way. Mole could hardly sit still in his chair because he was so excited. In the end, Rat allowed Toad and Mole to change his mind. He could not disappoint his friends. So, after lunch, they loaded up the wagon and set off.

It was a golden afternoon. The smell of the dust they kicked up was rich and satisfying. Out of thick orchards on either side the road, birds whistled to them cheerily. Travelers called out “Good day,” or stopped to say nice things about the beautiful wagon. “Ah,” said Toad, kicking out his legs. “This is the real life for a gentleman!” They had a pleasant journey along the narrow roads. It was not until the afternoon that they reached the highway. There, disaster sprang out on them.

They were strolling along the highway, when they saw a small cloud of dust. It seemed to be coming at them fast. From out of the dust, they heard a faint “toot-toot!” that sounded like an animal in pain. They turned to continue talking. But in an instant, everything changed. With a blast of wind and a whirl of sound that made them jump for the nearest ditch, it was on them!


The horn of the motor car rang out, “TOOT-TOOT!” They had a quick look at an interior of glittering glass and leather. Then, the magnificent motor car flung a cloud of dust that blinded them and dwindled to a speck in the distance. The old grey horse and the wagon lurched forward. Then, there was an awful crash. The yellow-colored wagon, their beautiful wagon, fell over onto its side in the ditch.

Rat danced up and down in the road. “You villains!” he shouted, shaking both fists. “You scoundrels! You, you, road hogs! I’ll call the police on you! I’ll report you!”


Chapter Eleven: The Open Road, Part Four
Where was Toad? He was sitting in the middle of the dusty road and staring in the direction of the disappearing motor car. He went into a sort of a trance. His face looked calm and he murmured, “toot-toot!” Rat shook him by the shoulder, but Toad did not budge. “What a beautiful sight!” Toad murmured. “That is the REAL way to travel! The ONLY way to travel! O my! O my! I must get one!”

Mole tapped the Rat on the shoulder, but Toad went on. “To think I never KNEW!” he said. “All those wasted years that lie behind me. I never knew. I never even dreamed of it! But NOW — now that I know — oh, what fun awaits me! What dust clouds shall form behind me as I speed on my way! What wagons I shall fling carelessly into the ditch! Those awful little wagons, common wagons, yellow-colored wagons!”

“What should we do with him?” asked Mole.

“There is nothing to be done,” said Rat. “He is mad. He has got a new craze. It is always like this, in the first stage. He’ll go on like that for days now, walking in a happy dream, not able to do anything useful. Never mind him. Let’s go and see what can be done about the wagon.”


They inspected the wagon and found that it would no longer travel. One wheel had been broken into bits. “Come on!” said the Rat. “We’ll have to walk. It’s five or six miles to the nearest town. The sooner we get started the better.”

“But what about Toad?” asked Mole. “We can’t leave him here, sitting in the middle of the road by himself! It’s not safe. What if another . . . thing . . . were to come along?”

“Never mind him,” said Rat. “I’m done with him!”


They had not gone very far, however, when there were footsteps behind them. Toad caught up with them and put a paw inside the elbow of each of them. “Now, look here Toad!” said Rat sharply. “As soon as we get to the town, you’ll have to go straight to the police station. You must see if they know anything about that motor car. You must find out who it belongs to. You must complain because your wagon is broken. Then, you’ll have to go to a blacksmith so he can fix the wagon. Meanwhile, Mole and I will find rooms where we can stay until the wagon is ready.”

“Police station? Complain?” murmured Toad dreamily. “Why on Earth would I complain about that beautiful motor car? I am done with wagons forever. I never want to see the wagon again, or hear of it. O, Ratty!”

The animals spent the night. The next day, Rat and Mole made their way back to the river bank. A few days later, Mole was sitting on the bank fishing, when Rat strolled up. “Have you heard the news?” Rat asked. “Everyone’s talking about it. Toad went to town on the train this morning. He has ordered a large and very expensive motor car.”

Subtitles for all illustrations:

Rat told Mole about his friend, Toad. Rat and Mole arrived at Toad Hall. Rat and Mole found Toad looking at a map. Toad led Rat and Mole to the stable yard. “There you are!” cried Toad. Toad, Mole, and Rat inside the travel wagon. Toad leads Mole and Rat back to Toad Hall. Lunch at Toad Hall. Toad, Mole, and Rat set off in the wagon. “TOOT-TOOT!” the horn rang out. Toad murmured, “toot-toot!” Rat and Mole inspected the wagon. Toad caught up with Rat and Mole. Rat told Mole the news.


Lesson 56 – Beatrix Potter

Ginger And Pickles 

NEW WORDS: Henny’s, Lucinda, Penny’s, Timothy’s, Twitchit’s, Warren, bargains, beady, cheapest, compliments, coneflowers, dishonest, exiting, fishman, gloomily, hoarse, ideally, insists, judicious, laces, licenses, lilies, lupins, maintaining, mints, normative, ounce, owed, owes, pastel, policemen, problematic, proprietors, reimburse, reopen, retail, shop’s, shopped, shoppers, shuttered, soothing, spotty, summons, sums, sweeteners,  terrier

It was once upon a time. There was a village shop. It was painted with soothing pastel colors. There were pretty flowers outside. These included lupins, coneflowers, and lilies. There was a name over the window. The sign said, “Ginger and Pickles.” It was a small shop. It was just the right size for dolls, like Lucinda and Jane Doll. And cooks always bought their groceries at Ginger and Pickles. The food was all very good. It was always fresh and tasty!

The counter inside was at an ideally designed height for rabbits. It made it easy for them to shop. Ginger and Pickles sold red spotty pocket handkerchiefs. They charged a dollar and twelve cents. They also sold sweeteners, snuff, and rain boots. Further, they had a large choice of candies!

It didn’t matter that it was such a small shop. It still sold nearly everything. They just didn’t have a few things that you might want in a hurry. These were things like shoe laces, hairpins, and lamb chops. But they had all the things you’d need on a normative shopping day. They’d been very judicious about what they stocked and sold in the shop.


Ginger and Pickles were the shop’s proprietors. Ginger was a yellow tomcat. Pickles was a terrier-dog. Lots of rabbits shopped there. But the rabbits were always a little bit afraid of Pickles the dog. Many mice were also customers of the shop. Only the mice were rather afraid of Ginger the cat. Ginger usually asked Pickles to wait on the mice. The mice would came in. Ginger would say that they made his mouth water. “I can’t bear it,” he’d say. “Ah, to see them going out the door. They’re carrying their little shopping bags. Lovely kitty snacks exiting from our shop.”

“I have the same feeling about rats,” said Pickles. “But it would never do to eat our customers. They would leave us. They’d go shop at Tabitha Twitchit’s.”

“On the contrary! They would go nowhere,” replied Ginger gloomily. Tabitha Twitchit kept the only other shop in the village. She did not give credit. She took only cash, right on the spot! This was problematic for Ginger and Pickles. You see, they DID sell “on credit.” A bad idea in this town!

You see, sometimes there is no money to be made in what is called “selling on credit.” This has a lot to do with who your customers are. Another way to say it is this. There was no money in their piggy-bank! You see, Ginger and Pickles gave UNLIMITED credit. Those are grown-up words. It means you can buy and buy. And you keep on owing more and more!


The meaning of “credit” is this. Let’s say a customer buys a bar of soap. But the customer doesn’t pull out a purse and pay for it right there. Instead, she says she will pay for it another time. LATER!

So, Pickles makes a low bow and says, “With pleasure, madam.” The money that the customer owes is now written down in a book. Of course, the shoppers are supposed to come back, here and there. They’re supposed to reimburse the shop for what they owe. That’s called “paying off your balance,” or, “paying up.”

But the customers come again and again. They buy lots. They buy, buy, buy. But they never pay. So, the total money that they owe gets bigger and bigger! And they do this in spite of being afraid of Ginger and Pickles. Does this sound like a good idea to you?! Would you be maintaining a store this way?!

The customers would come in crowds every day. They would buy large amounts. Especially those who liked the toffee candy. But there was always no money from them. They never paid for as much as a penny’s worth of pepper-mints!

Oh, but the SALES were huge. They were ten times as large as Tabitha Twitchit’s. But sales without money means nothing! And, as there was always no money, Ginger and Pickles had to eat their own goods. And just the food that was the cheapest! Pickles ate biscuits, and Ginger ate dried fish. They ate them by candle-light after the shop was shuttered for the day.


“It is very uncomfortable. I am afraid I shall be called in by the police. I have tried, with no luck, to get a credit license at the Post Office” said Pickles. “The place is full of policemen. I met one as I was coming home. Let us send in the bill again to Samuel Whiskers, Ginger. He owes us five dollars for bacon.”

“I don’t think that he will pay us at all,” replied Ginger.

(Now here is a big lesson, dear reader! Ginger and Pickles bought bacon from SOMEONE. They bought it to sell it in their shop. Right? So, this SOMEONE wanted them to pay for that bacon, at some point! But if Ginger and Pickles SOLD that bacon like it was FREE – that’s what “credit” is kind of like! — then how could they ever pay that “SOMEONE” back??!! This is a dangerous way to run a business. In fact, you might go broke! You might have to CLOSE your business!)

So, some time passed. Now, it was January the first. There was still no money. No customers had paid what they owed! NONE! That’s what you call a “bad kind of customer!” SO, Pickles was unable to buy a dog license. “This is very unpleasant. I am afraid of the police,” said Pickles.

Ginger said, “It’s your own fault for being a terrier. I don’t require a license. And neither does Ken, the Collie dog.” (Some kinds of dogs had to have licenses. Others didn’t.)


“By the way, where are all the cream crackers?” asked Pickles. “I’m hungry.”

“You have eaten them all yourself,” said Ginger. They looked at each other with sad eyes.

Ginger and Pickles retired into the back parlor. They checked their bank accounts. They added up sums and sums of money that were owed to them. Pickles whined, “Samuel Whiskers has run up a bill as long as his tail. He has bought an ounce and three-quarters of snuff since October. And what is seven pounds of butter? And a stick of sealing wax and four matches? Oh, my. Oh, my. We’ll go broke!”

“Send out all the bills again to everybody. Be polite. Say, ‘with compliments,'” replied Ginger.

Then there was a bad surprise. In came a policeman! Pickles nearly had a fit. He barked and he barked. And he rushed back and forth around the shop.

“Bite him, Pickles! Bite him!” spluttered Ginger behind a sugar barrel.

The policeman went on writing in his notebook. Twice, he put his pencil in his mouth. And once, he dipped it in the ink. Pickles barked till he was hoarse. But still, the policeman took no notice. He had beady eyes. The policeman said nothing. He put an envelope on the counter. It had the paper he had been writing on inside of it. Then he walked out of the door. He didn’t even say, “Good-bye.”


“Ginger, I am afraid it is a summons,” said Pickles. “I’m in big trouble!”

“No,” replied Ginger, who had opened the envelope. “WE are in big trouble!! It is all the taxes that we owe the city. And it’s a lot of money! Money that we don’t have.”

“This is the last straw,” said Pickles. “Let’s just close the shop. Maybe both of us would be better at some other kind of work!” So, they boarded up the shutters. And they left. Their store is no longer in business. But they have not gone away from the neighborhood.

Ginger is living in the warren with the rabbits. I don’t know what he does all day. But he looks to be safe and healthy. And Pickles is, at present, a game-keeper. He protects animals from hunters who shouldn’t be there. So, both of them are fine, I’m happy to say.

After a time, Mr. John Dormouse and his daughter began to sell pepper-mints and candles. But that was hard work. And they weren’t very good at it. The closing of the Ginger and Pickles Shop was not good for the other animals.


But, you know what? The shop’s closing was really THEIR fault, too! They had been dishonest to Ginger and Pickles. They owed lots of money. But they didn’t pay up. Remember we mentioned earlier that this could make a shop go out of business? So, they were about to get what they deserved.

You see, at this point, there was no other shop than Tabitha Twitchit’s. There was no competition for her! Now she “owned” the town! So, she immediately raised the price of everything! She could charge whatever she wanted. No one had another choice of where to shop. She made even more money for herself. And things cost the other animals even more than before. And of course, Tabitha continued to refuse to give credit. “Pay me right now. Or leave my shop!” That was VERY smart on her part. It certainly had not been a good idea for Ginger and Pickles!!

Of course, there were other places to shop for some things. The butcher, the fishman, and Timothy the Baker. But a person cannot live on just cookies, sponge cake, and butter buns alone. Not even when the sponge cake is as good as Timothy’s!


And Miss Dormouse refused to take back any candles when they were brought back to her with complaints. When Mr. John Dormouse was complained to, he just stayed in bed. He would say nothing but “very snug.” Of course, that is a bad way to run a retail business! They didn’t sell a whole lot of things.

So, everybody was quite pleased when Sally Henny Penny sent out a printed poster. She said that she was going to reopen the shop where Ginger and Pickles had been. “Henny’s Grand Opening Sale! Penny’s penny prices! Come by, come try, come buy!” The poster really was most clever.

There was a rush on the opening day. The shop was crammed with customers. And there were crowds of mice on the biscuit tins. Sally Henny Penny gets rather flustered when she tries to count out change. But she figures it out. AND she insists on being paid cash. No credit from her, either! But she really is quite harmless. And she sells, in her shop, a remarkable choice of bargains. There is something to please everybody! She should give old Tabitha quite a run for her money!

Core Knowledge (R) Independent Reading 

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

Lesson 57 – Ancient India

NEW WORDS: Agni, Aryan, Aryans, Asoka, Asoka’s, Brahma, Buddha, Buddha’s, Buddhist, Daro, Diwali, Ganges, Himalayas, Hinduism, Hindus, Indus, Jataka, Lakshmi, Mohenjo, Shiva, Siddhartha, Veda, Vedas, Vishnu, beliefs, captured, caste, castes, chariots, conquered, containers, destroys, enlightened, guides, hmmmm, hospitals, invaders, marigolds, preserver, priests, saris, thundering

Chapter One: Mystery of the Indus
A long time ago, the Indus people lived in a river valley south of the great mountains in India. These mountains are the Himalayas, the highest mountains in the world. This Indus valley civilization developed at about the same time as ancient Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt.

The Indus River valley civilization grew strong, thanks to the Indus River. Whenever the Indus River flooded, rich soil was carried onto the farmland by the overflowing waters. The rich soil helped food crops grow. More crops meant that more people could be fed.

We know that the Indus people had a written language made up of symbols. But we do not know what all the symbols mean. The Indus valley civilization is still a mystery. There is much that we do not understand. We do know that the Indus people built large cities that were home to thousands of people. One of these ancient cities was called MohenjoDaro. It had brick buildings and streets that were neatly laid out in straight lines.

Many artifacts, or objects, that once belonged to the Indus people have been found in the ruins of the ancient cities. Because of these findings, we know that the Indus people made beautiful gold and silver jewelry. We know that they made tiny statues of animals and people, and that the bull was an important symbol. But why was the bull so important? We can guess, but we cannot say for sure!


Chapter Two: Hinduism
More than three thousand years ago, Aryan invaders came to the Indus River area. They did not farm. Instead, they moved from place to place with their herds of animals. The Aryans captured and burned many Indus cities. They moved across India and eventually gained control of large areas. The Aryan people used war chariots pulled by horses in battle.

The Aryans brought their beliefs about how the world started and how people should live in India. Over time, their beliefs and those of the Indus people were woven together. As a result, a new religion called Hinduism became the main religion in India.


The Hindu religion has several holy books. The most important books are called Vedas. “Veda” means knowledge. The oldest holy book is the Rig Veda. It is more than three thousand years old. The Rig Veda contains stories and songs that come from the Aryans. The Rig Veda has stories of Agni. Agni is the Hindu god of fire. It is Agni, Hindus say, who keeps their homes warm and cozy in winter and cooks their dinners.

Hindus believe that Brahma created the world. With four faces, he can look east, west, north, and south at the same time. Shiva is the Hindu god of destruction. The third eye on his forehead lets him see what others can’t. Shiva destroys and changes things. Vishnu is the god who protects the world. Vishnu is called the Preserver.

Hinduism is not just a religion. It is a way of life. It guides what Hindus eat, wear, and do in life. Since ancient times, Hindus have divided themselves into different groups, or castes. In ancient times, the most important caste was that of the priests. The second-highest caste was made up of military leaders and royal rulers, such as kings.


Chapter Three: Festival of Lights
Diwali is the Hindu festival of lights. It is celebrated each year in October or November. The goddess Lakshmi is honored during this festival. She is the goddess of wealth and good luck. Because it is believed that Lakshmi likes everything to be clean and tidy, people get ready for Diwali by cleaning their homes.

During Diwali, clay containers, or bowls, filled with oil and a wick are lit. People place the carefully prepared bowls on the Ganges River. They hope that Lakshmi will see the twinkling lights as they float along and grant them good luck! Golden marigolds are added to the tiny bowls. The bowls are often made by hand.

Families buy new clothes for Diwali. Women in India wear saris. Saris look like long dresses, but they are actually made from one long piece of cloth. Saris are worn by wrapping the long piece of cloth around the waist to make a skirt. Then the end of the cloth is draped over the shoulder.

During Diwali, people go to the temples to pray. They bring gifts of food and flowers to Lakshmi and other Hindu gods and goddesses.


Chapter Four: The Story of the Buddha
Long ago, in India, a royal baby was born. His name was Prince Siddhartha. His parents, the king and queen, were very happy. According to the legend, on the day he was born, Siddhartha was able to walk and talk. The king ordered that the prince be given everything that would make him happy. He was not allowed to see anything that would make him sad. And he was not allowed to leave the royal palace.

And so, Prince Siddhartha grew up not knowing about sickness and suffering. Then, one day he left his royal home. What he saw outside the walls of the royal palace made him very sad. He saw people who were hungry and sick. Prince Siddhartha wanted to stop such suffering. He set off on a journey in search of happiness and peace for all people. For a while, he ate very little. He grew thin and unhealthy, until he realized that if he was going to be helpful, he must be strong.

One day, Siddhartha remembered that when he was a child, he got his best ideas in the shade of a big, old tree. So, he searched for a special tree — a Tree of Wisdom. Eventually, Siddhartha found the Tree of Wisdom. For many, many days he sat beneath its beautiful branches and thought long and hard.

As a result of his deep thinking, Siddhartha found wisdom and knowledge. He found a perfect peace and love for all living things. He believed that the wisdom he had gained would help everyone. Siddhartha became known as the Buddha, “the Enlightened One.” For the rest of his life, he traveled and taught many people.


Chapter Five: A Jataka Tale
The Buddha was a great teacher, and like many teachers, he told stories that taught a lesson. One of the Buddha’s stories is about a frightened rabbit. The rabbit was frightened because one day, in a beautiful forest, the little rabbit suddenly heard a loud noise. “Help! The Earth is breaking apart,” yelled the rabbit, as it hopped away as fast as it could.

Other animals heard the cries of the frightened rabbit, and they began to run, too! Water buffalo ran. Tigers and wild pigs ran. Elephants ran. Soon, every animal in the forest was running.

Meanwhile, a lion was taking a nap on a cliff top. The thundering hooves of the animals woke the lion. The lion stepped out and stopped the animals before they fell off of the cliff. “Why are you running?” he roared.

“The Earth is breaking apart,” they cried.

“Have you seen it breaking apart?” the lion asked.

“Well, no! But the rabbit told us,” the animals explained.

Hmmmm!” said the lion. “Let us investigate.” And so, they all set off to the place where the rabbit had first heard the noise. It was there they discovered that what the rabbit had heard was a coconut falling to the ground.

“This is a good lesson,” said the lion. “It’s important to know the facts before you act!” And all of the animals agreed!


Chapter Six: King Asoka
Long ago, in ancient India, there was a powerful king. His name was King Asoka. King Asoka won many battles and created a great empire. Then one day, as King Asoka looked out over the land that he had conquered, he realized that as well as achieving victory, he had caused great destruction. This made him sad.

Some time later, King Asoka came upon a poor man begging for food. The poor man stared at the king. It was not wise to stare at a king. King Asoka became curious. He wanted to meet the man who was clearly not afraid of him.

The king sat down next to the man, and they talked. The poor man was a holy man — a Buddhist monk. As they talked, the monk told the king how he could become a better ruler. He told King Asoka that he could use his power and wealth to help people.

From that day on, King Asoka lived a better life. He cared for people and animals. He built hospitals and roads. He provided wells so that people would have fresh water to drink. The king became a Buddhist and spread the Buddha’s teachings. In India, the lion became a symbol, or sign, of King Asoka’s great power and good deeds.


Lesson 58 – Inf./Deriv. Builder

NEW WORDS: Beverly, Cleveland, Emma, Erik, Evan, Evans, Ewan, Facebook, Granny, Greenville, Heisman, Iona, Jenn, Jimi, Jody, Jojo, Joni, Jose, Juan, Jude, Kacy, Kari, Kira, Leta, Lexy, Liam, Lila, Lilo, Lola, London’s, Lori, Luca, Luis, Lyla, Lyra, Merv, Mira, Moby, Mona, Mort, Nala, Neal, Noor, Odie, Olly, Olympic, Omar, Ozzy, Paco, Pepe, Philly, Raul, Ravi, Remi, Romy, Rosa, Roth, Rudy, Tess, Thor, Tina, Trey, Vick, Ving, Yoko, Zach, Zane, Zell, Zion, airsick, airways, anchoring, anchorman, anchormen, anchorwoman, animallike, anytime’s, appreciated, blackboards, backers, backroom, backtalks, bakeries, ballparks, ballplayer, ballrooms, bearcat, beastlike, bedcover, beekeepers, befriending, befriends, believer, bicycles, bicycling, billboards, bitewing, bitewings, blackball, blackballed, boardinghouse, boardinghouses, boundary, boxer’s, boyfriends, brace, braced, brooms, brotherly, browned, brownouts, browns, bugging, buglike, bunkers, cakewalk, caregivers, catchall, chaired, chairing, chairman, checkered, chipped, citywide, cleanest, cleanly, cleanup, coaches, comeback, contested, couches, counters, coverage, coverages, coveralls, coverups, creepers, crook’s, daybed, daybeds, dayfly, dayrooms, detectives, dogcatcher, doorbuster, doorkeeper, doorstop, dotes, downer, downers, dreamlands, dunking, earthlike, earthworm, everything’s, facedown, facelift, facelifts, fairground, fairways, fairyland, fallback, farmhouses, farmworkers, fatback, fewest, fielder, fielders, fielding, fil, fillings, flowered, flycatchers, focusing, folksong, folktales, forgives, forgiving, freebies, freeman, fridge, friending, funds, gamekeeper, gardened, gardener, gardeners, gentler, gentlest, girly, giveaways, givers, godchild, goodwill, greenskeepers, grounded, grounder, grounders, groundouts, groundskeepers, grouping, halfbacks, hardheads, hating, heats, hereabouts, hideaways, highchair, highchairs, highlands, highlighted, highwayman, hillbillies, hoglike, homecoming, homecomings, homeland, homemakers, hometowns, hothead, hothouses, hotly, housecleaning, iceboats, icebox, iceboxes, icemaker, infielder, johnnycake, jumpoff, kitchens, kitties, lakesides, landfall, landfalls, landsides, layaways, layout, locations, lousy, lowering, lowers, lowlands, nub, opponents, outback, outhouse, outjump, outjumps, outlander, outlast, outlasted, outlasting, outlasts, painters, playback, playhouses, poacher, prop, pussycats, remodeled, rowdiest, runaways, security, shattering, shortcakes, skier, snobs, snowballing, stepchild, stopwatches, thataway, thereabout, thereabouts, throwaway, throwaways, timekeepers, tomorrow’s, townfolk, troupe, upkeep, vying, washboard, whiteboards, wildcats 

Marc, don’t give me any more would’ves, could’ves, and should’ves — just fix it!

Lyla has on a bright, flowered dress.

Their nanny, Jean, has a comely appearance.

Our church is low on givers right now.

She cooks the beans with some fatback in them.

Remi, be a bit gentler with the kitty.

Kira wrote a story about a dark fairyland.

I root for the Kentucky Wildcats!

Zion braced himself for the icy water before diving in.

Rosa, I can outlast you in a staring contest!

The lakesides were a mess after the huge storm.

After a year of downers for the team, Coach Freeman quit.

They made a backroom deal, and the company was sold.

Ross, what’s your fallback position if this doesn’t work?

The illness spread through London’s boardinghouses.

Jude, the golf greens’ pin locations are more forgiving today.

The groundskeepers at their estate searched for the lost puppy.

He’s dunking the basketball so hard the backboards are shattering!

I’ll be friending Jody on Facebook.

Jake, if the float bobs, get ready to pull in the fish!

He gave his farmhands time off to go to the State Fair.

Emma, you made a believer out of me today when you beat Lexy.


Kacy, dust the picture frames well.

She loves good-looking actors, like the guy who plays Thor.

Their backyard is full of sunflowers.

You know Mrs. Evans must have had a facelift!

People from thirty different hometowns are here.

The dayrooms here are cheerful.

That’s my stepchild, Rolf.

Lila has the gentlest soul.

The gamekeeper caught a poacher.

I’ll use this bitewing to take an X-ray.

Joey, which airline do you prefer?

The townfolk came out for the parade.

I count ten pussycats here.

Our vegetables come from these hothouses.

Merv, take these giveaways to Goodwill.

Watch how the dancers stretch!

Zane is batting cleanup.

He who forgives is blest.

They still have an outhouse in the back.

I think this stranger is an outlander.

Zell, let’s go bicycling.

Mira, there’s a bedbug on your bedcover!


These caves used to make good hideaways.

The landsides on the plows need fixing.

Wi-Fi coverage is lousy here.

They went thataway!!

Yoko and Lori are tomboys.

She works for Homeland Security.

They don’t know her whereabouts.

Nala, that’s the cleanest I’ve ever seen your room!

Don’t listen to that bigmouth.

The lowlands got flooded.

Rudy bets that I can’t do that!

That’s a small thing, and you’ll be forgiven.

I’m his date for the homecoming dance.

Yum, mom made shortcakes!

Zach gets airsick when he flies.

Greenville is my hometown.

Otto, the playhouses need cleaning.

Watch how she lowers her hands.

I’ve never had a finer meal!

Mona is taking up ballroom dancing.

Sorry, I chipped this plate.

These look like witches’ brooms.


Either of those landfalls looks good for anchoring the boat.

Grandpa Leif was a dogcatcher.

I don’t like that house’s layout.

Omar, the icemaker is broken.

We had three brownouts over the summer.

Philly is “the city of brotherly love.”

Tonight, I’ll sleep on the daybed.

The town will blackball him after that speech!

Tina has three grandchildren.

These whiteboards need major cleaning.

I highlighted this paragraph.

Their troupe drummed for two hours.

Get on the ground, facedown!

JoJo outlasted Brad in the eating contest.

Why have these bicycles rusted?

Lola, quit bugging me!

It happened in early June, or thereabout.

Those bellhops make great tips.

Do you sell highchairs here?

Paco owns a boardinghouse.

There’s plenty of housing in our town.

The greenskeepers are raking the bunkers.


It heats up about noon.

Moby sits still in his highchair.

I sold four electric dryers today.

The upkeep on this house is expensive.

A building like this used to hire a doorkeeper.

I must have thrown a hundred snowballs!

Cleaning clothes with a washboard was hard work.

I bet Uncle Lyle outlasts dad on the hike.

The super close vote was hotly contested.

Watch how the falcon dives for its prey.

Pepe is fielding the baseball much better this year.

Have we run out of funds yet?

We’re the greenest city in the State.

Mom just browned the chicken in the skillet.

Too many facelifts, and you look like an alien.

Mick, carry these throwaways to the trash.

There are two great bakeries downtown.

Ving, pass me the creamer.

The fairground is too muddy.

Have you seen the old TV show, the Beverly Hillbillies?

That bellhop was rude!

I’m ducking under the covers.

Lyra, these closets are haunted!


Evan, empty off the counters.

Joss chaired the meeting at work.

Luca, was that the doorbell ringing?

Iona has had three boyfriends this year.

This dries out faster in the hot sun.

Leta loves chocolate creamers.

Erik is a hothead.

Joni is my grandchild.

Juan hits line-drive grounders.

You’ll find iceboats way up north.

I don’t know anybody here.

Pitt can outjump Odie.

Reid lifted the weight cleanly.

I’m hating this job.

Bait the hook with this dayfly.

Gramps called a fridge an “icebox.”

This was the rowdiest of homecomings!

Dad grounded me for a week.

Luis is the team’s halfback.

Brace yourself against the cold wind.

I just keep hitting groundouts!

That’s an odd grouping of folks.


Do beekeepers get stung a lot?

I see goats on those hilltops.

That actress bows very low.

Toby backtalks his mom, and she gets furious!

Mom’s lowering the lobster into the pot.

Jeepers Creepers is a song from the 1930s.

That’s the blackest cloud I’ve ever seen.

Raul, there’s a package on the doorstep.

That popular song is all over the airways.

Smooth the frosting evenly on the cake.

Ravi, bring the coolers from the van.

That crook’s famous for leading coverups.

These flycatchers don’t work very well.

Caregivers can get worn to a nub.

We blackballed Jimi from being in the club.

Those couches are actually daybeds.

Liam has a checkered past.

That’s an animallike cloud.

Those TV anchormen talk too much.

Ozzy is my godchild.

She carefully lowered the baby into her crib.

Jose is a great infielder.


Tish is a strong backer in his campaign.

Tess is one classy lady!

Nona, you’re focusing better when you take a test.

Their team’s called the “Bobcats.”

That collection is a catchall for 1950s sci-fi stories.

Let’s see which frog outjumps the other.

I’ve got six fillings in my teeth.

Lilo hit a grounder and got to first.

Ewan busts me up when he makes funny faces.

You’ll find lots of goods being sold at the flea market.

Jenn is a downhill skier.

Nina Jones is my favorite anchorwoman.

Life’s full of highs and lows.

This golf course has narrow fairways.

Gramps had the first hardware store to sell iceboxes.

Luis is the Chairman of the Board.

Those two bed-and-breakfast places used to be farmhouses.

Granny gardened for two hours this morning.

That old suit is a throwaway.

That boxer’s good at outlasting his opponents.

Don’t cross that boundary.

Milo is the biggest giver at church.


Tate is the best fielder on the team.

Ready to party, girly-girl?!

Let’s vacation in mid-August, or thereabouts.

This problem is snowballing.

My customer is playing hardball with my boss.

It’s a downer that you lost.

They’ve had twelve first downs in the game, so far.

Olly threw out a witty comeback!

Bitewings scratch my mouth.

Noah cares for his elderly dad.

When you’re on our team, you’re a “Fighting Bearcat!”

The poor anchorman had something stuck between his teeth.

The detectives solved the case.

Prop the door with this doorstop.

Those two kids are runaways.

The playback showed that they made a bad call.

The insurance company offers different coverages.

It’s warm in the greenhouse.

He’s got a fake eyeball.


Those painters wear coveralls.

Beware a highwayman on your trip to York.

I think Redd is befriending Mort.

Our coaches are all hardheads.

Who drove the getaway car?

She grows bluebells in her garden.

Those three moms are homemakers.

We’ll make landfall by morning.

Kari befriends so many nice girls.

He hit the golf ball straight down the fairway.

Tori dotes on her kitties.

Those actresses are snobs.

Let’s hope that they are bringers of good fortune.

His backers turned on him.

Romy is an avid gardener.

That would be greatly appreciated.

Try the desk drawer.

That bad decision is costing us a lot.

Take these clothes to the cleaners.

We think that we’ve found an earthlike planet!

I think the Chick-Fil-A billboards are funny.

Bait the hook with this earthworm.


Noor, everything’s going to be fine.

It’ll be even hotter tomorrow.

Gardeners should put on sunscreen.

Have you seen a Cleveland Browns football game?

She runs big parties in ballrooms.

Get in the line with the fewest people.

Vick is a great ballplayer.

Neal has remodeled over twenty kitchens.

That artist paints these crazy dreamlands.

They’re taking a trip into the highlands.

Anytime’s good next weekend.

Trey is an Olympic diver.

These blackboards are filthy.

Three halfbacks are vying for the Heisman Trophy.

All of those stores can set up layaways.

The timekeepers complained about the new stopwatches.

What animal left these droppings?

That poor cat has a hoglike face.


There were lots of freebies at the festival.

He made a beastlike screech.

That easy job will be a cakewalk.

Roth tells great folktales.

What does it cost to rent a billboard?

There’s a citywide weather warning.

This is the perfect jumpoff point.

He couldn’t have gotten far, and he’s probably hereabouts.

Mom hates housecleaning.

Those farmworkers have green cards.

Mom, teach me how to make a johnnycake!

We advertise at three different ballparks.

I’ll be chairing tomorrow’s meeting.

It was a grand party!

I’d love to visit the Australian Outback.

She keeps trying to write a good folksong.

Coach is going to work the fielders really hard!

I’ll be first in line to get the doorbuster!

It has a buglike appearance.

This is the hottest day of the year.

Core Knowledge (R) Independent Reading 

(Review guidelines for publishing Core Knowledge (R) materials at the bottom of this page-view.) 
How Does Your Body Work?

Lesson 59 – Part One

NEW WORDS: Welbody, absorbs, backbones, blades, breastbone, calcium, cartoon, cranium, delivers, digesting, expand,  fibula, involuntary, marrow, organs, pelvis, realistic, reminding, scapula, scapulae, seashell, skeletal, slideshow, spectrum, spine, sternum, tibia, tighten, triangles, vertebrae, vertebrates 

Chapter One: The Skeletal System
Hello! My name is Dr. Welbody. Some of you may remember me. I visited your school once before. You were in first grade then. We learned about some of the systems that keep your body working. I told you to eat healthy food, so you would grow up to be big and strong. It looks like you listened to me, too! I see that you have grown a lot since then! You are getting big and tall!

I am here today to help you learn more about the body and its systems. In the next few days, we will learn about three systems: the skeletal system, the muscular system, and the nervous system.

I’d like to begin with the skeletal system. The skeletal system is made up of bones that give your body shape.

I have a slideshow here on my computer. The first slide shows the skeletal system. The picture on the right shows what the skeletal system looks like from the front. The one on the left shows what it looks like from the side.


There are more than 200 bones in your body. When I went to medical school to learn to be a doctor, I had to learn the name of every bone in the body. I had to study very hard!

You kids don’t need to be able to name every bone in the body. But you should know the names of some of the more important bones. So, let’s get started!

Let’s start at the top, with the skull. Doctors call this set of bones the cranium. The skull, or cranium, has a very important job. It protects your brain.

You might think that the skull is all one big bone. But that’s not the case. In fact, a human skull is a set of 22 bones.

Rub the back of your neck. Can you feel the bone that’s right at the base of your neck? That’s one of the bones in your spine, or spinal column. The spine is a chain of bones that runs down through your neck and back. It runs from the base of the skull all the way down to your hips (or pelvis).


The spinal column is made up of more than thirty smaller bones, stacked one on top of another. These smaller bones are called vertebrae. The vertebrae protect a bundle of nerves called the spinal cord. The spinal cord delivers nerve signals to and from the brain.

You may remember learning that animals with spines, or backbones, are called vertebrates. That’s because their spines are made up of vertebrae.

My next slide shows the bones inside your chest. If you tap on your chest, right in the middle, you can feel your breastbone. It’s also known as the sternum. If you tap a bit to the left or the right, you may be able to feel some of your ribs. The ribs protect inner organs like the heart and lungs.

If you look at the slide, you can see why people sometimes talk about “the rib cage.” The rib bones look like the bars of a cage. Do you see the two large bones behind the rib cage? They are shaped like triangles. There’s one on each side. These are your shoulder blades. The medical name for the shoulder blade is the scapula.


The last two bones I want to tell you about are leg bones. They are called the tibia and the fibula. These are the two bones in the lower part of your leg. The tibia is the larger of the two.

Okay, that’s a lot of bones — and a lot of names. Let’s play Simon Says and see if you can remember the names. I’ll be Simon. Are you ready?

Simon says, tap your skull. Simon says, now tap your cranium. Ha! The cranium is the same thing as the skull. Did I trick any of you?

Simon says, flex your vertebrae by bending over and touching your tibia. Simon says, take a deep breath and feel your rib cage expand. Simon says put your pelvis to work and sit down.

Now, reach back and see if you can touch one of your scapulae, or shoulder blades. Wait! I didn’t say Simon says! Did I catch anyone?


Chapter Two: All About Bones
Last time, we learned the names of some of the bones in the body. Today, I’d like to tell you a little more about bones. The bone I’m pointing to is the human fibula bone. The fibula, you may recall, is one of the bones in your leg.

The outer part of a bone is hard. It is made up of the same stuff as a seashell that you might find at the beach. That stuff is called calcium. Do you like milk? Milk and other dairy products like cheese have lots of calcium in them. They are good for your bones. One way to take good care of your bones is to eat a healthy diet with dairy products. Exercise is also good for your bones.

If you could look inside a bone, you’d see something called bone marrow. Since you can’t see inside this bone, I’ll show you a slide. This slide shows bone marrow cells. I think you may already know a little about cells. Is that right? If you look at things with a strong microscope, you can see that many things are made up of tiny cells. Your skin is made of cells. So are your bones.

Here you can see some bone marrow cells. There are millions of cells like these inside your bones. The bone marrow cells have an important job. They are like little factories. They pump out red blood cells. Then, the red blood cells carry oxygen all around the body.


As you get older and taller, your bones grow with you. Bones are strong. They can support a great deal of weight. However, if we put too much pressure on them, or if the pressure comes from the wrong direction, bones can break.

This next slide shows a broken bone. This is a special kind of picture called an x-ray. X-rays are part of the invisible light spectrum. When you aim x-ray light at your body, some parts of the body absorb a lot of x-rays and some do not. Your bones are hard. They absorb a lot of the x-ray light. The soft tissue around your bones absorbs less x-ray light. That is why doctors like x-rays. We can aim x-rays at a part of your body and get a picture of the inside of your body. We can use x-rays to find out if any bones are broken. You will learn much more about x-rays in a later unit about light and sound.

Have any of you ever broken a bone? I fix lots of broken bones each year. Would you like to know how I do it? I start by taking x-rays. That’s how I find out if the bone is really broken. If the x-rays show that a bone is broken, then I set the bone. That means I put the bone pieces back in the right place. Once the bones are in the right place, I put on a cast.


One of the remarkable things about the bones in your body is that they are able to heal themselves. Once a broken bone has been set, it grows back just like it was before it was broken. Here’s a boy I fixed up last summer. He broke one of the bones in his arm. I put the cast on to hold the bones in the right place so they would heal. He had to wear the cast for two months while the bones healed. Then, I cut the cast off for him. He’s just fine now. His bone has healed, and his arm is as good as new.


Chapter Three: The Muscular System
Have you ever seen a movie or a TV show in which skeletons chase people? I saw a cartoon like that the other day. These kids were trying to solve a mystery but they were having problems. Every time they went out to look for clues, a skeleton would pop out of a grave and chase them around.

Well, as a doctor, I have to tell you: that’s just not very realistic. Bones don’t move all by themselves. In fact, bones don’t go anywhere at all without muscles.

When I bend my arm, I do it by using muscles. I tighten the muscles in my arm and the muscles make the bones and the rest of the arm move. When you kick a ball, it’s the same thing. You tighten the muscles in your legs in order to move your leg bones.

This slide shows you some of the muscles in the muscular system. You can see that there are lots of muscles in our bodies. There are about 650 muscles in the human body, in fact. About half of your body’s weight comes from muscles!


Muscles are important to us for many reasons. Can you think of some? Muscles help us run and jump. They allow us to stand up and sit down. We use muscles when we lift heavy objects. We also use them when we chew our food and when we smile. We even use muscles when we breathe.

Doctors divide muscles into two groups: voluntary muscles and involuntary muscles. Voluntary muscles are muscles that you control and can make move when you want to. Involuntary muscles are muscles that you can’t control. Involuntary muscles work without you even thinking about them. These muscles work automatically.

The muscles that help you move your arms and legs are voluntary muscles. When you want to pick up a box, you think about it and then tighten the muscles in your arms so that you can lift the box. You can also control the muscles in your legs when you want to make your body run or jump.

The muscles in your heart, however, are involuntary muscles. They keep your heart beating, whether you are awake or asleep. You don’t have to think, “It’s time to beat again, heart!” These muscles work automatically. There are involuntary muscles in your stomach, as well. Your stomach muscles keep digesting your food without you reminding them to do the job.

Core Knowledge (R) Independent Reading 

(Review guidelines for publishing Core Knowledge (R) materials at the bottom of this page-view.) 
How Does Your Body Work?

Lesson 60 – Part Two

NEW WORDS: Achilles, Achilles’s, Greeks, Kwan, LASIK, Si, Styx, Trojan, Yu, blurry, bruising, cartilage, cerebellum, cerebral, cerebrum, combines, concussion, connective, cornea, cortex, curves, cushioned, cushions, decades, dendrite, dendrites, expands, eye’s, farsighted, focuses, germs, hemisphere, hemispheres, illustration, insert, invulnerable, inward, laser, ligament, ligaments, medulla, optic, optician, optometrist, performs, prescription, reflects, reflex, retina, rods, scans, shrinks, solutions, spinal, stiffer, stringy, tendon, tendons, thigh, tissues, vulnerable, wheelchair, wounded, wrists

Chapter Four: Joints and Muscles
Does anyone know what we call the place where two bones come together? It’s called a joint. You have lots of joints in your body. Your elbow is a joint. So is your shoulder. So is your knee.

Many joints are cushioned by cartilage. Cartilage is a flexible, connective tissue. It is not as hard as bone, but it is stiffer and less flexible than muscle.

Do you remember when we learned about the vertebrae — the bones that make up your spinal column? Well, we have cartilage between each of the thirty or so vertebrae in our spinal column. The cartilage cushions the vertebrae and keeps them from rubbing or banging against each other. The cartilage is shown in red in the model on the slide. You also have cartilage in your ears. Grab the top of your ear and bend it down a little. Now, let it go. Do you feel how your ear snaps back into place when you let go of it? It’s the cartilage that makes your ear do that.


Some of the most important tissues in your body are located at the joints. A ligament is a kind of tissue that connects one bone with another. Most of your joints contain ligaments. You have ligaments in your knee, in your neck, and in your wrists. This slide shows ligaments in your knee. Can you see how the ligaments connect your thigh bone to the bones in your lower leg?

Ligaments connect bones to other bones. Tendons connect muscles to bones. I said earlier that the muscular system and the skeletal system are connected. Well, it’s the tendons that link these two systems. It’s the tendons that connect muscles to bones and allow you to move your bones.

One of the most famous tendons in the body is called the Achilles tendon. Does anyone know where the Achilles tendon is? That’s right! The Achilles tendon is in the back of your leg, just above the heel. The Achilles tendon connects your heel bone to the muscles in your lower leg. It’s an important tendon that you use when you walk or run.

Does anyone know why this tendon is called the Achilles tendon? No? Well, then, I guess I had better tell you the story. The Achilles tendon is named for a famous Greek warrior named Achilles. You may remember hearing about the ancient Greeks when you were in second grade.


When Achilles was a baby, his mom tried to make sure that he would never die. She had heard that a person who had been dipped in the River Styx could not be harmed by spears or arrows. She took her son and dipped him in the river. Then, she felt better. She believed that her son was invulnerable. Nothing could harm him — or so she thought.

There was just one problem. When she dipped Achilles in the river, she held him by his heel. So this heel never got dipped in the river. Many years later, during the Trojan War, a Trojan warrior shot an arrow at Achilles. The arrow landed right above Achilles’s heel — the very spot that had not been dipped into the River Styx. Achilles died from his wound. So now you know why the Achilles tendon is named for Achilles. This tendon was the one spot where the mighty warrior was vulnerable and could be wounded.


Chapter Five: The Nervous System
The skeletal system is made up of bones. The muscular system is made up of muscles. The nervous system is made up of — you guessed it — nerves! You have about 200 bones in your body. You have about 650 muscles to help you move those bones around. How many nerves do you think you have?

A thousand? Nope. You have more than that. Ten thousand? That’s still too low. Try again. A million? Believe it or not, that’s still too low. You have about a billion nerves in your body.

Your nerves allow you to keep track of what’s happening in the world around you. The nerves send messages to the brain. Then, the brain tells your body how to act.

Have you ever walked outside and felt a chill that sent you back inside to get a coat? What happened was that the nerves in your skin sent a message to your brain. The message was, “It’s cold out here!” Have you ever touched something hot? Chances are that you pulled your hand away pretty quickly. That’s because your nerves sent a message to your brain.


Nerves are important for our sense of touch. Without nerves, we couldn’t feel heat or cold. We couldn’t touch things and find out if they are smooth or rough. Nerves are important for our other senses, too. Without nerves, we couldn’t see or hear. We couldn’t smell or taste our food.

The nerves in your body are made up of nerve cells. A single nerve contains many nerve cells. Here is an illustration of nerve cells. You can see that nerve cells have long stringy parts that lead away from the center. The center of the cell is called the cell body. The stringy parts that lead away from the cell body are called dendrites.

You can think of the dendrites as being like roads. Imagine that you want to send a letter to your aunt, who lives in another town. Someone will have to put the letter in a car or truck and drive it to your aunt’s house. You might do this yourself. You might pay the post office to do it. When one of the nerves in your body wants to send a message to your brain, it sends the message out along the dendrites. The message travels along the dendrites, much as a car or truck travels along a road. Each of the little green dots in the picture is a message traveling along a dendrite.


Has your family doctor ever tapped you on the knee with a little rubber hammer? Did you ever wonder why he did that? What your doctor is doing is checking your reflexes — which is another way of checking your nerves.

A reflex is something that the body does without us even thinking about it. If someone jumps out of a closet at you, you may flinch. You will tighten up the muscles in your body, just in case the person is trying to hurt you. This is a reflex. When you pull away from a hot stove, that is also a reflex. When your doctor taps your knee, he’s looking for a reflex reaction. If your leg moves a little, that’s a sign that your nervous system is working as it should.


Chapter Six: The Spinal Cord and Brain
You’ve got a lot of nerves! Really, you do! You have nerves in your fingers. You have nerves in your toes. There are nerves all over your body. But there are two parts of your body that are especially important for your nervous system. One is the spinal cord. The other is the brain.

I told you a little about the spinal cord earlier, when we were looking at the skeletal system. I told you that the bones that make up your spine — the vertebrae — are there to protect your spinal cord. The vertebrae are hollow, and long strings of nerves run through the hollow parts of the bones. The nerves that make up the spinal cord run all the way up your back and neck. They end up in the brain.

If I were to have a serious accident and damage my spinal cord, that could be a very bad thing. I might end up paralyzed — unable to move my legs and / or my arms. I might need to use a wheelchair to get around, like the boy in this photograph. You see, the brain uses the spinal cord as a sort of super-highway to send messages out to the rest of the body. If the spinal cord is broken, or damaged, the messages can’t get through to the arms and legs.


The spinal cord leads right to the center of your nervous system — your brain. It’s the brain that receives messages from the nerves. It’s the brain that sends messages out to your muscles. Even though the brain weighs only 2–3 pounds, it is the most important organ for life. The brain is protected by the skull. Inside the skull, there are three layers of fiber and fluid protecting the brain. So, the brain is really well protected. But it can still be harmed. Ask a football player who’s had a concussion. Getting a concussion is like bruising the brain. Ouch!

The brain is divided into three main parts: the medulla, the cerebellum, and the cerebrum. Each part has its own job to do. The medulla, or “brain stem,” is located at the base of the skull in the back, right where the spinal cord meets the brain. The medulla controls the important involuntary actions of the body, like breathing, heartbeat, and digestion.

The cerebellum sits right next to the medulla. It is divided into two hemispheres, or halves. The cerebellum has several jobs. One of them is to control voluntary movements. That means the cerebellum helps you walk, run, and jump. The two hemispheres of the cerebellum control different parts of the body. The right hemisphere controls movement on the left side of the body. The left hemisphere controls movement on the right side. It might seem strange that the left side of the brain controls the right side of the body, but that’s just the way we’re made.


The third part of the brain is the cerebrum. The cerebrum sits on top of the cerebellum and the medulla. It is the largest part of the brain. Each part of the cerebrum has a certain job to do. For example, the front part just inside your forehead controls emotions. The very back part just above the brain stem controls the sense of sight. The sense of touch is controlled by a strip of the brain running over the top of your head from ear to ear.

The outside part of the cerebrum is called the cerebral cortex. The cerebral cortex is the wrinkly part of the brain that most people think about when they think of a brain. People sometimes call this part of the brain “the gray matter.”

The cerebrum is divided into two hemispheres, just like the cerebellum. Until recently, we did not know much about what the various parts of the cerebrum do. But in the past few decades, we have learned a lot. Scientists now have even more advanced ways than just x-rays to look at and observe different organs in the body, including the brain. They use something called a PET scan to see different parts of the brain work.

A scientist may ask the person having the PET scan to do something like talk or blink his or her eyes. When the person performs different actions, different parts of the brain light up on the computer screen. Scientists have learned a lot about what happens where in the brain by looking at PET scans. As you can see from this image of the brain, some of the things that we do take place in the left hemisphere, while others happen in the right hemisphere.


Chapter Seven: Eyes and Vision
For the past few days, I have been talking to you about the body and its systems. Your teacher asked me if I could also tell you something about vision and hearing. I told her that I could. I know a little about vision and a little about hearing, but I am not an expert on either one. So, I told her that I would bring in some friends of mine who know more about these subjects. I have one of those friends with me today. His name is Dr. Kwan SiYu. He is a special kind of eye doctor called an optometrist. He can tell you all about the eyes and how they work.

Hello, I am Dr. Kwan Si-Yu. Are you ready to learn all about eyes? Good! The human eye has several parts. I’d like to start by showing you two parts that you can see easily. In the images on the right, you can see what eyes look like up close. The pupil is the black part in the center of the eye. The iris is the colorful part of the eye that surrounds the pupil. The iris can be different colors. Some of you may have green eyes or brown eyes. When we say that a person has green eyes or brown eyes, it’s his or her irises that we are talking about.

The pupil is not as colorful as the iris. It is always black, but it changes shape. When it is dark, the pupil gets bigger to let more light in. When it is very bright and sunny, the pupil shrinks to let less light in. How much light will be let into the inside of your eye depends on the shape of the pupil.


Now, let’s learn about some parts of the eye that you can’t see just by looking at a person’s face. This slide shows some parts of the eye as they would look if you could see inside a person’s head. You are looking at them from the side. You can see the iris and the pupil. There are also some other parts shown.

• The cornea is a thin, clear tissue that covers the colored part of the eye. It helps protect the eye from dirt and germs.

• The lens is the part of your eye that focuses light. The lenses in your eyes curve outward.

• The retina is made of a special kind of tissue that is very sensitive to light. Light from the lens falls on the retina. Then, nerves in the retina send messages to the brain.

• These messages travel down a nerve called the optic nerve.


Now, let’s see how all of these parts work together so that you can see things. You may be surprised to learn that the eye does not really see objects. Instead, it sees the light that reflects off of objects. Light passes into the eye — first through the cornea, and then through the pupil. If it’s dark, the pupil expands to let more light in. If it’s bright, the pupil gets smaller to let less light in. When a doctor shines a light in your eyes, she is watching to see if your pupils change shape.

Next, the light passes through the lens, which focuses the light and projects it onto the retina. The retina is lined with special cells called rods and cones. These are special kinds of nerve cells that sense light. The rods and cones send information to the brain, using the optic nerve.

All of this happens very quickly—so quickly that it seems like you see things at the exact moment that you look at them. In reality, though, you are seeing them a split second later. The brain combines the information passed through the optic nerve of each eye to make one image. That is when you “see” the object.


Chapter Eight: Vision Problems, Vision Solutions
Last time, I showed you some parts of the eye and explained how those parts work together to help us see. Today, I want to talk about some things that can go wrong with our vision, and also some ways that we can fix vision problems.

A lot of vision problems have to do with the lens of the eye. The lens of your eye is curved outward. The lens of your eye bends the light rays closer together to focus the light on the retina.

The image on the right shows two rays of light entering the eye as they pass through the cornea and lens. The cornea and the lens bend the light rays so that they meet and touch the retina at the same spot. You have perfect vision in this case.

Sometimes, however, the cornea of the eye may not be shaped correctly. When this happens, your vision will not be perfect. This slide shows what happens when a cornea is not shaped correctly. This time, the light rays passing through the lens meet before they touch the retina. Then, they hit different places on the retina. This means that this person is nearsighted. She can see things that are close by, but things that are farther away will look blurry and out of focus.


A long time ago, there was no way to help a nearsighted person. That is no longer the case. Today, we have several ways to help a person who is nearsighted. An optometrist can examine and measure the lenses of the eyes. If they are not shaped correctly, he can write a prescription for a pair of glasses with special lenses. An optician then makes these lenses and glasses.

My next slide shows how glasses with special lenses can correct nearsighted vision. Again, you can see the two rays of light. But here you can see that a lens that curves inward has been placed in front of the eye. (This lens is in a pair of glasses that the person is wearing.) Now, before the light enters the eye, the lens bends the light a little differently. As a result, when the rays pass through the eye’s cornea and lens, they now touch the retina at the same spot.


We can make different glasses for lots of different kinds of vision problems. There are lenses that help a nearsighted person see things that are far away. There are other kinds of lenses that help a farsighted person see things up close. Do you know anyone who wears contact lenses? Contact lenses work the same way as glasses. The only difference is that you place the lens in your eye, right on top of your cornea. In this slide, you can see a girl getting ready to insert a contact lens. Once she puts it in, it will cover her iris and her pupil. It will be almost invisible. You will not see it unless you look very closely.

There is another way to solve vision problems. It’s called LASIK surgery. When you have LASIK surgery, the doctor uses a laser beam to change the shape of the cornea of your eye. Once your cornea is fixed, you may not need to wear glasses or contact lenses.

Click on this link to move forward to Module D, Lessons 61 – 66


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