Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Theme Unit
Standing Up & Sitting In

Standing Up & Sitting In
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 3 to 4
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   3.29

     challenging words:    discrimination, double-checked, incident, parka, civil, aisle, protest, entire, especially, finding, supplies, lined, remember, exactly, bless, stayed
     content words:    Main Street

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Standing Up & Sitting In
By Beth Beutler

1     I was at Woolworth's that day. I remember it being a very cold day. There was a little bit of snow on the ground. We typically did not get much snow in the Carolinas, and what we did get did not last long. However, it was windy and cold, so it looked like this would stay for at least today. I would soon discover it was cold in more ways than one.
2     Mom was sending me to the store to pick up some school supplies. I had run out of lined paper and pencils, and Woolworth's always had the best prices. Since I was now 12, she felt I was old enough to walk the two blocks to Main Street. I was very excited! Mom had even given me a little extra money to buy a hot chocolate from the lunch counter. Of course, she made me promise to come straight home after I enjoyed it. She told me I would not be allowed to enjoy this freedom again for a very long time if I did not obey.
3     So I bundled up in my parka and pulled on my boots and gloves. I double-checked that the money was securely in the deep pocket of my coat and headed out.
4     "Bye, Mom!"
5     "Bye, dear. Be careful and hurry back!"
6     Even though my boots were heavy, I nearly skipped the entire way to the store. This was great!
7     I entered the store and headed to the school supplies. I found the paper right away, but was having trouble finding the pencils. Then I heard someone say, "Can I help you find something?"
8     I looked up and gulped. It was a young black man, who I guessed to be about 18. He was dressed in a coat and tie and had a bright smile. I got nervous, though. My mom had always told me not to talk to strangers, especially black people. I could never understand why that made a difference.
9     "Uhh, I can't find the pencils," I stammered.
10     "Oh, they are around the corner in the next aisle," he responded kindly.
11     "Uhh, okay. Thanks," I quickly answered then quickly trotted off.
12     I soon forgot about my nervousness as I got caught up looking at a few toys. Before long, though, I remembered about the hot chocolate.
13     As I walked toward the lunch counter, I noticed the black man and his friends paying for their supplies. Then they headed to the lunch counter, too. I stopped for a moment and watched them get seated. I decided to sit at the other end.
14     "What would you like?" the waiter asked.

Paragraphs 15 to 37:
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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Theme Unit
             Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Theme Unit

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