A Hard Choice

A Hard Choice
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 3 to 5
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   4.51

     challenging words:    creaky, day-old, dinnertime, dusky, luscious, offense, post-workweek, salsa, shift, springer, supervisor, section, wobbly, canned, tortilla, gorgeous
     content words:    Hey Michael, Food Bank

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A Hard Choice
By Colleen Messina

1     "Can you play basketball after school?" Ben asked Michael as they got books from their lockers. It was a gorgeous fall day, and the basketball court was on their way home from school. Ben's freckled face was full of smiles, and his hair matched the orange autumn leaves. The weather was crisp, cool, and perfect for sports. Both friends loved to play basketball.
2     "No, I can't today. I have to go to the food bank," said Michael. He was sorry he couldn't play, but it was his day to volunteer.
3     "Is that really worth it? Seems like a waste to me, no offense," said Ben. "We are going to practice for the game on Friday night." The neighborhood was having a basketball game. Ben was Michael's best friend, and they were both on the same team.
4     "Maybe I can play tomorrow. I'll be at the game, though," said Michael.
5     After school, Michael walked to the food bank. It was a big building that looked like a barn. The outside of the barn looked like the produce section of the grocery store because an aspiring local artist had covered the wall with pictures of luscious purple grapes, orange pumpkins, and crisp salad fixings. No one could miss the food bank. That was the whole idea behind the mural.
6     Local grocery stores donated the food, and Michael and other volunteers shelved it by category. Canned soup was in one section, dry foods in another, while fresh produce sat in bins outside. A huge rack held day-old muffins, breads, and cakes. Behind the rack was Jessica's office. She was the supervisor who interviewed people before they got the food they needed. Michael picked up his volunteer badge and then went over to start sorting boxes. Jessica smiled and handed him a card as he went by.
7     "It's an invitation to the volunteer banquet on Friday night. I could use your help serving food!" Jessica said.
8     "Thanks," said Michael, and he turned to do his work. He sipped a root beer soda and nibbled on chocolate chip cookies while he filled a food order.

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