The Assistant

The Assistant
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 3 to 5
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   4.36

     challenging words:    principal, ahem, beady, budget, carb, confidant, cornmeal, frothy, hotdog, matching, moneymaking, perfection, practically, reality, sales, scrunchies
     content words:    College Bound, Student Body

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The Assistant
By Colleen Messina

1     The principal sat behind his huge desk staring at the applicants. Mr. Rule was a large man with beady eyes. He had folds of dry skin that cascaded over his shirt collar, which made him look like an overweight Komodo dragon. He felt smug when he saw the respect and fear in the students' eyes.
2     Mr. Rule had secret entrepreneurial yearnings that he had never fulfilled, but his plan to find an office assistant was working beautifully. He attributed his success to the smorgasbord of reality T.V. shows that the kids watched.
3     "Your task is to decide on snacks to sell to our students. You have one week to sell your product. You may each ask two friends to help you. Remember, the winner WILL be hired as my new office assistant, and her idea will be used as a school fundraiser. Good luck!" the principal said with a flourish.
4     "Sir, when can we set up our snack bar?" asked Susan. Her green eyes were flashing with moneymaking schemes. She had a knack for taking over everything.
5     "You may set up tomorrow, if you are ready. You may sell your snacks during third period study hall. You may set up in the hall by the cafeteria," replied Mr. Rule.
6     Susan pulled out her shiny, black leather notebook and wrote down notes. Her sleek, blond ponytail looked tidy. Her jeans were stiff, blue, and perfect. Her team's name would be "College Bound." She was going to have a smoothie stand! They would add special ingredients, like protein powder, to the 100% natural fruit and yogurt smoothies. Her creations would be low fat and low carb. Stunning success seemed certain!
7     Brittany, the other candidate, wasn't quite so organized. Her worn-out jeans had holes in each knee, and she was having a bad hair day. Baking was her only skill. Her muffins were sugar-laden with lots of fat and calories. Brittany decided that her muffins were her only chance and that her team would be called the "Student Body." Maybe many student bodies would want muffins.
8     Each team worked frantically that night to get ready. The next day, Susan's team looked delicious in pastel pink and blue T-shirts. Matching pastel scrunchies corralled their smart ponytails. Their fruit smoothies were yummy, but costly. They served the drinks in real glasses. Matching straws stood up in the exact center of each frothy blend. Strawberry smoothies had pink straws. Blueberry smoothies had blue straws. Susan insisted upon perfection. Susan demanded neatness. "We can't spill our profits, girls," she reminded her team. Her teammates looked a little annoyed.

Paragraphs 9 to 20:
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