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Wild, Wild West
Once Upon a School Day - Learning in the Wild West



Once Upon a School Day - Learning in the Wild West
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 3 to 4
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   1.89

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    crackin, half-done, hawker, hitched, loomed, owned-the, pickett, plumb, puked, waitin, whirlpool, handy, frying, recite, tapped, mush
     content words:    Wild West


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Once Upon a School Day - Learning in the Wild West
By Toni Lee Robinson
  

1     Logan yawned. A hot fire burned in the wood stove behind him. The little log room was very warm. He didn't dare fall asleep. Mr. Pickett kept a willow switch right handy. Logan stared at the slate in his hand. His sums, half-done, stared back at him. It seemed like a year since breakfast.
 
2     Long before sun up, his father's voice woke him. "Time to go, boy!" Yawning, Logan had fumbled into his clothes. "That ol' cow could plumb starve waitin' on you." Pa grinned. "She's so hungry her belly thinks her throat's been cut!"
 
3     Logan trudged past Ma. She was busy at the wood cook stove. Side meat sizzled in the frying pan. Big bubbles splattered in a pot of corn meal mush. It all smelled powerful good. Ma patted his shoulder. "It's almost ready, Lo," she said. "Go get your chores done." Logan followed Pa out into stinging, blowing snow. It was mighty cold.
 
4     In some ways, Logan was glad for the weather. In winter, the farm work was easier. Pa didn't need help in the fields. Logan just had his daily chores to do. He had to feed the stock and milk that cranky old cow. After that, he could go to school.
 
5     Logan and his big sister Polly hitched up the team. Little brother Bo scrambled into the wagon. Ma brought quilts for the three to wrap up in. The six-mile drive took about half an hour. On days like today, it was a cold ride. At school, Logan took care of the horses. Then he hurried inside.
 
6     He found his place, towards the back of the boys' side of the room. Bo sat with the younger ones up front. Polly was the only girl her age on the girl's side. Most families kept their older girls at home. Book learning wasn't important for girls, some folks said. Pa and Ma didn't agree. Logan knew Polly was glad of that. His sister loved school.
 
7     Except for Mr. Pickett's switch, Logan liked school, too. He loved reading best of all. His mother had taught him letters when he was four. She'd drawn the ABC's with a stick in the dirt of their cabin floor. Now he was ten, he could read most any words.
 
8     Books still seemed like magic to Logan. They could carry you away to all sorts of places. Way out west, though, they weren't easy to come by. Students brought their own books to school. As reading texts, they used the book most every family owned—the Bible.

Paragraphs 9 to 19:
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