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The 1930's
Natural Disasters
The Dust Bowl



The Dust Bowl
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   4.66

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    elimination, immeasurable, peril, successful, conservation, region, immediately, entire, banks, improve, erosion, american, equipment, economy, unwanted, earth
     content words:    Great Plains, United States, New Mexico, In May, New York City, Franklin D., Emergency Farm Mortgage Act, Farm Credit Act, Great Depression, In April


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The Dust Bowl
By Jane Runyon
  

1     You are standing at your living room window. You are looking out across your front yard. There are no leaves on the trees. There is no grass. The sky is a murky gray color. The ground is covered in brown dirt. As you watch the wind blowing the dust and dirt onto your front porch, you adjust the wet cloth you have tied around your head. It covers your nose and mouth. If you didn't keep this rag around your nose and mouth you would choke on the dust in the air. In the distance, you see nothing but black. A nasty storm is headed your way. There will be no rain in this storm. It will have lightning, thunder, and wind. More dust will blow. Dust might completely cover up the chicken coop this time. It doesn't matter, though. Your father had to sell off the last of the chickens last week.
 
2     That doesn't sound like a very pleasant way to live, does it? But thousands of people had to live just that way in the 1930s. The Great Plains region of the United States became a "dust bowl" during the 1930s. But the problems really started in the 1920s.
 
3     The wheat crop in 1926 was very successful. It was so successful that many farmers turned all of their land into wheat fields. They borrowed money from banks to buy more farming equipment. They planted the same crop year after year hoping to make more money on a good crop. The summer of 1930 was dry, but the farmers still made money on their crop. The wheat crop in 1931 was the best ever. There was so much wheat, however, that supply exceeded demand. This caused the price of wheat to drop dramatically. Farmers lost money. Some lost their farms because they couldn't pay back their loans.

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