Mystery May
Cherie's Mysterious Talent

Cherie's Mysterious Talent
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   4.94

     challenging words:    earlobe, explanation, Lombardi, pivotal, ploy, roster, undiscovered, miracle, warm-ups, equipment, assistant, solution, spite, mysterious, schedule, actually

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Cherie's Mysterious Talent
By Colleen Messina

1     Cherie pursed her lips and tried to play the scale, but she hit two notes at the same time. It sounded awful. Again. She detested her piano practice, but her parents insisted on lessons. In between each scale, she twirled her dark hair around her fingers in frustration. What would she do when soccer season started? Her parents expected her to practice for more than an hour a day, and they wanted her to do it right after school.
2     "That sounds better," called Mrs. Smith from the next room. She always listened to her daughter practice in the family room while she worked in her home office. She actually thought that Cherie sounded terrible, but she tried to be encouraging.
3     "Thanks, Mom," Cherie called back. She realized that she was going to have a problem when soccer practice started. She was hoping for a miracle so that the practice would not be scheduled right after school. If it came down to soccer or piano practice, she was afraid her parents would insist that she keep up her music lessons. Practicing at night was not an option because she had so much homework.
4     Cherie loved soccer. She loved the fresh breeze blowing through her hair and the crisp, fall smell of dry leaves. She loved kicking the ball hard into the goal and the swish of the white net when she scored a point. She was a star player on their team, and this year the excellent Mrs. Lombardi was going to coach their team. Cherie could hardly wait.
5     Sure enough, when the soccer schedule was announced, Cherie found out that practice began at 3:30. Cherie was in a panic. What could she do? She explained her problem to her best friend, Jessica. Jessica also took piano lessons. She had a different teacher, though, and apparently her parents were more reasonable about her schedule.
6     Jessica was also involved with soccer. She was the manager of the team because she was not a very good player. She kept equipment organized. She kept track of the players and the game schedule. Her job was important, but Cherie's performance was pivotal to their team's success.
7     Jessica frowned through her blond bangs. She wanted Cherie to play, but there seemed to be no solution to the problem. They sat at Cherie's kitchen table, dunking helpless Oreos into cold glasses of milk. Soon, rings of black crumbs circled their mouths.
8     "I've got it!" shouted Jessica, nearly knocking her milk over. Jessica leaned over and whispered in Cherie's ear. Cherie smiled and dusted Oreo crumbs off of her earlobe. It just might work.
9     The next day, both girls showed up at soccer practice. Cherie began her warm-ups, and Jessica said she had to go check on the team uniforms. Cherie played well because she felt as though an enormous load had been lifted off of her shoulders.

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