Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.2

     challenging words:    brawn, drafty, entertainment, erasmus, excrement, filthy, motte, mutton, mutton-chewing, rubble, rushes, spits, spittle, wooden-framed, stale, occasionally
     content words:    Middle Ages

Print Castles
     Print Castles  (font options, pick words for additional puzzles, and more)

Quickly Print - PDF format
     Quickly Print: PDF (2 columns per page)

     Quickly Print: PDF (full page)

Quickly Print - HTML format
     Quickly Print: HTML

Proofreading Activity
     Print a proofreading activity

Feedback on Castles
     Leave your feedback on Castles  (use this link if you found an error in the story)

By Colleen Messina

1     In the movies, castles seem like cozy, fun places full of knights, damsels in distress, and mutton-chewing hound dogs. In real life, castles were cold, dark, and drafty places full of servants, peasants, and mutton-chewing hound dogs. Let's take a peek into the real world of castles.
2     During the Middle Ages, kings and noblemen built castles for defense. The lord and his family and their servants lived in the castle. The lord owned the land around the castle, and it was farmed by peasants. In return, the peasants had small plots of land. The peasants didn't get paid, but they raised their own food on their plot of land. The lord also protected the peasants from danger.
3     The first castles were built about 900 years ago. They were called motte and bailey castles. The motte was a mound of earth where a tower for the castle stood. The bailey was a large, open area surrounded by a tall fence. Carpenters made the first castles out of wood, but that didn't work too well because enemies could burn them down. Stone made better, stronger castles, but it was much more expensive. Brave masons had to use high scaffolding to build those walls. Sometimes, the walls were 115 feet tall!
4     Castles changed over many years. Later castles had double walls that were called curtain walls. If the castle was attacked, the attackers had to break through two walls. Usually, the inner wall was higher than the outer one. During an attack, the drawbridge into the castle was raised. The walls had slits in them so that archers could fire arrows through the holes safely.
5     A large castle took many years to build. A whole army of builders attacked the project under the direction of a master mason. Masons cut and shaped the enormous stones. They used mallets and chisels so the stones fit together well, and they used mortar to stick the stones together. The walls were built with a double row of stone bricks. The masons packed these walls with rubble, which the peasants helped dig and carry. Maybe the peasant who carried the most stones was the first rock star.

Paragraphs 6 to 14:
For the complete story with questions: click here for printable

Copyright © 2009 edHelper