Row, Row, Row Your Boat

Row, Row, Row Your Boat
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   5.13

     challenging words:    entertainment, rowing, generally, civilization, ending, rowboat, steering, alcohol, ancient, design, races, likely, public, development, battle, racing
     content words:    Thames River, Oxford University, Yale University, United States, Olympic Games

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Row, Row, Row Your Boat
By Jane Runyon

1     Historians generally agree that ancient Egyptians were the first group to build a rowboat. The idea spread to the Romans and Vikings. Each civilization built large ships which could be powered by teams of rowers. They used the rowers when wind and sails were not available. For the most part, rowboats were used for exploration, transportation, and in battle.
2     The sport of rowing is said to have come from England at a much later time. In the late 1600's and early 1700's, there were very few bridges being built. If a person wanted to get from one side of a river to the other, he would most likely use a boat. A few men became rich and didn't think they should have to row themselves across the rivers. They hired strong men to do the rowing for them. If two men with money tried to get across the river at the same time, a bet might be made. One man would bet the other man that his rower could get him across the river faster. A contest followed. In due time, this form of betting became a contest for entertainment. Rowing contests were held and finally organized into events.
3     The first known organized rowing contest was held in 1716. The course was five miles long. The starting point was at a pub on the Thames River. The ending point was at another pub on the Thames. Pub is a name given to a public house which served food and alcohol. It is believed that celebrations were held at both the starting and ending point of this race. This particular race still takes place today in England.

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