Mystery May
Mystery of the Misunderstood Message

Mystery of the Misunderstood Message
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   4.81

     challenging words:    extracurricular, mother-daughter, prom, red-tipped, well-orchestrated, diploma, array, parental, stylish, classic, personality, spite, immediately, recording, teenaged, vibrant
     content words:    Ivy League, Terrific Time Management

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Mystery of the Misunderstood Message
By Colleen Messina

1     When Ms. Sharp entered the foyer of her house and saw the answering machine light blinking, she felt a thrill go up and down her spine. She rushed over to the phone, stretched a red-tipped fingernail out to hit the button, and eagerly waited to hear the recording. Maybe this was the good news she was expecting. The message on the old machine sounded a little garbled, but this is what Ms. Sharp heard, and it made her very happy.
2     "MOM! I have the best news. I talked with Yale. I'll tell you about it when I get home at six!" sang a high-pitched teenaged voice.
3     Ms. Sharp had been waiting for this moment for years. Her daughter, Megan, had applied to Ivy League schools, and Ms. Sharp was sure her daughter would be accepted into one of them. Megan had excellent grades and an impressive array of extracurricular activities. Ms. Sharp had done her part to encourage her daughter and help her do well.
4     Ms. Sharp felt one of her most important goals in life was to help her daughter get into a great college. She had attacked the project with her incredible energy over the years. Ms. Sharp had a classic Type A personality with incredible drive and energy. She was always busy with many projects!
5     In spite of working hard on her goals, Ms. Sharp also took care of her appearance. From her slickly manicured nails to her stylish, highlighted hair, Ms. Sharp still looked young and vibrant. She worked out each week with a personal trainer. She made sure she organized her life well. Her life was so well-orchestrated that her friends joked that instead of going to a regular college, Ms. Sharp probably graduated from I.T.T.M. - the Institute of Terrific Time Management.
6     With the apparent news of Megan's success, Ms. Sharp got busy immediately to plan a surprise victory celebration. She called the bakery and ordered a vanilla cake filled with raspberry ice cream. She wanted the cake to be shaped like an enormous diploma, and she wanted it delivered by 5:30 p.m. She called her closest friends and invited them over for the surprise party. She rushed to the florist and bought bunches of blue flowers since blue was Yale's school color. She was a whirling tornado of parental pride.
7     Several hours later, most of Ms. Sharp's friends had been drawn into her plot. Full vases of bright flowers stood at attention around the room, but the normally polished Ms. Sharp looked a little bit wilted from all of her work. The group gathered in the living room and quietly hid around the furniture like mice. They nibbled on the little bowls of salted peanuts stashed around the room. At 5:55 p.m., Megan's car roared into the driveway. Everyone took a deep breath in preparation for shouting.
8     "Hey, Mom, I'm home!" shouted Megan as she came in the front door.
9     The friends lunged from their hiding places and shouted surprise and congratulations. Megan almost fainted from the shock.

Paragraphs 10 to 16:
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