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Wilson Rawls



Wilson Rawls
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   4.81

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    publication, determination, novels, despite, classic, education, punctuation, writing, dams, dreams, born, lifelong, hopeless, childhood, schools, fell
     content words:    Woodrow Wilson Rawls, Ozark Mountains, Cherokee Indian, American Indians, Winnie Rawls, Jack London, Great Depression, United States, South America, New Mexico


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Wilson Rawls
By Brandi Waters
  

1     Woodrow Wilson Rawls was born in Oklahoma in 1913. His family had a small farm in the Ozark Mountains. It was near the small town of Scraper. Their farm was built on land given to Rawls' mother, Winnie. She was part Cherokee Indian. The government gave the land to her. It was repayment for the way that American Indians were treated in the past.
 
2     Wilson never went to school. None of the Rawls children did. There were no schools near their home. Winnie Rawls did her best to teach her children as much as she could. She ordered books through the mail and read them aloud to her children. When she was finished, she gave them to the children to read. Wilson never liked the books that his mother read. He said that they were all "girl stories." One day, Wilson's mother started reading The Call of the Wild by Jack London. Everything changed. Wilson loved the story. When his mother was finished reading the book, she gave it to Wilson. He took it everywhere with him. He even read the story aloud to his dog. The story made a big impression on Wilson. It made him want to write a book that boys like him might like to read.
 
3     When Wilson was only sixteen, he left home to find work. The Great Depression had started and work was hard to find. He traveled all over, doing any job that someone would hire him to do. He did construction work for an oil company. He helped build dams. He also helped build a highway in Alaska and worked for the Navy. He worked in many places in the United States, but he also worked in South America and Canada. Everywhere he went he took a notebook and a pencil. When he wasn't working, he took out his notebook and wrote stories. Each year, he returned home to visit his family, who had moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico. During his visit, he locked the stories he had written in an old trunk that belonged to his father.

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