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Geography
The Painted Desert



The Painted Desert
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   5.2

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    coniferous, sediment, erosion, magical, bands, scatter, appear, lived, present, during, truly, east, sunrise, thousand, winds, form
     content words:    Desierto Pintado, Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest, Colorado River, Navajo Nation, Painted Desert


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The Painted Desert
By Kathleen W. Redman
  

1     Ashkii stood silently. The desert was big around him. It stretched as far as he could see. His people and the Hopis had lived here for more than one thousand years, but the desert was still magical. The Spaniards called it "el Desierto Pintado," but the Navajo people had another name for it.
 
2     The desert is made up of layers of minerals and decayed plants and trees. The winds and rain have carved dunes. The dunes have bands of gray, red, orange, and yellow. At sunrise and sunset, the dunes glow and appear to be violet, blue, red, and gold. The desert seems to be alive.
 
3     All around Ashkii were fossils of a coniferous forest. The fossils had taken millions of years to reach their present form. Wind, water, and soil erosion continue to change the desert. They expose new layers formed during even earlier times. They scatter the sediment and expose dinosaur tracks.

Paragraphs 4 to 7:
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