Great Aunt Ella's Treasures

Great Aunt Ella's Treasures
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grade 9
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   8.37

     challenging words:    averse, caustic, cornfields, discourse, dissonant, faultless, foray, lumbering, pugnacious, saucer-sized, spaghetti-strap, wrought-iron, obnoxious, mahogany, anticipation, jubilant
     content words:    Erica Magdalena, Great Aunt Ella, Aunt Ella, Crawford County Summer Fair, Great Aunt, Did Ella, Ella Magdalena

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Great Aunt Ella's Treasures
By Colleen Messina

1     Erica lazily lounged in bed and breathed in the delicious smell of clover wafting through her open window. Her mother had already called her once, but Erica loved the luxury of sleeping late on summer days. She knew she should strive for a more disciplined schedule...starting tomorrow.
2     "Erica Magdalena, GET UP! Remember, you have to visit Great Aunt Ella," called her mom. Her mother's voice sounded dissonant. Erica was averse to her old-fashioned middle name and felt disgusted when her mother used it.
3     Erica felt that visiting Great Aunt Ella would be a trial. Ella looked like a sweet woman, but sometimes she was a vixen. She wore her silvery hair pulled back in a modest bun, and her wire-rimmed glasses were perched demurely on the end of a nose as rough and rosy as a partially ripe strawberry. However, sweet Great Aunt Ella usually launched into a pugnacious discourse about modern fashion when she saw Erica's tight blue jeans and spaghetti-strap tops. Erica tried to conduct herself respectfully, but it took time for her bruised feelings to subside after Ella's criticism.
4     "Coming, Mom, but I've got to shampoo my hair," called Erica.
5     "Your great aunt is expecting us at 10 am sharp, and it is 9:40 now, so I'll call and reassure her that we're on our way," answered her mom.
6     Erica was relieved that her mother's voice sounded buoyant again. Erica had lots to collect for her 4H project on genealogy at the Crawford County Summer Fair. Erica hoped to find a family tree, birth and marriage certificates, heirloom jewelry, and old photographs at her great aunt's house, if she could survive the visit.
7     It would be worth it, though, if she won a blue ribbon at the fair! Erica loved going on the dizzying rides, then eating homemade bratwurst followed by sparkly cups of shaved ice in obnoxious neon colors. The county farmers were jubilant about their harvest each year and proudly displayed their enormous cucumbers, saucer-sized zinnias, and delectable tomatoes. The livestock barns housed fuzzy lambs, bleating goats, and lethargic pigs, but Erica secretly admitted that the animals were not the real reason she visited the barns. What she really liked to do was to chat with the boys who tended the animals!
8     "Mom, I'm ready! It's only 9:52," said Erica.

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