Paper Dogies

Paper Dogies
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grade 9
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.03

     challenging words:    bicycle-horse, bonanza, brrrring, copious, dogie, early-morning, facetious, felicitous, help-if, overt, paperboy, pullover, sci-fi, steely-eyed, strawberry-banana, turnkey
     content words:    Cathy Delaney, Boy Scout, Could Cathy

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Paper Dogies
By Colleen Messina

1     "Cathy Delaney, you are fifteen and too old to tease your brother!" Cathy's father said sternly. "Do you realize how hard Scott works to do his paper route each day? He has a dilemma because he has to find a replacement for the week he is away at Boy Scout camp." His steely-eyed look meant Cathy needed to learn a lesson. "You would like to earn some extra money, wouldn't you?"
2     "Sure, Dad," Cathy said, sealing her fate of rising at 4:30 am for an entire week. At least she would earn some money to buy some new clothes. She would normally shun this job, but her dad's expression made that impossible. So instead, she pasted a heroic smile on her face as she tried to quell an awful feeling in her stomach.
3     Cathy made a sincere effort to be a good sister, but she did tease her little brother about his paper route. Scott was eleven and took overt pride in his route. Mr. Delaney, who used to be a paperboy, finally put an end to Cathy's facetious attitude by enforcing his dreadful suggestion. He knew that Cathy normally rose at the last possible minute, showered, gulped down a strawberry-banana smoothie and smeared on her raspberry lip-gloss as she ran to the school bus at 7:40. Could Cathy get up at dawn?
4     Although 4:30 am was early, Cathy felt confident she could handle the paper route. She already was a conscientious babysitter, so how hard could a paper route be? Babysitting required that Cathy develop a felicitous demeanor, as well as a certain aptitude for doing many things at once. It gave her physical skills (bouncing a baby while talking on the phone), social skills (talking on the phone while changing a diaper), and investigative skills (locating essential nourishment like soda and ice cream while talking on the phone).
5     Cathy worked hard and managed to deliver papers for six days without a single impediment. On the last day, Cathy woke up in a warm fog of delicious, leftover dreams punctuated by the shrill brrrring of the alarm clock. She groaned and angrily threw the alarm clock across the room. She was tired of rising at this ridiculous hour.
6     Cathy dragged herself out of bed, stumbled to her cherry dresser, and hit her leg on the corner of the bed. She yanked out a flannel pullover and caught her wavy hair in the zipper in front. She tried to untangle her hair, and promptly tripped over her Siamese cat, Jasmine, who let out a terrific yowl as Cathy fell on top of her. Jasmine and Cathy howled together in pain for a moment, and then Cathy noticed the copious rain pouring down the windowpane. Things looked worse every second. Cathy had never thought of the paper route as an aquatic event...until now.
7     Cathy stumbled downstairs, thinking that a cup of coffee would probably help-if she drank coffee. There was a bonanza of newspapers piled high in the driveway. Cathy had to put the papers into plastic bags while the unremitting rain fell in torrents. Cathy looked ragged, and she had not delivered a single paper yet. The week of early rising was catching up to her, and today her mood matched the dreary weather.
8     Jagged streaks of white lightning rippled across the inky sky as Cathy loaded up her bike, which creaked and groaned like an overburdened hunchback in a sci-fi flick. She needed to lubricate the bike chain but didn't have time now. Cathy felt queasy with concern as lightning illuminated the street. Jasmine, who had followed Cathy outside, howled in off-key notes of despair with every boom of thunder.

Paragraphs 9 to 16:
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