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John Deere
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Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 3 to 5
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   4.04

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    inheritance, innovator-to, reshaped, seamstress, self-cleaning, self-scouring, civil, section, easily, sharpen, perfectly, polished, t-shirts, education, longer, caption
     content words:    John Deere Historic Site, Grand Detour, John Deere, Charles Deere
John Deere

By Mary Lynn Bushong
1     Caption: John Deere Historic Site, Grand Detour, Illinois
 
2     What does it take to be a great innovator, someone who takes an invention and makes it better? Some might say that it takes a lot of money or great brains. Some might say that all it takes is a person who is willing to think things through from another angle. John Deere was like that.
 
3     John Deere was born in Vermont in 1804. His father, a tailor, took a ship to England in an attempt to claim an inheritance. He never came home. He was lost at sea.
 
4     His mother, a seamstress, worked hard to support herself and six children. They had little money and even less education. Life was very difficult for them.
 
5     John didn't let that stop him. He apprenticed himself to a blacksmith to learn the trade. He learned to always do the best job he could do.
 
6     Things did not always go well for John. He bought land and built his own blacksmith shop, and it burned down - twice. He was in debt. Work became harder to find. Some of Deere's debts were getting bigger. He was afraid he would be sent to a debtor's prison.
 
7     By this time, Deere had a family of his own. He decided that he should go west to Illinois. A good blacksmith should be able to find work there. He could pay his debts.
 
8     In 1837, he left his family behind to make a fresh start in Grand Detour, Illinois. He had work there almost as soon as he set up shop.
 
9     Farmers on the prairie were having a problem. The soil was much different than it was in Vermont. It would stick to the iron plow. Farmers had to clear it away often with a piece of wood. That made plowing an even longer, harder job.

Paragraphs 10 to 16:
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