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O. Henry
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Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.08

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    chocolaty, cirrhosis, humorous, luxurious, prolific, publication, tasteless, warden, watchcase, witty, physician, pseudonym, ironic, existence, classic, possession
     content words:    Tootsie Pop, William Sydney Porter, North Carolina, Athol Estes Roach, Rolling Stone, Houston Post, Christmas Story, Orrin Henry, New York, Red Chief
O. Henry

By Colleen Messina
1     Authors are not usually compared to candy, but O. Henry was not an ordinary author. Reading one of his short stories is like eating a Tootsie Pop for the first time. The end of the story usually has a quirky twist just like the chocolaty center of a Tootsie Pop. O. Henry's witty short stories are famous for their sweet, ironic endings.
 
2     O. Henry's life had some twists and turns in it as well. He was born on September 11, 1862, with the name William Sydney Porter. He grew up in Greensboro, North Carolina. His father was a physician, and his mother died when he was only three. William's grandmother raised him. He loved to read as a young boy, but he was also willing to work hard. He worked in a drug store when he was 15. Later, he lived in Houston and had a variety of jobs. He married Athol Estes Roach, and the couple had one daughter.
 
3     William's writing career began in 1884 when he started a humorous weekly publication called The Rolling Stone. Unfortunately, William's literary project did not succeed. He began drinking heavily at this time, too. William became a reporter for the Houston Post, but then his own life hit an unfortunate streak of bad luck. He went to jail for embezzling money from the bank where he had previously worked as a teller. Some people do not believe that he even committed the crime.

Paragraphs 4 to 8:
For the complete story with questions: click here for printable





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