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A Hot Time in the Old Town
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Print A Hot Time in the Old Town Reading Comprehension

Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 2 to 3
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   1.86

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    late, mills, last, night, legend, skyscraper, died, stories, tower, million, also, city, through, move, town, year
     content words:    Old Lady Leary, Great Chicago Fire, Great Fire
A Hot Time in the Old Town

By Jody Williams
1     "Late last night, when we were all in bed, Old Lady Leary lit a lantern in the shed. And when the cow kicked it over, she winked her eye and said, ‘It'll be a hot time in the old town tonight."
 
2     On October 8, 1871, a fire started. It started in Chicago, Illinois. It is known as the Great Chicago Fire. In 1871, most of the buildings were made of wood. Hay and straw were inside almost every barn. People used candles for light. They also used oil lamps. The weather was dry that year. It had not rained in three weeks. The Great Fire was not the first fire that year.
 
3     There are many stories about how the fire started. One legend is that it started in a barn. A legend is a story that may or may not be true that is passed on for many years. The barn was at the O'Learys' house. The story says that Mrs. O'Leary lit a lantern inside the barn. She was going to milk her cow. Mrs. O'Leary left the lantern burning. She left the barn. The cow bumped into the lantern. It fell over. There was hay on the floor in the barn. The hay caught on fire. There is no proof that is how the fire started. People told the legend all over the world. There was a song written about it.

Paragraphs 4 to 5:
For the complete story with questions: click here for printable


Reading Comprehension
     English Reading Comprehension: A Hot Time in the Old Town
     French Reading Comprehension: Il fait chaud dans la vielle ville
     Spanish Reading Comprehension: Un Tiempo Caliente en el Pueblo Viejo
     German Reading Comprehension: Eine heiße Zeit in der alten Stadt




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