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Harry Houdini's Birthday



Magical Inspiration
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Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   4.35

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    illusionist, strait, inspiration, worthless, stunts, refused, flips, locks, settled, born, theatre, subject, amazement, however, magician, appear
     content words:    Ehrich Weiss, Harry Houdini, Rabbi Weiss
Magical Inspiration

By Phyllis Naegeli
1     Young Ehrich Weiss was born in Budapest, Hungary, on March 24, 1874. When he was four, his family came to America and settled in Appleton, Wisconsin. When he was a boy, his family was very poor. However, Ehrich always dreamed of making a name for himself. Eventually, he became the famous Harry Houdini. The inspiration for his life's work came from two special events in his young life – a circus act and a trip to Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
 
2     "I am going to be a magician," Ehrich announced one hot, summer afternoon.
 
3     "Oh, you are!" said his mother. "Where did you get such a silly idea?"
 
4     "At the circus," Ehrich said. "The magician showed me how to do a coin trick."
 
5     "When were you at the circus?" his father, Rabbi Weiss, asked.
 
6     Ehrich humbly turned to face his father. "I sneaked under the ropes to go today, Father."
 
7     "Did you not sell papers with your brothers?"
 
8     Ehrich hung his head. "No, I did not."
 
9     "Oh, Ehrich, you know we must all work hard to earn money. We do not have time for such worthless activities as going to the circus," said his father.
 
10     "I know I must work to help our family," he said. Then his face lit up. "But, Papa, I learned a wonderful trick today. Now I can earn money by doing magic at the circus."
 
11     His father shook his head. "Always dreaming. You will earn money by selling papers and shining shoes. That is honest, hard work."
 
12     "But, Father," he pleaded.
 
13     "There will be no ‘buts.' Tomorrow you will sell papers with your brothers."
 
14     "Yes, Papa," Ehrich replied, with shoulders drooping.

Paragraphs 15 to 35:
For the complete story with questions: click here for printable



Harry Houdini's Birthday Math Printable
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