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Narcissa Whitman



Narcissa's Noble Mission
Print Narcissa's Noble Mission Reading Comprehension


Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 7 to 9
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   8.65

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    bedroom-on, uninterested, waymark, reluctance, unsuccessful, territorial, tragedy, killing, epidemic, tension, navigate, nomadic, tragic, teaching, religion, tribe
     content words:    Narcissa Whitman, Narcissa Prentiss, Marcus Whitman, Fort Boise, Oregon Territory, In November, Rocky Mountains, Whitman Mission, Washington State
Narcissa's Noble Mission

By Cindy Campbell
1     What's your dream? Do you want to walk on the moon? Would you like to train dolphins? How about becoming a chef in an elegant restaurant? Have you ever considered doing missionary work? That was the childhood dream of Narcissa Whitman. Growing up in the early 1800s, Narcissa Prentiss developed a responsible nature. Every day at the Prentiss household began and ended early. Each morning Narcissa washed up in her bedroom. On some winter mornings she had to break ice in her wash basin. She was an outstanding student in the one-room school she attended. By the age of twelve, she was capable of caring for the smaller children of her family, making soap and candles, baking, spinning yarn, and sewing. Drying apples was one of Narcissa's favorite chores. Making smelly soap from bear fat and wood ashes was her least favorite.
 
2     When the Prentiss family entertained two missionaries at a Sunday dinner, Narcissa was delighted with their fascinating stories. These men had traveled among the Indians with the hope of teaching them to read, farm, and care for the sick. Their accounts told of missionaries who faced deadly challenges like blizzards, floods, or the possibility of being killed by those they were trying to help. Those stories took root and stirred in Narcissa a desire for missionary work.
 
3     After completing high school in 1824, Narcissa worked as a teacher for eleven years. During each of those eleven years, Narcissa applied for a missionary position. It wasn't until marrying Dr. Marcus Whitman in 1836 that her opportunity bloomed. The Whitmans, along with a few others, headed west in a wagon that was the first to navigate as far as Fort Boise in what would become the Oregon Territory. Narcissa was one of the first of two white women to cross the Rocky Mountains. In November of that year, Narcissa's long awaited dream came true when the Whitmans opened their mission among the Cayuse at Waiilatpu.

Paragraphs 4 to 6:
For the complete story with questions: click here for printable


Reading Comprehension
     English Reading Comprehension: Narcissa's Noble Mission
     Spanish Reading Comprehension: La Noble Misión de Narcissa




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