Worksheets and No Prep Teaching Resources
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Reading Comprehension Worksheets
Native Americans
Native American Totem Poles

Native Americans
Native Americans


Native American Totem Poles
Print Native American Totem Poles Reading Comprehension with Fourth Grade Work

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Print Native American Totem Poles Reading Comprehension

Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.75

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    baby-raven, ovoid, totem, artistic, historical, feat, ochre, phrase, charcoal, clan, artists, natural, carving, mystery, upright, poles
     content words:    Native American, Native Americans, Sky Realm, Underwater City, Even Native Americans, In Northwestern, Pacific Northwest, In Kake, Alert Bay


Native American Totem Poles
By Colleen Messina
  

1     If you saw a telephone pole with carved faces and designs on it, it might seem a little strange. But if you saw a tall, carved cedar pole, you would be seeing beautiful Native American art. Native Americans figured out a way to make cedar trees into incredible totem poles that preserved their history and stunned European explorers.
 
2     Totem poles told stories about Indian chiefs, families, historical events, or legends. A "totem" is a symbol used by Native American families or clans. Each group used a different animal for its totem. The word "totem" came from a word that meant, "to be related to someone," and totem poles became an important part of Native American culture since they had no written history.
 
3     One famous totem pole told the story of a raven that brought sunshine to Earth. A long time ago, the world was dark. The raven, a smart bird, knew that a family had stolen the sun and had hidden it in a box in their house. The raven decided to become a baby so the family would adopt him. He had the perfect plan to annoy his family into giving him the precious box. He cried all the time so he could get the box.
 
4     The family got tired of the baby screaming all the time. They knew that he wanted the box. They decided to give it to him so that he would stop crying. When no one was looking, the baby-raven turned back into his real raven self and flew away. He flew out into the world carrying the box. He opened it up, and sunlight burst over the whole Earth.
 
5     Other totem pole legends had unusual characters that rivaled 20th century super heroes. The Thunderbird was the grand lord of the Sky Realm. He ate whales and liked dance ceremonies, although he probably could not dance too well right after eating a whale! He had a dumb brother named Kolus. Another creature, the Whale, ruled the Underwater City. He lived there with other strange creatures. Bear, Beaver, Wolf, Frog, and even Mosquito were also on totem poles. It is hard to imagine that an Indian family would want the mosquito as a totem, though.

Paragraphs 6 to 11:
For the complete story with questions: click here for printable



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Native Americans
             Native Americans


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United States
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    Black History and Blacks in U.S. History  
 
    Children in History  
 
    Government Careers  
 
    Hispanic Heritage  
 
    How Can I Help?  
 
 
    Immigration  
 
    National Parks and Monuments  
 
    Native Americans  
 
    Presidents of the United States  
 
    Women's History  
 


United States History
    A Nation Divided
(1840-1861)
 
 
    A New Nation
(1776-1830)
 
 
    After the Civil War
(1865-1870)
 
 
    American Revolution  
 
    Cold War
(1947-1991)
 
 
    Colonial America (1492-1776)  
 
    Lewis and Clark
(1804-1806)
 
 
    Pearl Harbor  
 
    Spanish American War (1898)  
 
    The 1890's  
 
    The 1900's  
 
    The 1910's  
 
    The 1920's  
 
    The 1930's  
 
 
    The 1940's  
 
    The 1950's  
 
    The 1960's  
 
    The 1970's  
 
    The 1980's  
 
    The 1990's  
 
    The 2000's  
 
    The Civil War
(1861-1865)
 
 
    The Great Depression
(1929-1945)
 
 
    The United States Grows
(1865-1900)
 
 
    The War of 1812  
 
    Wild, Wild West  
 
    World War I
(1914-1918)
 
 
    World War II  
 


50 States

             Fifty States Theme Unit


Document Based Activities
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