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Immigrant Children at Work


Immigrant Children at Work
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Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   5.49

     challenging words:    alleys, backlots, cashiers, inspector, lowest-paying, newsies, salesgirls, stagnant, tenement, underage, imaginable, stuffy, industrious, cases, spite, foundation
     content words:    United States, New York, Leonard Covello

Immigrant Children at Work
By Colleen Messina

1     Millions of immigrants came to the United States between the 1820s and the 1930s. All of them had dreams of a better life, and they were prepared to work to achieve their goals. Even children worked hard in their adopted country.
2     While many children went to school, many others had to work to help support their families. Immigrants took the lowest-paying jobs. They had few skills. Men often worked twelve or fourteen hours a day. Still, families needed more money than the father made to survive in their new country. Mothers had to also work. The children had to help, too, even if they were only 8 or 10 years old.
3     Children were supposed to be in school until they were fourteen years old, but no one enforced the law. Many teenagers lied about their ages because their families needed their wages to make ends meet. The luckier children could get jobs inside. For example, girls often worked in stores as salesgirls and cashiers. The Working Women's Society of New York did a study in 1890. They found that most store employees were underage, but no one seemed concerned about it.

Paragraphs 4 to 9:
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United States
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