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Mystery May
Starting the Day on a Good Note

Starting the Day on a Good Note
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6

     challenging words:    bustling, lighthearted, mother-daughter, plaintive, sprite, tight-fisted, violinist, passion, finding, definitely, successful, slim, housekeeping, ninth, headband, satisfaction
     content words:    New York, New Yorkers, Jason MacDonald

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Starting the Day on a Good Note
By Colleen Messina

1     If music could become a person, then Celtic music could have become a New York girl named Lorelei O'Brien. The slim sprite of a girl had long red hair, pale skin, and eyes the color of the sea. The sprinkling of freckles across her nose reminded her friends of poppy seeds on a muffin. Lorelei's talent had helped her learn how to play the piano with ease, and she learned how to do Irish dancing so quickly that it made her teachers shiver. Her love of music carried over into other parts of her life as well and made her lighthearted and sensitive.
2     One bright Saint Patrick's Day, Lorelei and her mother were in the subway station on their way back to their apartment. They had had a great day shopping and planning activities. Lorelei was going into ninth grade in the fall, and the idea of going to high school was a little bit scary.
3     "Mom, do you think I could take flute as well as piano this year? I think I could borrow Jenna's old one, just to try it," asked Lorelei. She pushed her green headband in place, a gesture she sometimes used when she was a little nervous. She was not sure what her mom would think of her idea.
4     "I am not sure if we can afford two instruments, but if you can find a flute to borrow, I'll see if I can find someone to show you the basics," said Ms. O'Brien.
5     Ms. O'Brien had become an expert at finding ways to get more music for her daughter. She often bartered for lessons. She babysat for a neighbor in exchange for Lorelei's Irish dancing lessons. Lorelei bartered, too. She did housekeeping in exchange for piano lessons. The mother-daughter team had become well known for their creative ways to add more music into Lorelei's life, and their efforts paid off. Lorelei's musical talent blossomed!
6     The pair hurried through the station until Lorelei stopped in her tracks. Her mother went ahead several paces before realizing that her daughter had not kept up. She turned and looked behind her.
7     "Mom, listen to that music!" said Lorelei. The clear sound of a violin playing rose above the bustling crowds. It was a lonely Irish tune, and Lorelei recognized its brilliant quality right away. Her eyes sparkled with delight.
8     Even though Lorelei was moved by the mournful music, few others stopped to listen.

Paragraphs 9 to 18:
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