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Lonnie the Late Bloomer

Lonnie the Late Bloomer
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Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   3.86

     challenging words:    happening, responsibility, schoolwork, assembly, late, wallet, however, stage, lived, reputation, during, diesel, tablespoon, blame, opportunity, identification
     content words:    Science Fair Week, State Science Fair Competition, Benjamin Franklin

Lonnie the Late Bloomer
By Joyce Furstenau

1     Lonnie was late to school almost every day. Lonnie was not lazy. He studied hard and got good grades. He was one of the top students in his science class. His projects always won prizes in the science fair. His schoolwork was always on time and done neatly. For some reason, however, Lonnie was always late. He was late for school, late for appointments, late for church, and late for supper. He always slipped into church and sat in the back because he was late. His food was always half cold because he was late. Sometimes he got only a tablespoon of his favorite foods because he was late to the table.
2     Lonnie thought about the reasons why he was late. He told his mother he was late because he couldn't find a clean shirt. He told his father he was late because he couldn't find his books. He told his teacher he was late because he spilled his cereal and had to change his clothes. He told his friends he was late because he had to walk to school while they rode the bus. Lonnie lived only seven blocks from school.
3     One day his friend Josh asked him why he was always late. "What's happening with the late thing, Lonnie? You are late for everything. Your friends are getting tired of waiting for you."
4     Lonnie made an excuse. "My mom didn't have the laundry done, and I had to wait for my clothes to come out of the dryer this morning. You're always on time, Josh. How do you do it?" he asked.
5     "I guess I'm organized. I get things ready for school the night before. I make my lunch, pack my backpack, and leave my stuff right by the door so it will be right there when I'm ready to leave. Before I go to bed, I lay my clothes out for the next day so I won't have to worry about that at the last minute. It's not rocket science, Lonnie. It's just planning ahead," answered Josh.
6     "Hmm...No doubt if I did all of that, something else would make me late," said Lonnie.
7     "I don't think it's anyone's fault that you are late, Lonnie. You can blame it on others if you want, but it's your responsibility to be on time. You must own it yourself," said Josh.
8     "Thanks for the advice. I'll see what I can do," said Lonnie halfheartedly. He was feeling hurt at Josh's reply.
9     Josh wanted Lonnie to join him for a day of skiing that weekend. Lonnie was supposed to meet the ski bus at 8 A.M. sharp, but, you guessed it, he missed the bus. The following Thursday was the school's science fair. This was Lonnie's favorite school activity.

Paragraphs 10 to 16:
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