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Reading Comprehension Worksheets
The United States Grows


The United States Grows<BR>(1865-1900)
The United States Grows

Print Railroads Reading Comprehension with Third Grade Work

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Print Railroads Reading Comprehension

Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   high interest, readability grades 3 to 5
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   3.71

     challenging words:    transcontinental, unsafe, chisel, spike, clocks, zone, rails, cheap, costs, brakes, dynamite, working, faster, improve, several, lines
     content words:    Civil War, East Coast, West Coast, Mississippi River, Sierra Nevada Mountains, At Promontory Point

By Cathy Pearl

1     When the Civil War started, railroad lines were very short. They often started in one city and then stopped in a city close to it. Most of the lines were in the North. Each company used a different track. Only certain trains could go on each one. Also, train travel was unsafe.
2     After the war was over, railroads improved quickly. One event that helped was the building of the transcontinental railroad. This was a rail line that went from the East Coast to the West Coast.
3     When the project started, there was already a line to the Mississippi River from the East Coast. The new line needed to be built from Nebraska to Sacramento, California. The people who started in Sacramento worked toward the east. Those in Nebraska worked toward the west. The plan was to have the two lines meet.
4     The job wasn't easy. It also wasn't cheap. The government had to help pay for the railroad. Huge loans were given to two companies. The project began in 1862.
5     Both sides of the railroad faced a lot of hard work. Those who started in Sacramento had to get through the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Many of the workers who took the job were immigrants. Many of those on this part of the job were Chinese. They had to dynamite and chisel their way through the mountains.

Paragraphs 6 to 13:
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The United States Grows

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