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Level 2: Reading Independently
· More complex stories
· Varied sentence structure
· Paragraphs and short chapters
One day while young Tom Edison hands out sandwiches on the Mt. Clemens railroad platform, he sees the station telegraph operator's son, Jimmy, playing on the track. When a boxcar comes rolling toward Jimmy at top speed, it's Tom to the rescue -- and the deed is rewarded with some telegraph lessons that will change Tom's life forever.
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Grade 1-2-Simple sentences portray a dramatic event in 15-year-old Edison's life. He sells food on the railroad platform, and one day removes a toddler from the path of a rolling boxcar. The child's father, the station telegraph operator, says, "How can I ever repay you, Tom? I am not a rich man, but would one hundred dollars help?" Edison replies, "I do not want your money, sir-.But could you teach me to be a telegraph operator?" Tom continues, "I have read a lot about electricity-.I am sure electricity can run lots of things." Mr. Mackenzie's response foreshadows Tom's future, "Maybe even an electric light!" While the text is engaging and accessible for beginning readers, the presumed conversation and descriptions of events and feelings render the work historical fiction, not nonfiction, as the CIP indicates. Mr. Mackenzie's offer of one hundred dollars may capture children's attention but it will also mislead them, for in 1862 it was one-sixth of an average family's income. Many Edison biographers indicate that Mackenzie was not a wealthy man, making this offer a troubling departure from fact. DiVito's attractive pen-and-watercolor cartoons further the impression that this is not nonfiction.
Laura Scott, Farmington Community Library, MI
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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