Teacher: Caswell (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Your job for the week:
- Make a copy of this document and title it with your name
- Read the following passage and highlight any words you don’t know.
- Guess what the unknown words mean by putting a comment on it (example below)
- Re-read the passage and answer the questions. We are working on the Cog Skill Selection of Evidence
If you’ve forgotten what that looks like, here is a good video for you to use: eSpark-> Using textual Evidence
Remember to keep updating your Reading Journal when you finish this assignment!
The Letter By Elizabeth Winthrop
The setting is the early 1900s, a time when child labor laws were sometimes ignored in the United States. Grace is the twelve-year-old narrator. She and Arthur work in the mill during the day, and Miss Lesley is their teacher after work.
- Miss Lesley nods to Arthur and he pulls out the paper and smooths the wrinkles he made when he crunched it up.
- “Read it to her,” Miss Lesley says.
- “Are you practicing your writing?” I ask.
- “Grace, hush for once in your life and listen.”
- It’s a letter. Arthur’s doing the writing. It goes this way.
- To Miss Anna Putnam, National Child Labor Committee, Vermont Chapter, Bennington, Vermont.
- Dear Madam,
- This is to inform you that there are underage children working in the cotton mill in the town of North Pownal, Vermont. These children range in age from eight to thirteen. They are employed in the following dangerous tasks.
- It stops there.
- “That’s as far as we got,” Arthur says. “Before you barged in.”
- “So now you can help us, Grace.”
- My brain is whirling around. My feet start shifting under the desk.
- “What is that child labor comm-thing?”
- “They investigate places where children are not supposed to be working because they are too young. Believe it or not, there are laws against child labor. They’re just not enforced,” Miss Lesley says.
- “But we need to work. For the money.” I can hear Mamère’s voice speaking right through my lips.
- “Yes, Grace. But you also need your education. Then when you get older, you’ll have a job that makes you much more money than you’ll ever get working in the mill.”
- “Stop arguing,” Arthur says to me. “You wanna leave?”
- I don’t. This is more interesting than reading la Justice to Pépé for the third time this week. Or doing laundry with Mamère. Or weeding.
- I’ll help them write their dumb old letter. What difference does it make? When that inspector comes, we’ll just hide in the elevator the way we always do until he leaves the premises. That’s a fancy word Mr. Wilson uses for the mill.
- “So back to the letter. What jobs do children do in the mill?”
- “Doffing,”( Doffing: Removing objects from a textile machine) I say.
- “Besides doffing,” says Miss Lesley.
- “Sweeping,” says Arthur. “And carrying the bobbin boxes. They’re heavy.”
- “Good. Write that down. What else, Grace?”
- I’m thinking hard. This is like a test and I want to do well on it. “Some of the boys work in the warping room.”
- Arthur writes.
- “And what about Thomas?” Miss Lesley asks.
- “He was fooling around at the time,” I tell her. “He was standing too close to that gearbox.”
- “More accidents happen because of the number of children working in the mill. But Thomas was legally old enough to be working so we’ll forget him for now. What else?”
- “We clean the machines on Saturdays. And some other times if the roving (Roving: Soft fibers ready to be twisted into yarn) gets too bunched up. Delia’s got scars on her fingers from the cleaning hook.”
- “Perfect,” says Miss Lesley, and I smile. I’m passing the test. “Arthur, put down machine maintenance.”
- Then she writes out that big word for him so he can copy it.
- “Why aren’t you writing the letter to the committee place?” I ask Miss Lesley.
- “She’ll get fired if they find out it’s coming from her,” Arthur says, and rolls his eyes at me as if everybody is supposed to know that. “You’d better not tell.”
- “Who will fire her?”
- “The mill owners,” Arthur spits. “They own the mill school.”
- “Hush, Arthur,” says Miss Lesley. “Nobody’s going to be firing me as long as we keep this quiet. Now sign it this way.” She writes out another big word for him to copy. It says Anonymous.
1 This question has two parts. First answer Part A, and then answer Part B.
Part A: How does Arthur respond when Miss Lesley asks Grace to help with the letter?
(A) He worries that Grace may reveal that Miss Lesley helped write the letter.
(B) He appreciates that Grace is helping him think of details to include in the letter.
(C) He believes Grace will help make the activity go faster so they can get back to work.
(D) He thinks it is good for Grace to learn about the Child Labor Committee.
2 Part B: Which sentence from the story best shows Arthur’s reaction?
(A) “Grace, hush for once in your life and listen.”
(B) “That’s as far as we got,” Arthur says.
(C) “That’s as far as we got,” Arthur says.
(D) “You’d better not tell.”
(E) “The mill owners,” Arthur spits.
3 This question has two parts. First answer Part A, and then answer Part B.
Part A: What is Miss Lesley’s point of view about child labor?
(A) People should learn to accept that child labor is needed.
(B) The mill owners will stop hiring children very soon.
(C) Child labor will gradually go away by itself.
(D) Child labor is wrong and should be stopped.
4 Part B: What are two reasons Miss Lesley provides to support her point of view?
(A) Children spend too much time away from their families because they are
(B) Children should be spending time in school instead of working.
(C) It is important that children earn money to help their families.
(D) Having so many children working at the mill makes accidents more likely.
(E) The equipment in the mill is too complicated for children to use.
(F) Children are not responsible enough to perform the duties they are given in the mill.
(G) There are not enough jobs to keep both children and adults employed.
One of the central ideas in the passage is that all the characters are facing dangers. Write an a few paragraphs that
- explains what the dangers are for the children
- explains what the dangers are for the adult
Use evidence from the passage to support your response.