As Rare as Hen’s Teeth
Reading Comprehension Activity

Millie loves to visit her grandparents’ farm, but she’s afraid to feed the chickens. Her fear is based on a simple misunderstanding, though, as she learns when Grandpa sets the record straight. Students will read the story and answer follow-up questions about character traits, the plot details, and the vocabulary.

Topic(s): Realistic Fiction. Skill(s): Summary, Character Traits, Context Clues. Genre(s): Prose

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Saturdays were Millie’s favorite day of the week. That’s the day she got

to visit Grandma and Grandpa’s farm. Millie loved to pick wildflowers

and play with the piglets. She also liked to help choose vegetables for

the lunch salad.

There was one part of the farm that Millie did

not enjoy. She always ran past the chicken coop as fast as she could to

avoid the mean hens. The pecked the ground with their sharp beaks. Their small, yellow eyes were always looking for food. Millie was afraid

they would bite her with their sharp teeth.

After arranging

wildflowers and eating lunch with her grandparents, it was almost time

to head home. “Before you go,” said Grandpa, “Will you please feed the

chickens? I’m running behind on my chores today. I could use your help,


Millie had never told anyone she was afraid of the

chickens before. She tried to speak, but Grandpa had already handed her a

bag of cracked corn. “This is their favorite snack,” he said.


slowly walked out the back door towards the chicken coop. The hens saw

her coming and ran to the door of the coop. They were very excited.


stood outside the coop and began to cry. She didn’t think she could

ever open the door and let the hens bite her hands and legs trying to

get the corn. They were so greedy!

Grandpa heard Millie sobbing and walked over to the coop. “What’s wrong?” he asked.

“I don’t want the hens to bite me!” Millie cried.


Millie,” said Grandpa kindly. “Chickens can’t bite you. Haven’t you

heard how Grandma always says how things are as rare as hen’s teeth?”

“Doesn’t rare mean big and sharp?” sniffled Millie.


smiled. “No. Rare means uncommon. She says that because hens don’t have

teeth at all!” Grandpa laughed. “They are very greedy, but they

couldn’t bite you even if they wanted to.”

Millie looked at the hens. Now they just seemed silly, not scary. Millie opened the door to feed the chickens their lunch.


guess being scared of chickens is as rare as hen’s teeth, too,” she

said and laughed along with Grandpa. Millie was glad because she knew

she would never be afraid of the chickens again.

Comprehension Questions

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