Billy’s Big Discovery
Reading Comprehension Activity

Billy loves to play outside, but he is less enthusiastic about doing yard work and other outdoor chores. One day in the garden he discovers something that makes him realize that he’s not the only one who has ever crept around his back yard. Students will read the story and answer follow-up questions about character traits, the language, and the plot.

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

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“I’m bored,” said Billy. He sighed loudly, making a huffing sound to show his mother that he was unhappy.

“Please stop complaining, Billy.” Mom sighed herself to show Billy that she didn’t like his behavior. “Why don’t you go outside and play?”

“I don’t want to. There’s nothing to do,” said Billy.

“You’re wrong about that. Go get my garden spade and dig up the weeds around the tomato plants if you’re bored.”

Billy could tell by Mom’s tone that he shouldn’t argue. He sighed one last time and went out the back door into the garden.

With the small spade in hand, Billy began loosening the dirt around weeds so he could pull them out. There were never many weeds because Mom did such a good job in the garden, so he finished his chore quickly. Billy liked the way the dirt felt on his hands, and he liked digging. Instead of going back inside, he began to dig a hole in an empty corner of the tomato patch.

Soon Billy’s hole was up to his elbow, and he was about to fill it back in when he noticed a rock at the bottom. He tried to pry it up with his fingers, but it was stuck. Billy used his spade to clear away more dirt.

“What a strange pebble,” Billy thought as he picked up the rock. Instead of being round as he expected, it was a flat black triangle. The edges were quite sharp. They looked like they had tiny bite marks around them.

When Billy showed the strange rock to his mother, she told him it wasn’t a rock at all. “That’s an arrowhead,” Mom explained. “Long ago, Native Americans lived here. They made their own tools from rocks and sticks. A hunter probably lost that here hundreds of years ago.”

Billy’s eyes grew wide. He had never thought about who had lived here before his family moved in. He went outside to sit in the garden and look around. In his imagination, his house and neighborhood disappeared and there was only a wide open prairie space. He thought of young boys his age learning to hunt for rabbits and birds with a bow and arrow.

Billy put the arrowhead in his room where he could see it and think about the history of his home every night before bed.

Comprehension Questions

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