The cyclone

Words: 601-700

Skills: Figurative Language Story Elements Summary

Grades: 4th 5th

Topics: Adventure / Thriller and Science Fiction / Fantasy

Genres: Prose

Lexile Range: 740L - 1050L

Lexile Measure: 970L

CCSS: Reading: Literature

Themes:

The Cyclone


by L. Frank Baum from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Chapter 1 Passage: L. Frank Baum wrote "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" in 1900. It's the story of a girl named Dorothy who lives with her aunt and uncle on a farm in Kansas. Dorothy has a dog named Toto. This passage is from the beginning of the book. Students will read the passage and answer questions on the language and the plot action.

Reading Comprehension Passage

The Cyclone

by L. Frank Baum from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
L. Frank Baum wrote "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" in 1900. It's the story of a girl named Dorothy who lives with her aunt and uncle on a farm in Kansas. Dorothy has a dog named Toto. This passage is from the beginning of the book.

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 From the far north they heard a low wail of the wind, and Uncle Henry and Dorothy could see where the long grass bowed in waves before the coming storm. There now came a sharp whistling in the air from the south, and as they turned their eyes that way they saw ripples in the grass coming from that direction also.

Suddenly Uncle Henry stood up.

"There's a cyclone coming, Em," he called to his wife. "I'll go look after the stock." Then he ran toward the sheds where the cows and horses were kept.

Aunt Em dropped her work and came to the door. One glance told her of the danger close at hand.

"Quick, Dorothy!" she screamed. "Run for the cellar!"

Toto jumped out of Dorothy's arms and hid under the bed, and the girl started to get him. Aunt Em, badly frightened, threw open the trap door in the floor and climbed down the ladder into the small, dark hole. Dorothy caught Toto at last and started to follow her aunt. When she was halfway across the room there came a great shriek from the wind, and the house shook so hard that she lost her footing and sat down suddenly upon the floor.

Then a strange thing happened.

The house whirled around two or three times and rose slowly through the air. Dorothy felt as if she were going up in a balloon.

The north and south winds met where the house stood, and made it the exact center of the cyclone. In the middle of a cyclone the air is generally still, but the great pressure of the wind on every side of the house raised it up higher and higher, until it was at the very top of the cyclone; and there it remained and was carried miles and miles away as easily as you could carry a feather.

It was very dark, and the wind howled horribly around her, but Dorothy found she was riding quite easily. After the first few whirls around, and one other time when the house tipped badly, she felt as if she were being rocked gently, like a baby in a cradle.

Toto did not like it. He ran about the room, now here, now there, barking loudly; but Dorothy sat quite still on the floor and waited to see what would happen.

Once Toto got too near the open trap door, and fell in; and at first the little girl thought she had lost him. But soon she saw one of his ears sticking up through the hole, for the strong pressure of the air was keeping him up so that he could not fall. She crept to the hole, caught Toto by the ear, and dragged him into the room again, afterward closing the trap door so that no more accidents could happen.

Hour after hour passed away, and slowly Dorothy got over her fright; but she felt quite lonely, and the wind shrieked so loudly all about her that she nearly became deaf. At first she had wondered if she would be dashed to pieces when the house fell again; but as the hours passed and nothing terrible happened, she stopped worrying and resolved to wait calmly and see what the future would bring. At last she crawled over the swaying floor to her bed, and lay down upon it; and Toto followed and lay down beside her.

In spite of the swaying of the house and the wailing of the wind, Dorothy soon closed her eyes and fell fast asleep.

Passage Only

Reading Comprehension Questions

1. Write a metaphor or simile from the passage.



2. Why didn't Dorothy follow Auntie Em into the cellar?



3. Why did Toto not fall to the ground when he fell through the trap door?



4. How long did the cyclone carry the house?