Imagine you are Harry. Write a journal entry describing what you did during the Great Galveston Hurricane. Include plenty of descriptive details!
A 14-year-old makes a heroic rescue in the Galveston Hurricane of 1900.
Students will examine how the author uses descriptive details to help readers understand what a terrible disaster was like. They will write their own narratives using descriptive details.
More About the Story
descriptive details, vocabulary, key details, inference, main idea and supporting details, cause and effect, text structure, narrative writing
This article introduces readers to the deadliest natural disaster in U.S. history: the Galveston Hurricane of 1900. It also recounts the heroic actions of a 14-year-old boy who helped rescue 36 people in the storm.
The text is nonlinear, with narrative and informational passages. Photos and a map support comprehension.
The article includes some challenging academic and domain-specific vocabulary. It also contains similes and a rhetorical question.
Some knowledge of hurricanes and 19th century America will be helpful for comprehension but is not required.
Social studies: history
Science: natural disasters
1. Preparing to Read
Preview Text Features and Vocabulary; Watch a Video (40 minutes)
2. Close Reading
Read and Unpack the Text (45 minutes)
3. Skill Building
Featured Skill: Descriptive Details
Create a News Broadcast: Ask students to imagine that TV news shows existed in 1900. Have them work in groups of three to create a segment reporting on the Galveston Hurricane and Harry’s actions. One of the students can act as Harry in an interview. They can record their segments, or act them out for the class.
Print and distribute our lower-Lexile version of this article. Read it together in a small group, or students listen to the audio of this version while they follow along.
Present this essential question to students: What motivates people to perform heroic acts? Put students in small groups to discuss, reflecting on Harry’s actions during the hurricane and other examples they are familiar with. Then come together as a class to share ideas.
Read the lower-Lexile version of the article aloud to students as they follow along. Then pose questions from our Questions for English Language Learners. This resource, available online, provides questions for students at different stages of language acquisition.