Image in the public domain.
The Dust Bowl was one of the worst man-made environmental disasters. It turned the southern Great Plains of the U.S. into a desert. When the native prairie grass was pulled out and replaced with wheat fields, the loose soil had nothing to hold it. The dirt blew away in the wind, and as it traveled it gathered into enormous dust storms that choked people and animals with dirt. In this public radio story you will hear archival interviews with people who lived through the Dust Bowl. You also hear an early recording of the poem "Hard Luck Okie" which examines the reasons why people moved West.
Story Length: 7:11
This Land Press, distributed by PRX
AIR DATE: 07/15/2012
Throughout time, the American dairy industry has been in desperate need of workers and this attracts immigrants from all over the world. This story starts in the home of an immigrant family as they begin work for the day. Listen to learn about the experiences of new immigrants to the United States, from Guatemala, who work on dairy farms in northern New York and Vermont.
The two-month Bread and Roses strike of 1912 carried out by textile factory workers in Lawrence, Massachusetts marked the beginning of the labor movement. The workers, made up overwhelmingly of immigrant women and children, walked off the jobs they had risked everything to travel to America to take. This public radio story looks back at the strike and what themes resonate today.
In the early 20th century Americans streamed to the middle of the country because of the Homestead Acts. These were federal laws that gave people ownership of the land for free. In this public radio story you will hear from people who grew up on homesteads in Montana in the early 20th century describing life on the plains. Both people’s families were fairly isolated and self-sufficient, working hard to make a living off the land, but their affection for that lifestyle is still strong.
During the Great Depression, high unemployment affected millions of Americans. In this radio story, people who lived through the depression as young people share their experiences of being out of work and hungry, and depending on relatives or strangers for food. The lack of any government safety net for the unemployed meant that people who could not find work were on their own, and many had to resort to begging to survive.
These levels of listening complexity can help teachers choose stories for their students. The levels do not relate to the content of the story, but to the complexity of the vocabulary, sentence structure and language in the audio story.
These stories are easier to understand and are a good starting point for elementary students or English learners.
These stories have an average language challenge for middle and high school students, and can be scaffolded for English learners.
These stories have challenging vocabulary and language and students may need to have some background knowledge to understand the story.