A moose with the Northern lights shining in the sky behind it
jhorrocks/Getty Images (Reindeer); Shutterstock.com (Background)

Welcome to Alaska

Giant reindeer. Dazzling light shows. Sled rides to school. Find out what life could be like in a tiny Alaskan town.

By Tricia Culligan
Lexiles: 600-700L
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Think and Read: Big Idea

As you read, think about what it could be like to live in a small town in Alaska.

7:00 A.M.

7:00 A.M.

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Howling Alarm Clock 

Awooooo! You wake up to the sound of dogs howling. Who needs an alarm clock when your family owns sled dogs? 

Howling Alarm Clock

Awooooo! You wake up to the sound of dogs howling. Who needs an alarm clock when your family owns sled dogs? 

7:30 A.M.

7:30 A.M.

Jim McMahon/Mapman®

Bundle Up

It’s freezing again today, but that doesn’t bother you. Alaska is the farthest north of any state in the U.S. You’re used to winters that are long, cold, and windy. Sometimes the wind is so strong, your house shakes! 

Bundle Up

It’s freezing again today. But that doesn’t bother you. Alaska is farther north than any other state in the U.S. The winters are long, cold, and windy. Sometimes, the wind is so strong that your house shakes! 

8:30 A.M.

8:30 A.M.

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Stargaze with Hot Chocolate

You finish your gooseberry pancakes and step outside with some hot cocoa. It’s still completely dark out. In December, some days have only a few hours of sunlight. The plus side? You can see stars during the daytime! 

Stargaze with Hot Chocolate

You finish your gooseberry pancakes and step outside with some hot cocoa. It’s still dark out. In December, some days have only a few hours of sunlight. The plus side? You can see stars during the daytime!  

9:00 A.M.

9:00 A.M.

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Sled Ride to School

You hop onto your family sled, where your dad is waiting. Dogsled teams used to deliver supplies to   faraway towns like yours. Today, dogsleds are still a great way to get around—including traveling to school!

Sled Ride to School

You hop onto your family sled. Your dad is waiting for you. Dogsled teams used to deliver supplies to faraway towns like yours. Today, dogsleds are still a great way to get around. You can use them to travel to school! 

9:30 A.M.

9:30 A.M.

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Time for Class

Before school starts, you say the Pledge of Allegiance with your classmates. Hanging next to the American flag is the Alaska state flag. Alaska became a state in 1959. But the state flag was designed years earlier by a 13-year-old boy named Benny Benson. Seeing it reminds you that kids are an important part of your state’s history.

Time for Class

Before school starts, you say the Pledge of Allegiance with your classmates. The Alaska state flag hangs next to the American flag. Alaska became a state in 1959. But the state flag was created years earlier. A 13-year-old boy named Benny Benson designed it. It reminds you that kids are an important part of your state’s history 

12:30 P.M.

12:30 P.M.

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Lunch with your Best Friend

You wave to your best friend. “Waqaa (wahk-kah)?” she says. That means “What’s up?” in Yup’ik. She’s a member of the Yup’ik tribe, a group of Alaska Natives who have lived here for thousands of years. You talk about your weekend hiking plans. Alaska is filled with natural wonders like the Yukon River, the third-longest river in the U.S., and Denali, the highest peak in North America. 

Lunch with your Best Friend

You wave to your best friend. “Waqaa (wahk-kah)?” she says. That means “What’s up?” in Yup’ik. She’s a member of the Yup’ik tribe. That’s a group of Alaska Natives who have lived in Alaska for thousands of years. You talk about your weekend hiking plans. Alaska is filled with natural wonders like the Yukon River. It’s the third-longest river in the U.S. There’s also Denali, the highest peak in North America. 

2:30 P.M.

2:30 P.M.

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Snowy Ride Home

After school, your mom picks you up in a snowmobile. It’s another great way to get around town. If you want to visit another village or city in Alaska, you take a special airplane called a bush plane! 

Snowy Ride Home

After school, your mom picks you up in a snowmobile. It’s another great way to get around town. If you want to visit another village or city in Alaska, you take a special airplane! It’s called a bush plane. 

3:00 P.M.

3:00 P.M.

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Ice Fishing

It’s time for your favorite activity: ice fishing! Your mom drives the snowmobile out onto the frozen Yukon River, where you meet your friends. She helps you drill a hole in the ice. Then you toss your line in the river and wait. Minutes later, you feel a tug. There’s a salmon on the line: tonight’s dinner!

Ice Fishing

It’s time for your favorite activity: ice fishing! Your mom drives the snowmobile out onto the frozen Yukon River. Your friends are already there. Your mom helps you drill a hole in the ice. Then you toss your line in the river and wait. Minutes later, you feel a tug. There’s a salmon on the line: tonight’s dinner! 

5:00 P.M.

5:00 P.M.

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Animal Neighbors Pass By


While dinner is cooking, you glance into the yard. There’s a family of reindeer outside your window! But you’re not surprised. Seeing wild animals is part of your daily life. In other parts of the state, you’ve seen 9-foot-tall polar bears!  

Animal Neighbors Pass By

While dinner is cooking, you look into the yard. There are reindeer outside your window! But you’re not surprised. Seeing wild animals is part of your daily life. In other parts of the state, you’ve seen 9-foot-tall polar bears! 

8:00 P.M.

8:00 P.M.

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Special Light Show

Before bed, your parents call you outside to see something special. You gasp as bright lights in green, purple, and pink dance around in the sky. This natural light display is called the northern lights. It’s just another reason why you love living in Alaska.

Special Light Show

Before bed, your parents call you outside. They want to show you something special. You gasp as bright lights in green, purple, and pink move around in the sky. This natural light show is called the northern lights. It’s just another 

THINK AND WRITE

Imagine you’re visiting the Alaskan town described in this story. Using details from the article, write a letter to a friend about what you see and experience.

THINK AND WRITE

Imagine you’re visiting the Alaskan town described in this story. Using details from the article, write a letter to a friend about what you see and experience.

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Watch

For dazzling footage of the northern lights, watch this 3-minute video from National Geographic.

From the Storyworks 3 Archives

Some of your students might imagine that Alaska is the coldest place in the world. Set the record straight with the paired texts feature “Hottest/Coldest Places” from our September 2016 issue.

Meet Alaska’s Wildlife

Share this 6-minute video from ViralBe to learn more about 10 of Alaska’s wild animals. Or visit World Atlas’s page, “What Animals Live in Alaska?

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