Guided Reading Level N, Grade Level Equivalent 3. As social, political, and economical conditions in Europe grew worse in the 1840’s, an overwhelming number of immigrants traveled to America. Most of them arrived in ships that sailed into New York Harbor. Before 1855, a ship could enter the country as long as it passed quarantine. Many immigrants were mistreated upon their arrival in New York, so the state decided to establish a central processing station where immigrants could receive basic services and meet their relatives in safety. In 1855, Castle Garden at the tip of Manhattan Island opened, but it soon became known for its corrupt practices. A larger and more organized station was needed. In 1890, President Benjamin Harrison signed a bill authorizing Ellis Island as the new federal immigration station.
Have students compile a book for newcomers to their community. Brainstorm a list of important locations newcomers would want to know about, such as schools, libraries, hospitals, stores, and points of interest. Divide the list among students. Ask them to include maps or diagrams, descriptions, addresses and telephone numbers, and any other important facts or information. Collect the pages into a book entitled, “Welcome to _________ (name of town).”