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The Roadrunner's Guide to English: Readings

Reading Comprehension Test 1

Reading Comprehension 1


Short Answer and Multiple Choice

  1. What is the central idea/main idea of this passage?
    1. The more people invest, the worse off our society becomes.
    2. Social media and technology have changed the way human think, the way they reason.
    3. Whether it is posting a trendy picture or retweeting the latest funny post, social media has woven its way into everyday life.
    4. None of the above
  1. In body paragraph one, list one major supporting detail.
  1. In body paragraph one, list one minor supporting detail.
  1. List one specific example from body paragraph two.  Your example should be a minor detail.
  1. As stated in the passage, “44% of people believe the news they read on Facebook.”  Fact or opinion?
  1. Which sentence is the main idea in body paragraph 4?
  1. What best describes the pattern(s) of organization used in the passage?
    1. Comparison and contrast/argument
    2. Definition and example/comparison and contrast
    3. Cause and effect/argument
    4. Listing/cause and effect
  1. In body paragraph three, the sentence “The couple texts about what they are doing at their job, what problems they run into, and even what they are thinking while at that job” is an example of what kind of detail.
  1. “Social networking also creates a separation between people.”  This sentence is an example of what kind of detail?
    1. Major
    2. Minor
  1. “Social media has absolutely destroyed reality.”
    1. Fact
    2. Opinion



Hypatia II

Hypatia I - Reading Passage with Comprehension Questions

Dr. Mary Nielsen, Professor of English and Reading

Dalton State College

During the fourth century A.D., mathematics was used mainly for calculating such obscure problems as the locus of a given soul born under a certain planet.  It was thought that mathematical calculations could determine precisely where such a soul would be on a future date.  Astronomy and astrology were considered one science, and mathematics was a bond between science and religion.

2.         These disciplines were a part of Hypatia’s early training, and, in addition, Theon introduced her to all the systems of religion known to that part of the civilized world.  He had a rare talent as a teacher, and he was determined to transmit to Hypatia not only the accumulated fund of knowledge but the discrimination needed to assimilate and build upon this fund.  Toward this end, he was particularly concerned that she be discriminate about religion and that no rigid belief take possession of her life to the exclusion of new truths.  “All formal dogmatic religions are fallacious and must never be accepted by self-respecting persons as final,” he told her.  “Reserve your right to think, for even to think wrongly is better than not to think at all” (Hubbard 1908, p.82).

3.         Theon also established a regimen of physical training to ensure that Hypatia’s healthy body would match her swift, well-trained mind.  He devised a series of gentle calisthenics that she practiced regularly; she was taught to row, swim, ride horseback, and climb mountains, and a part of each day was set aside for such exercise.

4.         To the Romans the art of the rhetoric, or orator, was one of the most consequential of the social graces; the ability to impress others by one’s personal presence was indeed a most extraordinary gift.  As part of the preparation for becoming the “perfect human being” that Theon had determined she should be, Hypatia was given formal training in speech, and Theon structured her life minutely and precisely, leaving little to chance or circumstance, but he was not content to produce such a powerful personality without giving her understanding of her responsibility to others.  He cautioned her about the vulnerability of the permeable, impressionable mind of the young.  His training urged her toward becoming a sensitive, gifted, and eloquent teacher.

5.         As a further part of her education, Hypatia traveled abroad and was treated as royalty wherever she went.  Some accounts say that Hypatia’s travels extended over a period of 10 years; others say she spent only a year or so in travel.  It is probable that her trips extended over a long period of time and were not continuous, but it is known that for a while she was a student in Athens.  It was here that her fame as a mathematician became established, and upon her return to Alexandria, the magistrates invited her to teach mathematics and philosophy at the university.  

6.         She was a popular teacher; Socrates, the historian, wrote that her home, as well as her lecture room, was frequented by the most unrelenting scholars of the day and was, along with the library and the museum, one of the most compelling intellectual centers in that city of great learning.  She was considered an oracle, and enthusiastic young students from Europe, Asia, and Africa came to hear her lecture on the Arithmetica of  Diophantus.  Her lectures sparkled with her own mathematical ingenuity, for she loved mathematics for its own sake.

11.  In paragraph 1, locus most nearly means

  1. attraction         b. blessings      c. position        d. rejection

12.  The passage suggests that in the fourth century, A.D.

            a. the practice of astrology was frowned upon.

            b. most people did not believe that astrological signs were important.

            c. mathematicians were interested in astrology.

            d. mathematics was a religion.

13.    According to the passage, Theon wanted Hypatia to

            a. accept all religions without discrimination.

            b. accept only the one true religion.

            c. put faith in all of the systems of religion in the civilized world.

            d. learn about different religions but not let any single religion control her.

14.  As used in paragraph 2, fallacious most nearly means

            a. false

            b. valid

            c. reasonable

            d. worthy

15.       Which of the following was NOT mentioned as a form of exercise that Hypatia


            a.  mountain climbing

            b.  swimming

            c.  running

            d.  rowing

16.       According to the passage, Theon believed that

            a.  It is better to think incorrectly than not to think.

            b.  It is better not to think than to think wrongly.

            c.  Exercise is not necessary for scholars.

            d.  A well-trained body is more important than a developed mind.

17.       Theon’s parenting style could be described as

            a. brutal

            b. permissive

            c. controlling but sensitive

            d. neglectful

18.       The tone of the last paragraph can best be described as

            a. admirable

            b.  objective

            c.  modest

            d.  restrained

19.       We can conclude that Hypatia’s travels

            a.  definitely extended over a prolonged period.

            b.  lasted over 10 years.

            c.  lasted only a year or so.

            d.  cannot be accurately determined.

20.       Socrates most likely believed that

            a.  Hypatia’s home was disrupted by unrelenting scholars.

            b.  Hypatia’s home was the single most compelling center of learning of the time.

            c.  Hypatia was a popular, charismatic intellectual.

            d.  Hypatia loved mathematics for its practical applications.

Reading Comprehension

Reading Comprehension - 10 Questions

Passage Author:  Dr. Mary Nielsen, Professor of English and Reading

Dalton State College

When I was growing up in Ohio, the weather in all its many glorious forms captured my imagination.  I remember my excitement as the first snowflakes of winter fell.  Running inside to tell my mother I had seen Suzy Snowflake, standing with her and my oldest brother on the frozen Sciota River, and jumping into deep snow drifts were some of my favorite memories.  My fascination with weather continues today.  In fact, my daughter claims that the Weather Channel is my favorite television show, and my brother Craig, the younger of my three brothers, has even suggested that I am some sort of bad weather magnet, attracting tornadoes, blizzards, earthquakes, and electrical storms.  Perhaps he is right.  I do seem to have had my share of storm stories.  The weather experiences that I have found most dramatic, though, have been my encounters with floods, tornadoes, and hurricanes.

My earliest memories of springtime in Ohio include visions of flooded farmland and pastures.  I used to love to stand near the creek and watch its waters rage under the bridge; however, it was in Italy where my family and I actually had to flee from our third-floor apartment on the Arno River.  In my mind’s eye, I can still see Fiats being swept by the raging flood waters and hear them crashing into the plate glass windows of the shops below us.  I can hear the cries for help and the booms of exploding furnaces.  Standing on the second floor landing, I saw the angry orange waters rush into our building.  And, of course, there was our dramatic escape.  Memories of being lowered by parachute rope from the third floor window and struggling up the hill through icy water up to my neck have stayed sharp in my mind. There have been other floods in my life, but none of these compare to that cold day in November so many years ago.

  1. The central point (main idea) of the passage is
    1. Weather is unpredictable.
    2. The author finds weather to be interesting and frightening.
    3. The author loves the spring.
    4. None of the above
  1. The author has lived in which places?
    1. Ohio and Italy
    2. Georgia and Italy
    3. Georgia and Ohio
    4. None of the above
  1. The tone of the last paragraph can best be described as follows
    1. Awestruck
    2. Frightening
    3. Fascinated
    4. None of the above
  1. We can infer that the author of the passage
    1. Was in a relatively tall building when the flood hit.
    2. Was able to swim to safety.
    3. Was living in Ohio when the flood hit.
    4. None of the above
  1. The purpose of the passage is to
    1. Educate
    2. Entertain
    3. Persuade
    4. None of the above
  1. The author was living in Italy alone when the Arno River flooded.
    1. True
    2. False
  1. We can assume that the author
    1. Has been in only a few storms.
    2. Has been in quite a bit of bad weather.
    3. Has been in only a flood.
    4. None of the above
  1. “Suzy Snowflake” refers to
    1. The author’s sister
    2. The first snow of the winter
    3. The first five snowflakes
    4. None of the above
  1. We can infer the author was a young child in Ohio.
    1. True
    2. False
  1. It is suggested that the author’s favorite television show is
    1. The Weather Channel
    2. Weather Max
    3. The local weather
    4. None of the above

Readings in each mode of essay

Reading Comprehension Test 2

Please answer the following questions using short answers or multiple choice.

  1.  The central idea of the passage is the
    1. Second sentence in the introductory paragraph.
    2. Third sentence in the introductory paragraph.
    3. Fourth sentence in the introductory paragraph.
    4. Fifth sentence in the introductory paragraph.
  1. “A child’s brain is just like a house that has just been built” is an example of a
    1. Simile
    2. Metaphor
  1. The television show Uncle Grandpa (body paragraph 2) is a __________ detail.
    1. Major
    2. Minor
  1. From body paragraph 3, the sentence “Things like nudity, sex jokes, and even swearing have crept into every kid’s channel, exposing children at an even earlier age to these factors.”   This sentence is an example of a ________ detail.
    1. Major
    2. Minor
  1. Mister Roger’s Neighborhood, a popular children’s show that aired on PBS in 1968, ran for a total of thirty-six years and aired over 900 episodes.”  This sentence is
    1. Fact
    2. Opinion
  1. In the concluding paragraph, the use of the word “but” shows a
    1. Comparison
    2. Contrast
    3. Cause
    4. Effect
  1. Paragraph 5 is which pattern of organization?
    1. Cause and effect
    2. Simply listing
    3. Comparison and contrast
    4. None of the above
  1. In the first body paragraph, the author argues that
    1. Cartoons are still popular and have a long run time.
    2. Cartoons do not teach children and do not assist in their brain development.
    3. Cartoons need to be taken off the air.
    4. Cartoons are necessary to a child’s brain development.
  1. According to the author, children understand the adult jokes in cartoons.
    1. True
    2. False
  1. Comparing a child’s brain to a house is a __________.
    1. Simile
    2. Metaphor

The Most Amazing Structure on Earth

Hypatia I

Hypatia I - Reading Passage with Comprehension Questions

Dr. Mary Nielsen, Professor of English and Reading

Dalton State College


Passage 1: Hypatia


1.         During the pre-Christian era, the philosophical schools of Plato and Pythagoras served to create a favorable social climate in which at least some women could pursue an academic career.  Because the emphasis on and love of mathematics was so strong in these schools, this tradition persisted long after the Christian era began. Athenaeus, a Greek writer (ca. A.D. 200) mentions a number of women who were superior mathematicians, but precise knowledge of their work in this field is lacking.  It is probable that there were many women who were well educated in the general science of numbers at this time, judging from the pervasive interest in the subject and the rigor with which women sought an education.


2.         A few Greek women enjoyed comparative freedom in these pursuits, although the class of women known as hetaerae attracted the most public notice.  These slave women were usually paramours of the ruling class; many of them, particularly those from Ionia and Aetolia, strongly impressed themselves on the Greek conscience with their intelligence, wit, and culture.  They had superior intellects, which made them apt students and competent teachers.  No doubt the legacy left by these women over the ensuing centuries contributed also to an auspicious social climate within which the genius of Hypatia could flourish in the later part of the fourth century A.D.


3.         Hypatia was the first woman in mathematics of whom we have considerable knowledge, but the story of her life that has come down to us is not a particularly happy one.  Despite the good fortune of her legendary talents, her beauty, her long life of hard work, and her celebrated accomplishments in mathematics and astronomy, the story of her eventual martyrdom excites almost the same sympathies as a classic Greek tragedy. 


4.         Hypatia was born around A.D.370, and her father, Theon, was a distinguished professor of mathematics at the University of Alexandria.  He later became the director of the University, and Hypatia’s early life was spent in close contact there.  We know little about Hypatia’s mother, but the family situation must have been a fortunate one, for Theon was determined to produce a perfect human being.  As Elbert Hubbard (1908, p. 83) remarked, “…whether his charts, theorems and formulas made up a complete law of eugenics, or whether it was dumb luck, this we know: he nearly succeeded.”


5.         From her earliest years Hypatia was immersed in an atmosphere of learning, questioning, and exploration.  Alexandria was the greatest seat of learning in the world, a cosmopolitan center where scholars from all the civilized countries gathered to exchange ideas.  As Theon’s daughter, Hypatia was a part of this stimulating and challenging environment.  In addition, she received a very thorough formal training in arts, literature, science, and philosophy.  Theon was his daughter’s tutor, teacher, and playmate; his own strong love of the beauty and logic of mathematics was contagious.  We know that he was influential in this part of Hypatia’s intellectual development, which was eventually to eclipse his own.

1.  According to the passage, during the pre-Christian era,

            a. Women were not interested in academic careers.

            b. No women were well educated in the field of mathematics.

            c. The social climate allowed all women the same educational opportunities as men.

            d. At least some women could enjoy academic pursuits.

2.  The hetaerae (in paragraph 2) were all of the following except

            a. intelligent

            b. competent teachers

            c. members of the ruling class

            d. mistresses of the ruling class

3.  As used in paragraph 2, apt most likely means

            a. unlikely

            b. bright

            c. unwilling

            d. biased

            e. inept

4.  In paragraph 2, Ionia and Aetolia are probably

            a. Names of Greek women

            b. Regions of or near ancient Greece

            c. Paramours of the ruling class

            d. Greek gods

5.  In paragraph 3, the transition despite alerts the reader to a possible

            a. analogy

            b. contrast

            c. comparison

            d. causal relationship

6.  As used in paragraph 4, eugenics most likely means

            a. the science of improving genetic qualities by selective mating.

            b. the science of improving livestock by selective breeding.

            c. the study of charts, theorems, and formulas.

            d. the study of ancestry or genealogy

7.  As used in the second paragraph, auspicious means

            a.  unsuitable

            b.  favorable

            c.  austere

            d.  regrettable

8.  The tone of the third paragraph can best be described as

            a.  tragic and despairing

            b.  neutral and straightforward

            c.  lamenting

            d.  admiring yet saddened

9.         We can infer from paragraph 4 that the “perfect” human being was

            a.  Theon

            b.  Hypatia’s mother

            c.  Hypatia

            d.  Alexandria

10.       The writer of this selection would probably agree that

            a.  Theon was more intelligent than his daughter.

            b.  Hypatia was more intelligent than her father.

            c.  Hypatia’s mother was of ordinary intelligence.

            d.  Theon devoted too much time to his daughter.

Reading Comprehension

The Positive Effects on Children of Owning a Dog

This is a reading passage with comprehension questions from the University of Victoria English Language Centre



Boost Your Brainpower

Memory Magic

Put to the Test

The Death Car

The Choking Dog

The Carpet Fitter

The Hitchhiker

The American Pepper

Kirkman Reader

Kirkman Reader 

Reading Comprehension Test 3

Please answer the following questions using short answers or multiple choice.

  1. The central idea expressed in the introductory paragraph is in which sentence?
    1. 4
    2. 5
    3. 6
    4. 7
  1. In body paragraph 3, the author uses “wolfy bucks” as a
    1. Major detail
    2. Minor detail
    3. Main idea
    4. Conclusion
  1. List two transitions in the following sentences.

Before computers, students and teachers had to research through encyclopedias and almanacs.  In contrast, today, if anyone wants to figure something out, they have the power to do so at their fingertips, on their phones.

Transition 1  __________________

Transition 2 ___________________

  1. One pattern of organization used throughout each body paragraph is
    1. Comparison and contrast
    2. Cause and effect
    3. Definition and example
    4. None of the above
  1. Two of the supporting details in body paragraph 4 are
    1. Art and band
    2. Creative classes and music
    3. Drama and music
    4. None of the above
  1. “Teachers always had guidelines to follow, but they went from teaching as they thought appropriate to only teaching what they are told” is an example of a(n)
    1. Fact
    2. Opinion
  1. In body paragraph 1, Where the Red Fern Grows is an example of a
    1. Major detail
    2. Minor detail
  1. The main idea of body paragraph 3 is in which sentence?
    1. Sentence 1
    2. Sentence 2
    3. Sentence 3
    4. None of the above
  1. List two minor supporting details from body paragraph 2.

Detail 1  ______________________________________

Detail 2 _______________________________________

  1. The author’s conclusion about punishment in today’s schools is that
    1. Students are being motivated by positive reinforcement.
    2. Students are being punished with detention.
    3. Students are being motivated by fear of punishment by the principal.
    4. None of the above.

Reading Comprehension - Vocabulary Focus

Reading Comprehension - Focus on Vocabulary in Context

Dr. Mary Nielsen, Professor of English and Reading

Dalton State College

Reading Comprehension Passage

Short Reading Comprehension Passage

Passage Author:  Dr. Mary Nielsen, Professor of English and Reading

Dalton State College

Passage 1

            It’s very easy to get bored with the everyday selection of movies. When I find myself in this situation, I sometimes dust off one of my musicals.  The one musical I enjoy more than all my others is West Side Story.  This musical seems to find just the right mix.  With its very expressive music that appeals to my emotions, it offers a sobering portrayal of senseless racial prejudice.

            The first time I saw West Side Story, I was impressed with the style in which the selections of music were performed.  After Tony and Maria first meet, Tony begins to sing, "Maria! I've just met a girl named Maria."  The song itself is beautiful; however, the enthusiasm and excitement that Tony expresses make the lyrics even better.  The actor who plays Tony really gives the impression that his troubled world has fallen away and that he has finally found the jewel of his life.

            Another quality of this wonderful movie is the intense emotions expressed. The first waves of these emotions are ones of discovery.  During the dance, Tony and Maria catch each other’s eyes.  They remain fixed on one another as the room around them washes away.  The expressions on their faces leave no doubt that they are deeply stirred.  They appear to be in disbelief at what is happening and almost dizzy at the idea. They hold hands and speak.  Feelings of anxious and still innocent first love replace feelings of discovery. Anyone would be touched by the selfless bonding of these two people in love.

            West Side Story reveals the hard-hitting reality of aggression and ignorant racial hostility.  Although coming from two different places of birth, Puerto Rico and America, these minor differences in culture do not get in the way of their love for each other.

  1. The central idea (main idea) of the entire passage is
    1. West Side Story is a musical about Tony and Maria, who people who fall in love.
    2. West Side Story is a musical that uses aggression and racial hostility to make its point.
    3. West Side Story is a love story that uses aggression and racial hostility to make its point.
    4. None of the above.
  1. The characters mentioned in the passage are from
    1. Puerto Rico and America
    2. Mexico and America
    3. Puerto Rico and Cuba
    4. None of the above
  1. The tone of the second paragraph can best be described as
    1. Sober
    2. Uplifting
    3. Dignified
    4. None of the above
  1. Tony and Maria
    1. have had many past loves.
    2. have liked each other for years.
    3. are probably each other’s first love.
    4. None of the above

From Carrots to Renovations

The Effects of Stress

Why People Get Tattoos

The Causes of Floods