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Additional Passages for Close Readers

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Dear Aunt Julia,

A Letter from New York

I have so much to tell you, I dont know where to begin! Remember last summer when I told you that I
was planning to enter the TeenSay Magazine essay contest? Well, I entered, and my essay, "Improving
Community Safety," won! The prize was a weekend trip to New York City, with a visit to the TeenSay
offices to see how they publish the magazine each month. Three of us were chosen to go from
Texas: two other contest winners, and myself.
My mom took me to the airport for the flight to New York, and I have to admit I was nervous! Ive
flown before, but never without my parents. But when we got to the airport and met the other
people in our group, I relaxed. The group leader, Ms. Alvarez, was really friendly and easy to talk to.
She is in charge of marketing and special promotions at TeenSay Magazine. While we waited for our
flight, she described the activities wed be participating in that weekend. She also introduced me to
the other contest winners. Irene is from Arlington, and shes 13 years old like me. She won a prize
for the series of photographs she took when her family drove across the country last summer.
The other winner is a 15-year-old boy named Eddie. Eddie won the TeenSay community spirit award
for cleaning up and improving the neighborhood parks in his town. Irene and Eddie both seemed like a
lot of fun. Before our plane even took off, we were laughing and telling jokes like wed known each
other forever.
I was surprised at how quick the flight seemed. Since Ms. Alvarez and I were sitting next to each
other, she told me a lot about herself and how she had ended up working at TeenSay Magazine. She
said that as a young girl she had always enjoyed writing stories and interviewing people. She also loved
planning and organizing events. She was always in charge of planning her schools dances and
fundraisers, and even organized her familys big reunion party every year. After college, she got a
job as a reporter at TeenSay, and then she gradually moved into their marketing and special
promotions department. She said that she still occasionally writes an article for them, but she loves
what she does now. I told her that I was thinking about becoming a reporter someday, and she said
that she thought I could do it if I worked really hard.
Before I knew it, we were landing in New York. At the airport, we were picked up in a limousinejust
like celebrities! We drove to the TeenSay offices downtown. All during the ride, Irene and Eddie and I
were pressed up against the windows like little kids, staring at the buildings and the people we passed.
You wouldnt believe how different New York is from Texas! The colors, the smells, the
noiseseverything is different. We couldnt get over how crowded it was: all of the people and cars
on the streets and so much going on. We were excited to jump in and start seeing the sights.
When we arrived at the TeenSay offices, Ms. Alvarez took us on a tour. We got to see how a
magazine goes from a rough manuscript to a finished issue. I couldnt believe how much work and
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detail goes into each issue, and how many people it takes to do the work. My favorite part was
seeing the bulletin board where sketches, rough drafts, and outlines get pinned up in sequence. We
also met many of the employees, from illustrators and writers to photographers and editors, and
they answered all of our questions.
By the time the tour was over, Ms. Alvarez could tell that we were getting tired. She took us to her
favorite restaurant, and on the way there we had a chance to do some window-shopping and check
out some of the sights. All around us, people were speaking different languages. I told Ms. Alvarez
that I thought I could spend a whole year in New York and still not see everything!
When I see you at Moms birthday party next week, I will tell you all about the sightseeing we are
going to do tomorrow. I am enclosing a copy of my essay with this letter. So far, it has been a great
trip.
Love,
Yoshiko
1. From whose point of view is this story told?
a. Ms. Alvarez
b. Aunt Julia
c. Yoshiko
d. Eddie
2. Yoshiko is in New York City because
a. she won the trip in an essay contest.
b. she is visiting her Aunt Julia.
c. Ms. Alvarez invited her to visit TeenSay Magazine
d. she wants to be a reporter someday.
3. What conclusion can you draw about Yoshiko and Aunt Julia?
a. They do not have a very good relationship.
b. They are close and share their experiences with each other.
c. Yoshiko writes to her aunt because her mother wants her to.
d. Yoshiko and her aunt travel together frequently.
4. S h e s a i d t h a t s h e s t i l l o c c a s i o n a l l y w r i t e s a n a r t i c l e f o r t h e m , b u t s h e l o v e s w h a t s h e d o e s
n o w . What is a synonym for the word occasionally?
a. Sometimes
b. Frequently
c. Never
d. Always

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Tools of Persuasion

Persuasion is the art of convincing someone to agree with your point of view. According to the
ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle, there are three basic tools of persuasion: ethos, pathos, and
logos.
Ethos is a speakers way of convincing the audience that she is a credible source. An audience will
consider a speaker credible if she seems trustworthy, reliable, and sincere. This can be done in many
ways. For example, a speaker can develop ethos by explaining how much experience or education she
has in the field. After all, you would be more likely to listen to advice about how to take care of
your teeth from a dentist than a firefighter. A speaker can also create ethos by convincing the
audience that she is a good person who has their best interests at heart. If an audience cannot trust
you, you will not be able to persuade them.
Pathos is a speakers way of connecting with an audiences emotions. For example, a speaker who is
trying to convince an audience to vote for him might say that he alone can save the country from a
terrible war. These words are intended to fill the audience with fear, thus making them want to vote
for him. Similarly, a charity organization that helps animals might show an audience pictures of injured
dogs and cats. These images are intended to fill the viewers with pity. If the audience feels bad for
the animals, they will be more likely to donate money.
Logos is the use of facts, information, statistics, or other evidence to make your argument more
convincing. An audience will be more likely to believe you if you have data to back up your claims.
For example, a commercial for soap might tell you that laboratory tests have shown that their soap
kills all 7,000,000 of the bacteria living on your hands right now. This piece of information might
make you more likely to buy their brand of soap. Presenting this evidence is much more convincing
than simply saying our soap is the best! Use of logos can also increase a speakers ethos; the more
facts a speaker includes in his argument, the more likely you are to think that he is educated and
trustworthy.
Although ethos, pathos, and logos all have their strengths, they are often most effective when they
are used together. Indeed, most speakers use a combination of ethos, pathos, and logos to persuade
their audiences. The next time you listen to a speech, watch a commercial, or listen to a friend try
to convince you to lend him some money, be on the lookout for these ancient Greek tools of
persuasion.

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1. As used in paragraph 2, what is the best antonym for credible?


a. A. unintelligent
b. Boring
c. Dishonest
d. Amazing
2. Amy is trying to convince her mother to buy her a pair of $200 shoes. She says: Mom, the shoes
I have are really old and ugly. If I dont get these new shoes, everyone at school is going to laugh at
me. I will be so embarrassed that I will want to die. What form of persuasion is Amy using here?
a. Pathos
b. Ethos
c. Logos
d. a combination of ethos, pathos, and logos
3. According to the passage, logos can build ethos because
a. an audience is more easily convinced by facts and information than simple appeals to emotions
like pity or fear
b. an audience is more likely to trust a speaker who uses evidence to support his argument
c. a speaker who overuses pathos might make an audience too emotional; audiences who are too
frightened or too sad are unlikely to be persuaded
d. a speaker can use misleading or false information to make his argument seem more
convincing
4. Gareth is running for mayor. He tells his audience: Under our current mayor, there have been
15,000 new cases of unemployment. If he stays in office, who knows how many more people will
lose their jobs? The number could go up even higher. When I was the CEO of Magnatech, I helped to
create over 1,000 new jobs. I can do the same thing for this city if you vote for me. Which form
of persuasion is Gareth using here?
I. pathos
II. logos
III. ethos
a.
b.
c.
d.

I only
I and II only
II and III only
I, II, and III

5. According to the passage, the most effective tool of persuasion is


a. ethos, because you cannot persuade an audience that does not trust you
b. logos, because it can also be used to build ethos
c. a combination of ethos, pathos, and logos
d. pathos, because human beings are most easily persuaded by emotion
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Summer Rain

The worst days of any summer are the rainy ones. We spend all year looking forward to nice
weather and long, hot days. All of winter, with its dreary gray days and bitter cold, we dream of
those endless days at the beach, laying on the sand and soaking in the bright and burning sun. And
then, summer comes, and it rains.
As a child, I would wake up to rainy summer days and come close to crying. It wasnt fair. We
suffered through months of school and miserable weather for those scant ten weeks of freedom
and balmy weather. Any day that I could not spend at the beach or playing ball with my friends
seemed like a punishment for something I didnt even do.
On those rainy summer days, I had nothing fun to do and could only sit inside, staring out at the rain
like a Dickensian orphan. I was an only child, so there was no one else to play with. My father
worked from home, so I was not truly alone, but he could not actively play with me since he was
technically at work. It was those days that I would resign myself to whatever was on television or
any books that I could find lying around. Id crawl through the day and pray each night that the rain
would not be there the next day.
As an adult, though, my opinion of summer rain has changed. When you have to work every day,
summer is not as eagerly anticipated. Mostly, the days run together, bleeding into each other so that
they no longer seem like separate entities and instead feel like continuations of the same long day.
Everything seems monotonous and dull, and an ennui or listlessness kicks in. Such a mindset makes you
cheer for anything new or different. I spend the winter dreaming of summer and the summer
dreaming of winter. When summer comes, I complain about how hot it is. And then I look forward to
the rain, because the rain brings with it a cold front, which offers a reprieveadmittedly one that is
all too shortfrom the torture of 100 and humid days. Rainy days are still the worst days of the
summer, but summer rain today means positively beautifuland considerably coolerweather
tomorrow.

1. The
a.
b.
c.
d.

passage makes use of language that is


Metaphorical
Rhetorical
Formal
ambiguous

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2. According to the passage, summer is different for adults because


a. rain brings with it cold temperatures for the following days
b. the weather is much warmer than it is for children
c. they do not get a long time off from work for the season
d. they better know how to occupy their downtime
3. According
child?
a. He or
b. He or
c. He or
d. He or

to the passage, which of the following is a true statement about the narrator as a
she
she
she
she

was often bored on summer days.


preferred cooler weather.
liked staying indoors.
had no siblings.

4. Compared to how he or she was as a child, the narrator as an adult is


a. more realistic
b. less excitable
c. more idealistic
d. less calm
5. As
a.
b.
c.
d.

used in the final paragraph, the word reprieve most nearly means
a permanent conclusion
a short continuation
a higher level of pain
a temporary break

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Fleas

Fleas are perfectly designed by nature to feast on anything containing blood. Like a shark in the
water or a wolf in the woods, fleas are ideally equipped to do what they do, making them very
difficult to defeat. The bodies of these tiny parasites are extremely hardy and well-suited for their
job.
A flea has a very hard exoskeleton, which means the body is covered by a tough, tile-like plate called
a sclerite. Because of these plates, fleas are almost impossible to squish. The exoskeletons of fleas
are also waterproof and shock resistant, and therefore fleas are highly resistant to the sprays and
chemicals used to kill them.
Little spines are attached to this plate. The spines lie flat against the fleas thin, narrow body as the
flea scurries through an animals fur in search of food. However, if anything (like fingers or a
selfgrooming pet) tries to pull a flea off through the hair coat, these spines will extend and stick to
the fur like Velcro.
Fleas are some of the best jumpers in the natural world. A flea can jump seven inches, or 150 times
its own length, either vertically or horizontally. An equivalent jump for a person would be 555 feet,
the height of the Washington Monument. Fleas can jump 30,000 times in a row without stopping, and
they are able to accelerate through the air at an incredibly high ratea rate which is over ten times
what humans can withstand in an airplane.
Fleas have very long rear legs with huge thigh muscles and multiple joints. When they get ready to
jump, they fold their long legs up and crouch like a runner on a starting block. Several of their joints
contain a protein called resilin, which helps catapult fleas into the air as they jump, similar to the way
a rubber band provides momentum to a slingshot. Outward facing claws on the bottom of their legs
grip anything they touch when they land.
The adult female flea mates after her first blood meal and begins producing eggs in just 1 to 2 days.
One flea can lay up to 50 eggs in one day and over 2,000 in her lifetime. Flea eggs can be seen with
the naked eye, but they are about the size of a grain of salt. Shortly after being laid, the eggs begin
to transform into cocoons. In the cocoon state, fleas are fully developed adults, and will hatch
immediately if conditions are favorable. Fleas can detect warmth, movement, and carbon dioxide in
exhaled breath, and these three factors stimulate them to emerge as new adults. If the flea does not
detect appropriate conditions, it can remain dormant in the cocoon state for extended periods.
Under ideal conditions, the entire life cycle may only take 3 weeks, so in no time at all, pets and
homes can become infested.
Because of these characteristics, fleas are intimidating opponents. The best way to control fleas,
therefore, is to take steps to prevent an infestation from ever occurring.
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1. The
a.
b.
c.
d.

primary purpose of the passage is to


educate the reader about the physical characteristics of fleas
compare fleas to other members of the animal kingdom
relate the problems that can result from a flea infestation
explain why a flea infestation is hard to get rid of

2. The
a.
b.
c.
d.

authors tone in the passage is best described as


Concerned
Passionate
Informative
opinionated

3. According to the passage, fleas are resistant to sprays and chemicals because they
a. have waterproof sclerites
b. are excellent jumpers
c. reproduce very rapidly
d. can stick to fur like Velcro
4. Fleas are difficult to squish because they have
I. sclerites
II. tough spines
a. I only
b. I and II only
c. II and III only
d. I, II, and III

III. resilin in their joints

5. According to the passage, which of the following statements is true?


a. Fleas extend their little spines if threatened.
b. Fleas have the ability to jump higher than humans.
c. Humans can jump higher if they consume foods containing resilin.
d. The resilin found in fleas is used to make rubber bands.
6. According to the passage, fleas are able to jump
I. with a high rate of acceleration
II. up and down and from side to side
III. because the blood they eat contains resilin
a.
b.
c.
d.

I only
I and II only
II and III only
I, II, and III

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