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Lisa Greathouse
The articles in this book are collected from the TIME For Kids archives.
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Author
Lisa Greathouse
The articles in this book are collected from the TIME For Kids archives.
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 #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking © Shell Education


Table of Contents
Introduction and Research........................................................................................ 4
Teaching Nonfiction Comprehension Skills ........................................................... 9
Teaching Vocabulary ............................................................................................... 14
Correlation to Standards ........................................................................................ 17
Lessons ....................................................................................................................... 18
Mickey Gets Fit............................................................................................................................................18
Coral Reef Rescue........................................................................................................................................21
Farm-Fresh Science.....................................................................................................................................24
Back in Orbit................................................................................................................................................27
It’s Asthma Season......................................................................................................................................30
Stay in the Game..........................................................................................................................................33
Seeds of Hope...............................................................................................................................................36
Ta-Da! It’s Time for Class...........................................................................................................................39
Who Belongs in the Zoo?..........................................................................................................................42
The Future of Energy...................................................................................................................................45
Dogs on Display...........................................................................................................................................48
Make Lunch Fresher...................................................................................................................................51
One Giant Leap............................................................................................................................................54
A Business with Bite....................................................................................................................................57
Faster, Higher, Stronger..............................................................................................................................60
A New Look at King....................................................................................................................................63
Caring for Kids in Need.............................................................................................................................66
Animals at Work..........................................................................................................................................69
Celebrating Native Cultures......................................................................................................................72
We Can Eat Smarter...................................................................................................................................75
Some Like It Hot..........................................................................................................................................78
The Missing Lynx.........................................................................................................................................81
Too Young to Work.....................................................................................................................................84
A New Deal on School Meals...................................................................................................................87
These Robots Are Wild...............................................................................................................................90
Gaining Ground...........................................................................................................................................93
Saving Their Native Language..................................................................................................................96
Small Wonders.............................................................................................................................................99
Word Wizards............................................................................................................................................102
Appendices ............................................................................................................. 105
Appendix A: References Cited...............................................................................................................105
Appendix B: Student Achievement Graph ........................................................................................106
Appendix C: Answer Key ......................................................................................................................107
© Shell Education #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking 
Introduction and Research
Comprehension is the primary goal of any reading task. According to the RAND Reading Study
Group, comprehension is “the process of simultaneously extracting and constructing meaning through
interaction and involvement with written language” (2002, 11). Students who comprehend what
they read have more opportunities in life, as well as better test performance. In order for students
to become proficient readers, it is necessary that they are taught comprehension strategies such as
predicting, monitoring comprehension, summarizing, visualizing, questioning, making connections,
and inferring meaning (Miller 2002; Pardo 2002).
Focus on reading comprehension has become more urgent in light of NCLB legislation and emphasis
on standardized testing. Because the majority of text found on standardized tests is nonfiction
(Grigg, Daane, Jin, & Campbell 2003), teachers are now finding a greater need to teach skills using
informational texts. For this reason, Comprehension and Critical Thinking provides teachers with
informational texts in the form of articles about the contemporary world, as well as the past.
Research suggests that students need preparation in order to be successful on standardized tests.
Gulek states: “Adequate and appropriate test preparation plays an important role in helping students
demonstrate their knowledge and skills in high-stakes testing situations” (2003, 42). This preparation
includes, among other things, teaching content and test-taking skills. Skills practiced when using
the articles in Comprehension and Critical Thinking provide an excellent foundation for improving
students’ test-taking abilities.
Not only is reading nonfiction texts beneficial for testing purposes, but studies also show that students
actually prefer informational texts. A 1998 study by Kletzien that focused on children’s preferences
for reading material indicated that younger children chose nonfiction text close to half the time when
choosing their own reading materials. Similar studies (Ivey & Broaddus 2000; Moss & Hendershot
2002) revealed that older children prefer nonfiction and find greater motivation when reading
informational texts.
In this book, each nonfiction passage includes a document-based question similar to trends in
standardized testing. The students respond to a critical-thinking question based on the information
gleaned from a given document. This document is related to the passage it accompanies. Document-
based questions show a student’s ability to apply prior knowledge, and his or her capacity to transfer
knowledge to a new situation. The activities are time efficient, allowing students to practice these skills
every week. To yield the best results, such practice must begin at the start of the school year.
Students will need to use test-taking skills and strategies throughout their lives. The exercises
in Comprehension and Critical Thinking will guide your students to become better readers and
test takers. After practicing the exercises in this book, you will be pleased with your students’
comprehension performance not only on standardized tests, but also with any expository text they
encounter within the classroom and beyond its walls.

 #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking © Shell Education


Introduction and Research (cont.)

Objectives
All lessons in this book are designed to support the following objectives.
The students will:
• answer who, what, where, why, when, and how questions about the article
• support answers with information found in the article
• support answers with information inferred from the article
• support answers with information based on prior knowledge
• identify the main ideas in the article
• identify supporting details in the article
• draw conclusions based on information learned in the article
• make predictions based on information learned in the article
• form and defend an opinion based on information learned in the article
• respond to questions in written form

Readability
All of the reading passages included in this book have a 3.0–3.9 reading level based on the
Flesch-Kincaid Readability Formula. This formula determines a readability level by calculating the
number of words, syllables, and sentences.

Preparing Students to Read Nonfiction Text


One of the best ways to prepare students to read expository text is to read a short selection aloud daily.
Reading expository text aloud is critical to developing your students’ abilities to read it themselves.
Because making predictions is another way to help students tap into their prior knowledge, read the
beginning of a passage, then stop and ask the students to predict what might occur next. Do this at
several points throughout your reading of the text. By doing this over time, you will find that your
students’ abilities to make accurate predictions greatly increases.
Of course, talking about nonfiction concepts is also very important. However, remember that
discussion can never replace actually reading nonfiction texts because people rarely speak using the
vocabulary and complex sentence structures of written language.
Asking questions helps students, especially struggling readers, to focus on what is important in a text.
Also, remember the significance of wait time. Research has shown that the amount of time an educator
waits for a student to answer after posing a question has a critical effect on learning. So, after you ask
a student a question, silently count to five (or ten, if you have a student who struggles to get his or her
thoughts into words) before giving any additional prompts or redirecting the question to another student.

© Shell Education #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking 


Introduction and Research (cont.)

Bloom’s Taxonomy
The questions that follow each passage in Comprehension and Critical Thinking assess all levels of
learning by following Bloom’s Taxonomy, a six-level classification system for comprehension questions
that was devised by Benjamin Bloom in 1956. The questions that follow each passage are always
presented in order, progressing from knowledge to evaluation.
The skills listed for each level are essential to keep in mind when teaching comprehension in order to
assure that your students reach the higher levels of thinking. Use this classification to form your own
questions whenever your students listen to or read material.
Level 1: Knowledge—Students recall information or find requested information in an article. They
show memory of dates, events, places, people, and main ideas.
Level 2: Comprehension—Students understand information. This means that they can find
information that is stated in a different way from how the question is presented. It also means that
students can rephrase or restate information in their own words.
Level 3: Application—Students apply their knowledge to a specific situation. They may be asked to do
something new with the knowledge.
Level 4: Analysis—Students break things into components and examine those parts. They notice
patterns in information.
Level 5: Synthesis—Students do something new with the information. They pull knowledge together
to create new ideas. They generalize, predict, plan, and draw conclusions.
Level 6: Evaluation—Students make judgments and assess value. They form opinions and defend
them. They can also understand another person’s viewpoint.

Practice Suggestions: Short-Answer Questions


The short-answer question for each passage is evaluative—the highest level of Bloom’s Taxonomy. It is
basically an opinion statement with no definitive right answer. The students are asked to take stances
and defend them. While there is no correct response, it is critical to show the students how to support
their opinions using facts and logic. Show the students a format for a response—state their opinion
followed by the word because and a reason. For example, “I do not think that whales should be kept at
sea parks because they are wild animals and don’t want to be there. They want to be in the ocean with
their friends.” Do not award credit unless the child adequately supports his or her conclusion. Before
passing back the practice papers, make note of two children who had opposing opinions. Then, during
the discussion, call on each of these students to read his or her short-answer response to the class. (If
all the children drew the same conclusion, come up with support for the opposing one yourself.)

 #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking © Shell Education


Introduction and Research (cont.)

Practice Suggestions: Document-Based Questions


It is especially important to guide your students in how to understand, interpret, and respond to the
document-based questions. For these questions, in order to formulate a response, the students will
have to rely on their prior knowledge and common sense in addition to the information provided
in the document. Again, the best way to teach this is to demonstrate through thinking aloud how to
figure out an answer. Since these questions are usually interpretive, you can allow for some variation in
student responses.
The more your students practice, the more competent and confident they will become. Plan to have
the class do every exercise in Comprehension and Critical Thinking. If you have some students who
cannot read the articles independently, allow them to read with partners, and then work through
the comprehension questions alone. Eventually, all students must practice reading and answering
the questions independently. Move to this stage as soon as possible. For the most effective practice
sessions, follow these steps:

1. Have the students read the text silently and answer the questions.

2. Collect all the papers to score the short-answer question and the document-based question
portion.

3. Return the papers to their owners and discuss how the students determined their answers.

4. Refer to the exact wording in the passage.

5. Point out how students had to use their background knowledge to answer certain questions.

6. Discuss how a student should explain his or her stance in each short-answer question.

7. Discuss the document-based question thoroughly.

© Shell Education #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking 


Introduction and Research (cont.)

Scoring the Practice Passages


Identify the number of correct responses when scoring the practice passages. Share the number of
correct responses with the students. This is the number they will most easily identify; additionally, the
number of correct responses coincides with the Student Achievement Graph. However, for your own
records and to share with the parents, you may want to keep track of numeric scores for each student.
If you choose to do this, do not write the numeric score on the paper.
To generate a numeric score, follow these guidelines:

Number of Points Possible Total Number


Type of Question
Questions Per Question of Points
Short-answer question 6 10 points 60 points
Document-based question 2 20 points 40 points
Total 100 points

Standardized Test Success


One of the key objectives of Comprehension and Critical Thinking is to prepare your students to get
the best possible scores on the reading portion of standardized tests. A student’s ability to do well on
traditional standardized tests in comprehension requires these factors:
• a large vocabulary
• test-taking skills
• the ability to effectively cope with stress
Every student in your class needs instruction in test-taking skills. Even fluent readers and logical
thinkers will perform better on standardized tests if you provide instruction in the following areas:
Understanding the question—Teach the students how to break down the question to figure out what
is really being asked. This book will prepare the students for the kinds of questions they will encounter
on standardized tests.
Concentrating only on what the text says—Show the students how to restrict their responses to only
what is asked. When you review the practice passages, ask your students to show where they found the
correct response in the text.
Ruling out distracters in multiple-choice answers—Teach the students to look for the key words in
a question and look for those specific words to find the information in the text. They also need to know
that they may have to look for synonyms for the key words.
Maintaining concentration—Use classroom time to practice this in advance. Reward the students
for maintaining concentration. Explain to them the purpose of this practice and the reason why
concentration is so essential.

 #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking © Shell Education


Teaching Nonfiction Comprehension Skills
Nonfiction comprehension encompasses many skills that develop with a lot of practice. The following
information offers a brief overview of the crucial skills of recognizing text structure, visualizing,
summarizing, and learning new vocabulary. This information is designed for use with other classroom
materials, not the practice passages in Comprehension and Critical Thinking.
Many of these skills can be found in scope-and-sequence charts and standards for reading
comprehension:
• recognizes the main idea • classifies, sorts into categories
• identifies details • compares and contrasts
• determines sequence • makes generalizations
• recalls details • draws conclusions
• labels parts • recognizes text organization
• summarizes • predicts outcome and consequences
• identifies time sequence • experiences an emotional reaction to a text
• describes character(s) • recognizes facts
• retells information in own words • applies information to a new situation

Typical Comprehension Questions


Teaching the typical kinds of standardized-test questions gives students an anticipation framework
and helps them learn how to comprehend what they read. It also boosts their test scores. Questions
generally found on standardized reading comprehension tests are as follows:
Facts—questions based on what the text states: who, what, when, where, why, and how
Sequence—questions based on order: what happened first, last, and in between
Conditions—questions asking the students to compare, contrast, and find the similarities and
differences
Summarizing—questions that require the students to restate, paraphrase, choose main ideas,
conclude, and select a title
Vocabulary—questions based on word meaning, synonyms and antonyms, proper nouns, words in
context, technical words, geographical words, and unusual adjectives
Outcomes—questions that ask readers to draw upon their own experiences or prior knowledge, which
means that students must understand cause and effect, consequences, and implications
Opinion—questions that ask the author’s intent and require the use of inference skills
Document-based—questions that require students to analyze information from a source document to
draw a conclusion or form an opinion

© Shell Education #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking 


Teaching Nonfiction Comprehension Skills (cont.)

Teaching Text Structure


Students lacking in knowledge of text structure are at a distinct disadvantage, yet this skill is
sometimes overlooked in instruction. When referring to a text to locate information to answer a
question, understanding structure allows students to quickly locate the right area in which to look.
The students also need to understand text structure in order to make predictions and improve overall
comprehension.
Some students have been so immersed in print that they have a natural understanding of structure.
For instance, they realize that the first sentence of a paragraph often contains the main idea, followed
by details about that idea. But many students need direct instruction in text structure. The first step
in this process is making certain that students know the way that authors typically present ideas in
writing. This knowledge is a major asset for students.
Transitional paragraphs join together two paragraphs to make the writing flow. Most transitional
paragraphs do not have a main idea. In all other paragraph types, there is a main idea, even if it is not
stated. In the following examples, the main idea is italicized. In order of frequency, the four types of
expository paragraph structures are as follows:
1. The main idea is often the first sentence of a paragraph. The rest of the paragraph
provides the supporting details.
Clara Barton, known as America’s first nurse, was a brave and devoted humanitarian.
While caring for others, she was shot at, got frostbitten fingers, and burned her hands. She
had severe laryngitis twice and almost lost her eyesight. Yet she continued to care for the
sick and injured until she died at the age of 91.
2. The main idea may fall in the center of the paragraph, surrounded on both sides by
details.
The coral has created a reef where more than 200 kinds of birds and about 1,500 types
of fish live. In fact, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef provides a home for many interesting
animals. These include sea turtles, giant clams, crabs, and crown-of-thorns starfish.
3. The main idea comes at the end of the paragraph as a summary of the details that
came before.
Each year, Antarctica spends six months in darkness, from mid-March to mid-September.
The continent is covered year-round by ice, which causes sunlight to reflect off its surface.
It never really warms up. In fact, the coldest temperature ever recorded was in Antarctica.
Antarctica has one of the harshest environments in the world.
4. The main idea is not stated in the paragraph and must be inferred from the details
given. This paragraph structure is the most challenging for primary students.
The biggest sea horse ever found was over a foot long. Large sea horses live along the coasts
of New Zealand, Australia, and California. Smaller sea horses live off the coast of Florida,
in the Caribbean Sea, and in the Gulf of Mexico. The smallest adult sea horse ever found
was only one-half inch long!
In this example, the implied main idea is that sea horses’ sizes vary based on where they live.
10 #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking © Shell Education
Teaching Nonfiction Comprehension Skills (cont.)

Teaching Text Structure (cont.)


Some other activities that will help your students understand text structure include the following:
Color code—While reading a text, have the students use different-colored pencils or highlighters to
color-code important elements such as the main idea (red), supporting details (yellow), causes (green)
and effects (purple), and facts (blue) and opinions (orange). When they have finished, ask them to
describe the paragraph’s structure in their own words.
Search the text—Teach the students to identify the key words in a question and look specifically for
those words in the passage. Then, when you discuss a comprehension question with the students, ask
them, “Which words will you look for in the text to find the answer? If you can’t find the words, can
you find synonyms? Where will you look for the words?”
Signal words—There are specific words used in text that indicate, or signal, that the text has a cause-
effect, sequence, or comparison structure. Teaching your students these words will greatly improve
their abilities to detect text structure and increase their comprehension.

These Signal Words Indicate

since, because, caused by, as a result, before and after, cause and effect
so, this led to, if/then, reasons, brought about, so that, The answer to “Why did it happen?” is a
when/then, that’s why cause.
The answer to “What happened?” is an
effect.
first, second, third, next, then, after, before, last, sequence
later, since then, now, while, meanwhile, at the same
time, finally, when, at last, in the end, since that time,
following, on (date), at (time)
but, even if, even though, although, however, instead, compare/contrast
not only, unless, yet, on the other hand, either/or, as
well as, “–er” and “–st” words (such as better, best,
shorter, tallest, bigger, smallest, most, worst)

© Shell Education #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking 11


Teaching Nonfiction Comprehension Skills (cont.)

Teaching Visualization Skills


Visualization—Visualization is seeing the words of a text as mental images. It is a significant factor
that sets proficient readers apart from low-achieving ones. Studies have shown that the ability to
generate vivid images while reading strongly correlates with a person’s comprehension of text.
However, research has also revealed that 20 percent of all children do not visualize or experience
sensory images when reading. These children are thus handicapped in their ability to comprehend text,
and they are usually the students who avoid and dislike reading because they never connect to text in a
personal, meaningful way.
Active visualization can completely engross a reader in text. You have experienced this when you just
could not put a book down and you stayed up all night just to finish it. Skilled readers automatically
weave their own memories into text as they read to make personalized, lifelike images. In fact, every
person develops a unique interpretation of any text. This personalized reading experience explains why
most people prefer a book to its movie.
Visualization is not static; unlike photographs, these are “movies in the mind.” Mental images must
constantly be modified to incorporate new information as it is disclosed by the text. Therefore, your
students must learn how to revise their images if they encounter information that requires them to do so.
Sensory Imaging—Sensory imaging employs other senses besides sight, and is closely related to visual
imaging. It too has been shown to be crucial to the construction of meaning during reading. This is
because the more senses that are employed in a task, the more neural pathways are built, resulting in
more avenues to access information. You have experienced sensory imaging when you could almost smell
the smoke of a forest fire or taste the sizzling bacon, or as you laughed along with a character as you read.
Sensory imaging connects the reader personally and intimately to the text and breathes life into words.
Since visualization is a challenging skill for one out of every five students to develop, begin with simple
fictional passages to scaffold their attempts and promote success. After your students have experienced
success with visualization and sensory imaging in literature, they are ready to employ these techniques
in nonfiction text.
Visualization has a special significance in nonfiction text. The technical presentation of ideas in
nonfiction text coupled with new terms and concepts often overwhelm and discourage students. Using
visualization can help students move beyond these barriers. As an added benefit, people who create
mental images display better long-term retention of factual material.
Clearly, there are important reasons to teach visualization and sensory imaging skills to students. But
perhaps the most compelling reason is this: visualizing demands active involvement, turning passive
students into active constructors of meaning.

12 #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking © Shell Education


Teaching Nonfiction Comprehension Skills (cont.)

Teaching Visualization Skills (cont.)


Doing Think-Alouds—It is essential for you to introduce visualization by doing think-alouds to
describe your own visualization of text. To do this, read aloud the first one or two lines of a passage
and describe what images come to your mind. Be sure to include details that were not stated in the
text, such as the house has two stories and green shutters. Then, read the next two lines, and explain
how you add to or modify your image based on the new information provided by the text. When you
are doing a think-aloud for your class, be sure to do the following:
• Explain how your images help you to better understand the passage.
• Describe details, being sure to include some from your own schema.
• Mention the use of your senses—the more the better.
• Describe your revision of the images as you read further and encounter new information.

Teaching Summarizing
Summarizing informational text is a crucial skill for students to master. It is also one of the most
challenging. Summarizing means pulling out only the essential elements of a passage—just the main
idea and supporting details. Research has shown that having students put information into their own
words causes it to be processed more thoroughly. Thus, summarizing increases both understanding
and long-term retention of material. Information can be summarized through such diverse activities as
speaking, writing, drawing, or creating a project.
The basic steps of summarizing are as follows:
• Look for the paragraph’s main idea sentence; if there is none, create one.
• Find the supporting details, being certain to group all related terms or ideas.
• Record information that is repeated or restated only once.
• Put the summary together into an organized format.
Scaffolding is of critical importance. Your students will need a lot of modeling, guided practice, and
small-group or partner practice before attempting to summarize independently. All strategies should
be done as a whole group and then with a partner several times before letting the students practice
them on their own. Encourage the greatest transfer of knowledge by modeling each strategy’s use in
multiple content areas.

© Shell Education #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking 13


Teaching Vocabulary
Students may see a word in print that they have never read or heard before. As a result, students
need direct instruction in vocabulary to make real progress toward becoming readers who can
independently access expository text. Teaching the vocabulary that occurs in a text significantly
improves comprehension. Because students encounter vocabulary terms in science, social studies,
math, and language arts, strategies for decoding and understanding new words must be taught
throughout the day.
Students’ vocabularies develop in this order: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. This means that
a child understands a word when it is spoken to him or her long before he or she uses it in speech.
The child will also understand the word when reading it before attempting to use it in his or her
own writing. Each time a child comes across the same word, his or her understanding of that word
deepens. Research has shown that vocabulary instruction has the most positive effect on reading
comprehension when students encounter the words multiple times. That is why the best vocabulary
instruction requires students to use new words in writing and speaking as well as in reading.
Teaching vocabulary can be both effective and fun, especially if you engage the students’ multiple
modalities (listening, speaking, reading, and writing). In addition, instruction that uses all four
modalities is most apt to reach every learner.
The more experience a child has with language, the stronger his or her vocabulary base. Therefore,
the majority of vocabulary activities should be done as whole-group or small-group instruction. In
this way, children with limited vocabularies can learn from their peers’ knowledge bases and will
find vocabulary activities less frustrating. Remember, too, that a picture is worth a thousand words.
Whenever possible, provide pictures of new vocabulary words.

Selecting Vocabulary Words to Study


Many teachers feel overwhelmed when teaching vocabulary because they realize that it is impossible to
thoroughly cover all the words students may not know. Do not attempt to study every unknown word.
Instead, choose the words from each selection wisely. Following these guidelines in order will result in
an educationally sound vocabulary list:
• Choose words that are critical to the article’s meaning.
• Choose conceptually difficult words.
• Choose words with the greatest utility value—those that you anticipate the children will see
more often (e.g., choose horrified rather than appalled).
These suggestions are given for teaching nonfiction material in general. Do not select and preteach
vocabulary from these practice passages. You want to simulate real test conditions in which the
children would have no prior knowledge of any of the material in any of the passages.

14 #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking © Shell Education


Teaching Vocabulary (cont.)

Elements of Effective Vocabulary Instruction


Vocabulary instruction is only effective if students permanently add the concepts to their knowledge
bases. Research has shown that the most effective vocabulary program includes contextual, structural,
and classification strategies. You can do this by making certain that your vocabulary instruction
includes the following elements:
• using context clues
• knowing the meaning of affixes (prefixes, suffixes) and roots
• introducing new words as synonyms and antonyms of known words

Using Context Clues


Learning vocabulary in context is important for two reasons. First, it allows students to become active
in determining word meanings; and second, it transfers into their lives by offering them a way to figure
out unknown words in their independent reading. If you teach your students how to use context clues,
you may eventually be able to omit preteaching any vocabulary that is defined in context (so long as
the text is written at your students’ independent levels).
There are five basic kinds of context clues.
• Definition—The definition is given elsewhere in the sentence or paragraph.
Example: The ragged, tattered dress hung from her shoulders.
• Synonym—A synonym or synonymous phrase is immediately used in the sentence.
Example: Although she was overweight, her obesity never bothered her until she went to middle
school.
• Contrast—The meaning may be implied through contrast to a known word or concept. Be alert
to these words that signal contrast: although, but, however, and even though.
Example: Although Adesha had always been prompt, today he was 20 minutes late.
• Summary—The meaning is summed up by a list of attributes.
Example: Tundra, desert, grassland, and rain forest are four of Earth’s biomes.
• Mood—The meaning of the word can sometimes be grasped from the mood of the larger
context in which it appears. The most difficult situation is when the meaning must be inferred
with few other clues.
Example: Her shrill voice was actually making my ears hurt.

© Shell Education #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking 15


Teaching Vocabulary (cont.)

Building Vocabulary
Your general approach to building vocabulary should include the following:
Brainstorming—Students brainstorm a list of words associated with a familiar word, sharing
everyone’s knowledge and thoroughly discussing unfamiliar words.
Semantic mapping—Students sort the brainstormed words into categories, often creating a visual
organization tool—such as a graphic organizer or word web—to depict the relationships.
Feature analysis—Students are provided with the key features of the text and a list of terms in a chart,
such as a semantic matrix or Venn diagram. Have the students identify the similarities and differences
between the items.
Synonyms and antonyms—Introduce both synonyms and antonyms for the words to provide a
structure for meaning and substantially and rapidly increase your students’ vocabularies.
Analogies—Analogies are similar to synonyms but require higher-level thinking. The goal is to help
students identify the relationship between words. Analogies appear on standardized tests in the upper
elementary grades.
Example: Bark is to tree as skin is to human.
Word affixes—Studying common prefixes and suffixes helps students deduce new words, especially in
context. Teach students to ask, “Does this look like any other word I know? Can I find any word parts I
know? Can I figure out the meaning based on its context?”
Important Affixes for Primary Grades

Prefix Meaning Example Suffix Meaning Example


cars;
un not unusual -s or -es more than one
tomatoes
re again redo -ed did an action moved

in, im not impassable -ing doing an action buying

dis opposite disassemble -ly like, very usually

non not nonathletic -er a person who farmer

over too much overcook -ful full of respectful

mis bad misrepresent -or a person who creator

pre before prearrange -less without harmless

de opposite decompose -er more calmer

under less underachieve -est most happiest

16 #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking © Shell Education


Correlation to Standards
The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation mandates that all states adopt academic standards that
identify the skills students will learn in kindergarten through grade 12. While many states had already
adopted academic standards prior to NCLB, the legislation set requirements to ensure the standards
were detailed and comprehensive.
Standards are designed to focus instruction and guide adoption of curricula. Standards are statements
that describe the criteria necessary for students to meet specific academic goals. They define the
knowledge, skills, and content students should acquire at each level. Standards are also used to develop
standardized tests to evaluate students’ academic progress.
In many states today, teachers are required to demonstrate how their lessons meet state standards.
State standards are used in the development of Shell Education products, so educators can be assured
that they meet the academic requirements of each state.

How to Find Your State Correlations


Shell Education is committed to producing educational materials that are research and standards
based. In this effort, all products are correlated to the academic standards of the 50 states, the District
of Columbia, and the Department of Defense Dependent Schools. A correlation report customized for
your state can be printed directly from the following website: http://www.shelleducation.com. If you
require assistance in printing correlation reports, please contact Customer Service at 1-877-777-3450.

McREL Compendium
Shell Education uses the Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL) Compendium to
create standards correlations. Each year, McREL analyzes state standards and revises the compendium.
By following this procedure, they are able to produce a general compilation of national standards.
Each reading comprehension strategy assessed in this book is based on one or more McREL content
standards. The chart shows the McREL standards that correlate to each lesson used in the book. To see
a state-specific correlation, visit the Shell Education website at http://www.shelleducation.com.
All lessons in this book are designed to utilize all of the listed standards.

Language Arts Standards


Standard 1 Uses the general skills and strategies of the writing process.
1.2 Uses strategies to draft and revise written work.
Standard 5 Uses the general skills and strategies of the reading process.
5.2 Establishes a purpose for reading.
Standard 7 Uses reading skills and strategies to understand and interpret a variety of
informational texts.
7.1 Uses reading skills and strategies to understand a variety of informational texts.
7.3 Uses text organizers to determine the main idea and to locate information in a text.
7.5 Summarizes and paraphrases information in texts.
7.6 Uses prior knowledge and experience to understand and respond to new information.
7.7 Understands structural patterns or organization in informational texts.
© Shell Education #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking 17
Directions: Read the article.

Mickey Gets Fit


No more junk food for Mickey Mouse, Mr. Incredible, or Nemo.
Recently, the Walt Disney Company announced a plan to take its
characters off some foods. Company officials do not want their
characters to draw kids to snacks that are unhealthful. So Disney
developed nutrition guidelines that will make it tougher for food
companies to get Mickey’s approval.
The rules limit sugar, fat, and calories in foods that bear a
Disney character or logo. Snacks that get more than 35 percent of
their calories from fat or 25 percent from added sugar will be
off-limits. Over the next two years, Disney will drop foods that
don’t meet these guidelines.
Disney also promised to improve the nutritional value of
meals served at its United States theme parks. Kids’ meals will
now include low-fat milk, carrots, and other healthful choices.
Trans fats, which are used in some crackers and snack foods, are
especially dangerous. Disney parks will cut out trans fats by the
end of 2007.
The meal plan comes as concerns about childhood obesity
continue to grow. “It was the right thing to do,” says Disney boss
Robert Iger. Health officials and nutritionists praised the new
plan. But many said Disney should pull junk-food ads from its TV
networks, too.

18 #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking © Shell Education


Name ____________________________________________________

Mickey Gets Fit (cont.)

Directions: Answer these questions. You may look at the article.

1. What kinds of products is the Walt Disney Company removing its characters and logo
from? Why?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

2. What kind of additive was being banned at Disney parks at the end of 2007?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

3. Describe what will be in a typical kid’s meal at U.S. Disney theme parks from now on.

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

4. What did health officials and nutritionists say about Disney’s decision? What else did some
of them want Disney to do?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

5. What do you think? Should all junk food be eliminated from theme parks? Do companies
like Disney have a responsibility to help keep kids healthy? Explain your answer.

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

6. Do TV commercials for junk food that feature popular animated characters make you
want to buy those foods? Do you think that companies like Disney are wrong to use their
characters to sell food that is not healthy?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________
© Shell Education #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking 19
Name ____________________________________________________

Mickey Gets Fit (cont.)

Directions: Look at the pictures of the two kids’ meals. Answer the questions.

Which Would You Choose?

Meal A Meal B
LO
FA W
T

ES
FRI

1. Which of these kids’ meals do you think Disney is serving at its theme parks now?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

2. What are the differences in the two meals? What makes one healthier than the other?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

3. If you were in charge of choosing foods to sell at a theme park, what kinds of food would
you put on the menu? Would you care only about what foods would make the most
money? Or would you care about offering healthy choices? Explain your answer.

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

20 #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking © Shell Education


Directions: Read the article.

Coral Reef Rescue


A lively community swims beneath the surface of the ocean.
Bright fish float through colorful formations called coral reefs.
“It’s just a riot of movement and color,” says Rod Salm. He is a
scientist who studies ocean life.
Salm is working to protect the world’s coral reefs. They
are being hurt by pollution, overfishing, and other problems.
Recently, researchers at a meeting on coral reefs sounded the
alarm. They said that if nothing is done, more than half the world’s
coral could die within the next 25 years.
Some coral formations look like lifeless stone. But corals are
made up of tiny living animals. They grow and divide to build the
coral colonies. When corals die, their skeletons are left behind.
New corals build on top. Some of the colonies are huge and
hundreds of years old.
Changes in water temperature can be deadly for corals.
Warmer ocean temperatures have caused coral bleaching. Corals
lose their color and become sickly. Some die.
Scientists have discovered that some corals can recover from
bleaching. The lessons they learn from these survivors could give
coral reefs a bright future.

© Shell Education #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking 21


Name ____________________________________________________

Coral Reef Rescue (cont.)

Directions: Answer these questions. You may look at the article.

1. Why are coral reefs in danger?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

2. The article says that at their meeting, researchers “sounded the alarm” about the problem.
What does that mean?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

3. What do scientists think will happen to the world’s coral if it is not protected?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

4. What happens when corals die?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

5. How does warmer water temperature affect coral reefs?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

6. Why do you think we should care about coral reefs and whether they have a future?
Explain your answer.

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

22 #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking © Shell Education


Name ____________________________________________________

Coral Reef Rescue (cont.)

Directions: Look at the pictures and read the descriptions. Answer the questions.

How Are Coral Reefs Formed?

Coral Polyp Coral Colony Coral Reef


Reefs are formed by coral The carbonate hardens into a Coral colonies and other
colonies of tiny animals called lime cup around the polyp’s organisms build the coral
coral polyps. Each polyp is soft body. The hard material reef.
a tiny, worm-shaped animal forms over many years by
that secretes a material called millions of polyps to make a
calcium carbonate. coral colony.

1. What is a coral polyp?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

2. How do the polyps turn into a coral colony?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

3. What do you imagine you might find in a coral reef? Use details to explain your answer.

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

© Shell Education #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking 23


Directions: Read the article.

Farm-Fresh Science
What do kids say after attending Veggie U? “More veggies,
please!” The science program is popping up in fourth-grade
classrooms across the nation. For five weeks, students learn
about vegetables and nutrition. They also grow and eat their own
veggies, such as squash and lettuce.
“Once the kids plant the seeds and watch them grow, they
start to look at veggies differently,” says Barbara Jones. She is the
director of Veggie U.
Barbara and her husband, Bob, started Veggie U. They want
to encourage kids to eat healthfully. The Jones’ farm in Milan,
Ohio, gives teachers the tools to get growing. The kit comes with
seeds, soil, grow lights, and earthworms. The Jones also send
fresh vegetables, including blue potatoes and purple carrots. “A
lot of students think vegetables aren’t cool,” says Sam Browning,
a teacher in Sandusky, Ohio. “But they’re excited to try the ones
from the Jones’ farm.”
Courtney Russell is one of Browning’s students. She admits the
blue potato made her a little nervous. But Veggie U has helped
her to eat better. “Now when I have a snack, I’d rather have
veggies,” she says.

24 #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking © Shell Education


Name ____________________________________________________

Farm-Fresh Science (cont.)

Directions: Answer these questions. You may look at the article.

1. What do you think the “U” in Veggie U is supposed to stand for?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

2. What does the program teach kids?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

3. Name three things that kids in the program get to do.

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

4. Who started the program?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

5. Why do you think the Jones’ care enough to start a program like this?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

6. How are the vegetables they send different from regular vegetables? Why do you think
they send these unusual-looking vegetables?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

7. Would you try a fruit or vegetable that was not its “normal” color? Why or why not?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

© Shell Education #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking 25


Name ____________________________________________________

Farm-Fresh Science (cont.)

Directions: Look at the chart. Answer the questions.

What Part of the Plant Are We Eating, Anyway?


FRUITS LEAVES ROOTS SEED PODS
apples lemons basil beets chili peppers
apricots mangos brussels sprouts carrots green beans
avocados oranges beet greens onions okra
bananas papayas cabbage parsnips snap pea pods
blueberries peaches chard radishes wax beans
cantaloupe pears cilantro rutabagas
cherries pineapple endive sweet potatoes
cranberries plums kale turnips
cucumbers raspberries lettuce SEEDS STEMS
eggplant strawberries spinach black beans asparagus
grapes squash turnip greens corn celery
kiwifruit tomatoes FLOWERS lima beans leeks
TUBERS artichokes kidney beans green onions
potatoes broccoli peas rhubarb
yams cauliflower sunflower seeds

1. Into how many categories can vegetables be split?

______________________________________________________________________________

2. Which vegetables are really flowers?

______________________________________________________________________________

3. Make a list of your top 10 favorites from this list.

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

26 #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking © Shell Education


Directions: Read the article.

Back in Orbit
Rockets roared as the space shuttle Atlantis lifted into the sky
on September 9, 2006. Atlantis was headed for the International
Space Station (ISS). The ISS is a giant space lab in the sky.
Scientists from many countries work there.
The station was built in 1998. It is 220 miles above Earth. Its first
permanent crew arrived in 2000. Since then, there have always
been at least two astronauts on board.
Atlantis’s mission was to build the first major addition to the
ISS since late 2002. Work to build the station stopped in February
2003 so that scientists could find ways to make shuttle trips safer.
Now, it is back to business on the ISS. All six members of the
Atlantis crew trained for four and a half years for this difficult
mission. Atlantis astronauts took three space walks. Each walk
lasted more than six hours. The team added giant solar panels
to the ISS. The panels use the sun’s energy to make power for
the station. NASA is planning 14 shuttle flights to finish work on
the ISS. When it is done, the space lab will be bigger than a five-
bedroom house.
NASA plans to retire the shuttles in 2010. New spacecrafts are
in the works. They may one day take United States astronauts to
the moon, Mars, and maybe even beyond.

© Shell Education #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking 27


Name ____________________________________________________

Back in Orbit (cont.)

Directions: Answer these questions. You may look at the article.

1. What does ISS stand for?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

2. What is the fewest number of astronauts ever on board the ISS?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

3. What was Atlantis’s mission?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

4. How many members are there on this shuttle crew?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

5. What did the astronauts do while they were at the ISS?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

6. What is NASA planning for the future of its shuttle program?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

7. What do you imagine it must be like to visit the ISS? Write what you think a trip there
would be like. Use lots of details.

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

28 #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking © Shell Education


Name ____________________________________________________

Back in Orbit (cont.)

Directions: Read the list. Answer the questions.

Some Surprising Facts About the International Space Station


• The International Space Station (ISS) is the largest manned object ever sent into space—
about the size of two Boeing 747s.
• Putting the ISS together will require 45 launches—36 from the United States and nine
from Russia—and 1,705 hours of space walks.
• The ISS will be visible to more than 90 percent of the world’s population.
• The Space Station circles the Earth every 90 minutes.
• The ISS astronauts exercise at least two hours every day because the human body tends
to lose muscle and bone mass rapidly in space.
• About 100,000 people from 16 nations have worked on the ISS.
• The Space Station is the most expensive single object ever built.

1. Why do you think so much of the world’s population is able to see the International Space
Station?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

2. What was the most surprising fact to you? Why did you think that was so surprising?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

3. List three other things you would want to find out about the ISS. Where would you look
for this information?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

© Shell Education #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking 29


Directions: Read the article.

It’s Asthma Season


Jeremy Wirick has had many asthma attacks at school.
Sometimes, he has to use a machine to catch his breath. Asthma
is a disorder that makes breathing difficult. The American Lung
Association says that about one out of 12 American kids has
asthma.
Kids’ asthma is often worse in September and October. “When
kids get together in close spaces, they start passing viruses
around,” Dr. Norman Edelman said. Germs, fall allergies, and
school stress can make a child’s asthma worse. Asthma affects a
person’s airways. An asthma attack makes it hard for air to get to
the lungs.
Schools can do a lot to help. School buildings should be free of
dust, mold, and other things that can bring on an asthma attack.
Kids with asthma should have a plan from a doctor so school staff
members know what to do in an emergency.
Most states allow kids with asthma to carry inhalers of medicine
that help them breathe. Jeremy keeps his inhaler in the school
nurse’s office. What is his advice for kids with asthma? Avoid
activities that bring on asthma attacks, but still have fun. “If kids
are playing in leaf piles,” he says, “stick with the swings.”

30 #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking © Shell Education


Name ____________________________________________________

It’s Asthma Season (cont.)

Directions: Answer these questions. You may look at the article.

1. What is asthma?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

2. How many kids in the United States have the disease?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

3. What are three things that can make asthma worse for a kid?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

4. What happens during an asthma attack?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

5. What are some things that schools can do to help kids with asthma?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

6. What do some kids carry with them in case of an asthma attack?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

7. Why do you think Jeremy says that if kids are playing leaves, it’s safer to “stick with the
swings”?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________
© Shell Education #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking 31
Name ____________________________________________________

It’s Asthma Season (cont.)

Directions: Look at the list. Answer the questions.

Asthma Capitals, 2007


There is no place free from asthma triggers. But some cities have risk factors that make them
more challenging places to live than others. Atlanta, Georgia, was named the top “Asthma
Capital” for 2007 in the annual ranking of the 100 most challenging places to live with asthma.

1. Atlanta, Georgia 6. Grand Rapids, Michigan


2. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 7. Milwaukee, Wisconsin
3. Raleigh, North Carolina 8. Greensboro, North Carolina
4. Knoxville, Tennessee 9. Scranton, Pennsylvania
5. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 10. Little Rock, Arkansas

1. According to the list, what’s the worst city to live in if you have asthma?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

2. Which state has the most cities on the Top 10 list for asthma risk factors?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

3. What kinds of information do you think researchers might use to decide which cities to
put on this list?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

32 #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking © Shell Education


Directions: Read the article.

Stay in the Game


Many kids start playing a sport for fun. They work hard to do
their best. Too often, injuries can get in the way. Kids face special
risks because their bones are still growing. Young athletes who
train year-round face even more risks. Doing the same move over
and over, such as throwing a ball, stresses a kid’s body.
More than 3.5 million kids under age 15 are treated for sports
injuries each year. Most are caused by collisions or falls. When
young athletes reach middle school or high school, nearly half
their injuries result from overusing muscles and joints. A joint is
where two bones meet.
Little League baseball and softball have taken aim at overuse
injuries. The league recently announced new rules. Until now, a
player was allowed to pitch six innings per game. Under the new
rules, pitchers ten and younger will stop after 75 pitches.
The best medicine may be having fun off the field. “We
recommend that a young baseball thrower have two to three
months off each year,” says Dr. James Andrews. Taking a break
could help you play your way to a safer season.

© Shell Education #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking 33


Name ____________________________________________________

Stay in the Game (cont.)

Directions: Answer these questions. You may look at the article.

1. How many kids under age 15 are treated for sports injuries annually?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

2. Why do you think so many injuries occur from overusing muscles and joints?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

3. What changes did Little League make in its pitching rules?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

4. Why do you think they made those changes?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

5. What do you think might happen to a pitcher who never gets a break?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

6. Name three other sports in which there may be a lot of injuries to young athletes.

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

7. Do you think that some coaches push their young athletes to do too much? Should every
youth sports group have rules like Little League to prevent injuries? Why or why not?
Explain your answer.

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________
34 #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking © Shell Education
Name ____________________________________________________

Stay in the Game (cont.)

Directions: Look at the chart. Answer the questions.

Top 10 Most Dangerous Sports


Many moms might worry about their kids getting hurt playing football. But a new study shows
that playing basketball and riding bicycles sent more Americans to the emergency room in 2005:
Number of People
Sport
Treated at Hospitals
1. basketball 512,213
2. bicycling 485,669
3. football 418,260
4. soccer 174,686
5. baseball 155,898
6. skateboarding 112,544
7. trampoline jumping 108,029
8. softball 106,884
9. swimming/diving 82,354
10. horseback riding 73,576

1. What surprised you the most about this list?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

2. Which two sports had the closest number of injuries?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

3. Of these sports, which ones have you participated in? Describe a time you were hurt
playing a sport or on a playground, even if you did not need to see a doctor. Use details to
explain your answer.

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________
© Shell Education #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking 35
Directions: Read the article.

Seeds of Hope
Every year, Africa’s farms produce fewer and fewer crops. Many
Africans do not have enough food to eat. Americans Bill and
Melinda Gates say it is time to change that for good.
In 2006, the Gates Foundation announced it was teaming
up with the Rockefeller Foundation to fight hunger in Africa.
Together, the generous groups will spend $150 million to help
farmers on the continent of Africa.
The new program is called Alliance for a Green Revolution.
It is a back-to-basics plan that will start with seeds. Already,
African scientists are working to develop hardier crops. They have
created new kinds of rice plants that grow well in Africa. The rice
is resistant to weeds.
Africa’s farmers are mainly women. Many of the scientists
helping to create the new crops are also women. Margaret
Karembu is a scientist in Kenya. She said that women are working
to help their sisters in the villages. “We know what it means to
have to harvest all day,” she said.
The effects of planting hardier plants can already be felt.
Children are expected to help in the field, but now they spend
less time there. More kids are in school in the areas where the
new rice is grown.
Better harvests will give farm families more crops to eat and to
sell. It will take years for the new program to reach full bloom. But
the seeds of hope have been planted.

36 #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking © Shell Education


Name ____________________________________________________

Seeds of Hope (cont.)

Directions: Answer these questions. You may look at the article.

1. Who are the people behind the Gates Foundation?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

2. How much are the groups spending to help farmers?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

3. What is the new program called?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

4. Why are scientists developing new kinds of plants?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

5. Why does it matter that many of the scientists working on the project are women?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

6. How will this new program affect African children who work on farms?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

7. How do you think this program will help the people of Africa?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________
© Shell Education #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking 37
Name ____________________________________________________

Seeds of Hope (cont.)

Directions: Look at the map. Answer the questions.

Hunger Hot Spots in Central Africa


1. Chad
2. Cameroon
3. Central African Republic
4. Congo

5. Democratic Republic of Congo



■ 20% to 34% population
  undernourished

■ 35% population
undernourished

Total population: 81.7 million


Undernourished population:
47.6 million or 58%

1. Name the Central African countries where at least 35 percent of the population is
undernourished.

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

2. What percentage of the population of Central Africa is considered undernourished?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

3. What do you think the Alliance for a Green Revolution should do to help these countries?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________
38 #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking © Shell Education
Directions: Read the article.

Ta-Da! It’s Time for Class


As class begins, students wave wands in the air. One boy
makes a coin disappear. Another boy pulls a golf ball from an
empty jar. A few students are juggling.
Have the teachers lost control? No! In fact, they are teaching
the students to do more tricks. This is not an ordinary school. The
College of Magic in Cape Town, South Africa teaches children
age 10 and older how to do magic.
David Gore opened the College of Magic 26 years ago. He
wanted to help local children. They seemed to need a little
magic in their lives. Many of the students are poor. They live in
small shacks and don’t always have enough to eat. Gore said that
magic “gives children the courage to dream.”
Gore says magic offers kids new ways of thinking and solving
problems. They learn to do things that seem impossible. They
also learn that they have the ability to amaze others. “You’re able
to do things other people would love to do, but they can’t,” said
magic student Hannah-Rose Smith.
Phumile Dyasi has been a student at the school since he was
10. Phumile has won magic contests. He would like to become
a professional one day. This is something he never dreamed of
before going to magic school. Phumile used to be very shy. But
magic lessons have made his shyness vanish. “We make the
impossible become possible,” he said.

© Shell Education #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking 39


Name ____________________________________________________

Ta-Da! It’s Time for Class (cont.)

Directions: Answer these questions. You may look at the article.

1. What does the school teach students how to do?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

2. Do you think this is a real college? Why or why not?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

3. Why did David Gore open the school?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

4. What challenges do the kids have at home?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

5. In what ways does learning magic help these kids?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

6. How do you think learning magic has made Phumile’s shyness disappear? What does he
mean when he says, “We make the impossible become possible”?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

40 #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking © Shell Education


Name ____________________________________________________

Ta-Da! It’s Time for Class (cont.)

Directions: Look at the class schedule. Answer the questions.

MAGIC SCHOOL SCHEDULE


Tools of the Trade Card-Trick Secrets
Make magic using your Learn all the tricks that
wand and objects you can find magicians have up their
around the house. sleeves.
9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. 2:15 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
The History of Magic The Art of Illusion
Learn about famous Unlock the secret to making
magicians. objects appear and vanish.
11:00 a.m. to noon 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

1. What time is the first class of the day?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

2. How long is the History of Magic class?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

3. What is the last class of the day? What will you learn in that class?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

4. Which of these classes would you like to take? Explain your choice.

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

© Shell Education #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking 41


Directions: Read the article.

Who Belongs in the Zoo?


Elephants are wildly popular at the zoo. They draw large
crowds. But zoos in some big cities are planning to close their
elephant exhibits. Why?
In the wild, elephants can travel up to 30 miles a day. They live
in large groups. Most zoos have only a few elephants living in
a small space. “It is not possible for zoos to meet the needs of
elephants,” says David Hancocks, a wildlife expert.
Two city zoos in California and Pennsylvania are building
larger homes for their elephants. But elephants are not the
only creatures that animal experts worry about. Zookeepers
are thinking harder than ever about how to best take care of all
species, or kinds, of animals.
Many zoo favorites, including lions, tigers, and gorillas, seem
to do well in zoos. Others, such as elephants, have a tougher
time. In the future, zoos may have fewer animals. When animals
are treated well, people feel good visiting zoos. Zoos also teach
people about protecting wildlife.
In September 2006, the National Zoo in Washington, D.C.
opened its new Asia Trail exhibit. The space features sloth bears,
fishing cats, and pandas. Even better, learning about the animals
and their natural habitat will help remind people that these
precious creatures need protection in the wild.

42 #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking © Shell Education


Name ____________________________________________________

Who Belongs in the Zoo? (cont.)

Directions: Answer these questions. You may look at the article.

1. Why are some cities closing their elephant exhibits?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

2. How is the way elephants live in the wild different from how they live in most zoos?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

3. Which two states have zoos that are building new homes for the elephants?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

4. How will these new homes be different?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

5. How might zoos of the future be different from zoos today?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

6. What animals are featured at the new exhibit at the National Zoo?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

7. Do you think it is better to have lots of animals at a smaller, traditional zoo, or fewer
animals kept in a bigger area that’s more like their natural habitat?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

© Shell Education #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking 43


Name ____________________________________________________

Who Belongs in the Zoo? (cont.)

Directions: Look at the chart. Answer the questions.

What Is at the Zoo?

There are about 143 million visitors annually to the 166 zoos in North America accredited by
the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The following is a list of the species on display and
the number of animals in each category:

Total Number of
Type of Animal
Individual Animals
Amphibians 14,916
Birds 57,115
Fish 339,195
Invertebrates 239,925
Mammals 53,189
Marine Mammals 1,260
Reptiles 29,573

1. What type of animal is there the most of at zoos and aquariums?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

2. How many reptiles are there at North America’s zoos and aquariums?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

3. Do you think that these numbers will increase or decrease in the coming years? Explain
your answer.

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

44 #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking © Shell Education


Directions: Read the article.

The Future of Energy


Winds, waves, and the sun’s rays are powerful forces of nature.
These natural energy sources could one day light up our cities
and towns. In fact, water, wind, and solar power are already being
used in some places.
Scientists are scrambling to plug into nature’s renewable
energy sources—things we won’t run out of, such as sunlight and
ocean waves. The Earth’s oil supply is limited. Oil has become
more expensive.
The Flex car is a sweet example of natural energy at work. The
car runs on fuel made from sugarcane. That’s a crop that grows in
Brazil. The fuel is not yet as popular in the United States, where
fuel is made from corn. In parts of Asia and Africa, droppings
from pigs and other farm animals are being turned into power.
Machines break down the waste into gases. These gases are
burned to heat and light homes.
Energy from the sun helps to run factories and heat water.
Rooftop panels take in sunshine and turn it into power. The
United States military is now working on special fabrics that
absorb sunlight. Soldiers could use tents and backpacks made
from this fabric to recharge their equipment.
Researcher Tom Denniss is working to turn the force of ocean
waves into electricity. We will never run out of waves, Denniss
points out. Drawing on fuel that we won’t run out of is the power
behind all these bright ideas.

© Shell Education #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking 45


Name ____________________________________________________

The Future of Energy (cont.)

Directions: Answer these questions. You may look at the article.

1. Name three renewable energy sources.

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

2. What is another name for energy from the sun?

______________________________________________________________________________

3. Why are scientists looking for more renewable sources for power?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

4. What kind of fuel does the Flex car run on?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

5. What two items does the United States military hope to make out of special
sunlight-absorbing fabrics?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

6. What makes energy from winds, waves, and solar power different from other kinds of
energy we use, like oil?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

7. Think about all the electricity and fuel that your family uses. What changes could you
make to help conserve energy?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________
46 #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking © Shell Education
Name ____________________________________________________

The Future of Energy (cont.)

Directions: Look at the three pictures. Answer the questions.

Nature’s Power Sources

1. What three forms of natural energy are these?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

2. Which of these sources of energy are being used today?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

3. Think of all the sources of energy you used today. How many times did you use electricity?
How did you get to school? Make a list.

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

© Shell Education #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking 47


Directions: Read the article.

Dogs on Display
More than 30,000 dog lovers packed Madison Square Garden
in New York City for the 128th Westminster Kennel Club Dog
Show.
Leigh Huff, 12, was one of 137 kids, ages ten to 18, who
participated in the show. He works with his standard poodle,
Stella. To compete, Leigh had to have at least eight first-place
wins at dog shows during the year!
In the main contest, judges look for the top dogs. But juniors
like Leigh are judged on their dog-handling skills. David Frei is
one of Westminster’s television announcers. He says the best
junior handlers “take great care of their dogs and have the skills
that allow the dogs’ strongest features to come out.” A junior
handler positions the dog so the judge can examine it, then runs
with the dog so the judge can see it move. During the entire
time in the ring, juniors work with their dogs and get them to stay
calm.
Leigh didn’t win a prize this year, but he isn’t upset. To him,
dog shows are simply fun. “I get to meet a lot of people, and I
like working with my dog,” Leigh says. He was already looking
forward to another show in Chicago, Illinois.
Kids also learn to be good sports. Will Dede, 12, became best
friends with Leigh after they met at a dog show last year. “I want
him to do as well as I do or even better,” says Will. “When I go
out, I have him to root for me.”

48 #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking © Shell Education


Name ____________________________________________________

Dogs on Display (cont.)

Directions: Answer these questions. You may look at the article.

1. What event is this article about?

______________________________________________________________________________

2. How old are the junior handlers?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

3. What do junior handlers need to have done during the year in order to compete?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

4. How is the junior part of the show judged differently from the main contest?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

5. What are the junior handlers’ main responsibilities?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

6. Was Leigh disappointed about not winning? Why or why not?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

7. Would you ever want to enter your pet in a show? Why or why not?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

© Shell Education #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking 49


Name ____________________________________________________

Dogs on Display (cont.)

Directions: Look at the chart. Answer the questions.

Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show 10 Years of Best in Show Winners


Year Breed Dog’s Name
1997 Standard Schnauzer Parsifal Di Casa Netzer
1998 Norwich Terrier Fairewood Frolic
1999 Papillon Loteki Supernatural Being
2000 Spaniel (English Springer) Salilyn ’N Erin’s Shameless
2001 Bichon Frise Special Times Just Right
2002 Poodle (Miniature) Surrey Spice Girl
2003 Kerry Blue Terrier Torums Scarf Michael
2004 Newfoundland Darbydale’s All Rise Pouch Cove
2005 Pointer Kan-Point’s VJK Autumn Roses
2006 Bull Terrier Rocky Top’s Sundance Kid
2007 Spaniel (English Springer) Felicity’s Diamond Jim

1. What does this list show?

______________________________________________________________________________

2. What do you think best in show means?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

3. What kind of dog breed won twice in the ten years shown?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

4. What do you think about the names of the dogs on the list? How are they different from
the names of the dogs you know?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________
50 #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking © Shell Education
Directions: Read the article.

Make Lunch Fresher


On a recent Thursday, a long line of excited kids formed in
the cafeteria at Edmunds Elementary School. The students were
eager to try a tasty new treat—bright green pizza! “People liked
it,” says Elizabeth Brown. “They were spreading the word.”
Bright green pizza? It may sound like a science experiment
gone bad. It’s actually a fresh menu item made with locally grown
vegetables. The students were trying pesto pizza for the first time.
Pesto is a thick sauce made with garlic, cheese, and herbs.
Edmunds and other public schools in Burlington, Vermont are
part of a farm-to-school program. The program brings locally
grown fruits and vegetables to the cafeteria. The basil that the
students used to make pesto was picked that day at a nearby
farm.
At least 400 school districts in 23 states serve farm-fresh foods
for lunch. The program is good for local farmers who sell their
produce to the schools. It’s also good for kids’ health to eat more
fresh produce. Best of all, students seem to like it. Third-grader
Tian Berry says the food just tastes better: “It hasn’t been sitting
on the shelf for 10 days.”

© Shell Education #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking 51


Name ____________________________________________________

Make Lunch Fresher (cont.)

Directions: Answer these questions. You may look at the article.

1. What was unusual about the new menu item served at Edmunds Elementary School?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

2. What ingredient were many students trying for the first time?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

3. What is a farm-to-school program?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

4. How many schools serve farm-fresh foods?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

5. Why are these programs good for kids?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

6. Why are these programs good for farmers?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

7. Would you be more willing to try a new fruit or vegetable if you knew it was picked at a
nearby farm the day before? Why or why not?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

52 #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking © Shell Education


Name ____________________________________________________

Make Lunch Fresher (cont.)

Directions: Look at the map. Answer the questions.

States with Farm-to-School Programs

8"
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03 ./ 75
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*% 4% 8* ."
.* /:
8: $5 3*

*" 1"
/& /+
/7 0)
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*- */ 8BTIJOHUPO%$
65
$0 87
$" ,4 7"
.0 ,:
/$
"; 0, 5/
"3 4$
/.
.4 "- ("

)POPMVMV 59 -"
'-
)BXBJJ

"ODIPSBHF +VOFBV

Farm-to-School Program
"MBTLB

1. What two states on the West Coast have farm-to-school programs?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

2. Do you think you would eat more fruits and vegetables if your school district participated
in the program? Why or why not?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

3. What other things could schools do to get students to eat healthier?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

© Shell Education #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking 53


Directions: Read the article.

One Giant Leap


Frogs and toads first hopped on our planet 400 million
years ago. But do they have a future here? Scientists met in
Washington, D.C. last week to try to answer this question. They
came up with a plan that is one big leap toward saving these
animals.
Frogs and toads are amphibians. Amphibians are cold-blooded
animals that have a backbone. They live on both land and in
water. Many kinds of frogs are in danger of becoming extinct,
or dying out completely. A study in 2004 found that almost
2,000 kinds of amphibians are in serious trouble. Populations
around the world have dropped in the past 25 years. Many have
disappeared.
Several things could be hurting amphibians. The destruction
of forests and other native habitats where they live is probably
the biggest threat. Some researchers say that amphibians are
especially sensitive to pollution. Many of the animals live near
polluted water.
At the Washington, D.C. meeting, scientists created a plan to
help save amphibians. The plan will support governments that
take steps to protect important amphibian habitats.
Saving amphibians won’t be easy or cheap. Scientists think
that it could cost more than $400 million. It will take many years.
But there is hope.”  We still have time to save these threatened
creatures,” says Claude Gascon of the World Conservation Union.

54 #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking © Shell Education


Name ____________________________________________________

One Giant Leap (cont.)

Directions: Answer these questions. You may look at the article.

1. List two features of amphibians.

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

2. What does extinct mean?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

3. Why does the author use the phrase “one big leap” in the first paragraph?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

4. Why do you think it matters if there are no more frogs?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

5. Do you think it is worth $400 million to save the frogs?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

6. Can you tell what the author’s opinion is by reading the article? How?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

© Shell Education #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking 55


Name ____________________________________________________

One Giant Leap (cont.)

Directions: Look at the diagram. Answer the questions.

A B

C D

1. What does this diagram tell you?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

2. What do you think the picture in Box D means? Why do you think it would be a danger to
the frogs and toads?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

3. Not only frogs and toads are affected by these changes in the environment. What other
type of animal might be harmed?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________
56 #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking © Shell Education
Directions: Read the article.

A Business with Bite


Shay Hammond’s baked goods make her customers drool—but
they were probably drooling anyway. The 13-year-old business
owner makes and sells dog treats. Three stores in her hometown
of Olive Hill, Kentucky, carry Shay’s Bones and Biscuits. Last year,
the snacks earned $200.
Shay entered the biscuit business when she was 11. Her
loveable mutt, Pancake, was a loyal customer from the beginning.
Pancake was just a skinny pup when he gobbled up the first batch
of treats Shay ever made. In the past three years, her company
has grown, and so has Pancake. He happily helps in taste tests.
“We need to put him on a diet,” says Shay’s mom, Cindy.
The National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship gave
Shay a $1,000 prize. She traveled to New York City for the awards
dinner. The busy baker even fetched new customers. “A dog
jumped up on my shoulder and grabbed the treat from me,”
Shay said.
Bones and Biscuits come in two flavors. Mutter Butter is made
with peanut butter. Chicken Lickin’ includes chicken broth. The
treats are made with all-natural ingredients and have drawn
some two-legged customers. “Whenever I sold them at school,
everybody would dip them in cheese,” she says. “Maybe I should
start selling them to people.”

© Shell Education #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking 57


Name ____________________________________________________

A Business with Bite (cont.)

Directions: Answer these questions. You may look at the article.

1. How much money did Shay Hammond make in one year selling biscuits?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

2. What is one ingredient that Shay uses to make Mutter Butter dog treats?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

3. How do you think Shay’s dog got his name?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

4. If you started a business, what type of business would you like to start?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

5. Shay’s business is called Bones and Biscuits. What is another name she might have used?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

6. Besides selling her dog treats, what other things do you think Shay has to do to keep her
business running?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

7. Have you ever tasted a dog biscuit? If so, how did it taste? If not, how do you think it would
taste?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

58 #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking © Shell Education


Name ____________________________________________________

A Business with Bite (cont.)

Directions: Look at the picture. Answer the questions.

1. The box above contains chocolate chip cookies for people only. What is one ingredient in
the cookies that you would not put in dog biscuits?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

2. Why do you think artificial flavor and color are not as good as natural flavor and color?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

3. Other than peanut butter and chicken-flavored dog biscuits, what is another flavor that
you think dogs might like?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

© Shell Education #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking 59


Directions: Read the article.

Faster, Higher, Stronger


Unlikely heroes, strong comebacks, and brave athletes make
the Olympics a special event. The 2006 Games in Turin, Italy had
it all.
Japan’s Shizuka Arakawa won the women’s figure-skating
gold medal. It was Japan’s first medal at the Turin games and
its second Olympic figure-skating medal ever. American Sasha
Cohen held a slight lead going into the free skate, but Cohen
fell two times. She finished with a silver medal. “I tried hard,” she
said. “I have no regrets.”
Before the Olympics began, Americans thought that skier
Bode Miller would be the athlete to watch. But Miller failed to
win a medal in his first four races. Teammate Ted Ligety surprised
everyone when he finished first in the combined slalom-downhill
event. “It’s incredible,” he said. “I’m not very good in downhill.”
United States snowboarders ruled the slopes. Hannah Teter,
Seth Wescott, and Shaun White took home gold medals.
More than 2,500 athletes competed in the 2006 Winter Games.
Only 84 gold medals were awarded. In 1908, Baron Pierre de
Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympics, said, “The
most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win, but to
participate.” That remains true to this day, whether you are a fan
cheering on the athletes or you are Japan’s new heroine, Shizuka
Arakawa.

60 #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking © Shell Education


Name ____________________________________________________

Faster, Higher, Stronger (cont.)

Directions: Answer these questions. You may look at the article.

1. Where were the 2006 Winter Olympics held?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

2. How many Olympic figure-skating medals has Japan won?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

3. Who was the American figure skater who won the silver medal in Turin?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

4. What do you think you learn by participating in sports?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

5. What are the names of the American snowboarders who took home gold medals?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

6. If you could participate in the Olympics, what sport would you choose? Why?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

7. Why do you think it is possible to learn as much from failure as from success?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________
© Shell Education #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking 61
Name ____________________________________________________

Faster, Higher, Stronger (cont.)

Directions: Look at the map. Answer the questions.

.JMBO 7FOJDF
5VSJO

*UBMZ

3PNF

/BQMFT

.FEJUFSSBOFBO4FB

4JDJMZ

1. What does the shape of Italy look like to you?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

2. Why do you think Turin was a good choice for the Winter Olympics?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

3. What is Italy’s capital?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

4. Italian food is very popular. What is your favorite? Why?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________
62 #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking © Shell Education
Directions: Read the article.

A New Look at King


Every year in January, we celebrate the life of Martin Luther
King, Jr. A new book for grown-ups tells the story of King’s
difficult final months. It includes rare glimpses of King through
the eyes of his friends. The book is the third in a series by Taylor
Branch, a historian.
King was born in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1929. He grew up when
many states had laws that kept black and white people apart.
The two groups could not use the same public bathrooms or go
to the same schools. Even when he was a child, King questioned
these unfair segregation laws.
King became a minister. His dream of equality for all and hope
for the poor drew people to him. King strongly believed in the
power of protest without violence. Many of his efforts led to great
change. In 1955, King led a protest in Montgomery, Alabama to
end separate seating on buses. Many African Americans refused
to ride the city’s buses. In 1956, the United States Supreme Court
banned separate seating.
King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. He said
he accepted the award for “all men who love peace and
brotherhood.” Sadly, King did not live to see all of his dreams
come true. He was killed in April 1968. But he knew that the
power of dreams could change the world.

© Shell Education #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking 63


Name ____________________________________________________

A New Look at King (cont.)

Directions: Answer these questions. You may look at the article.

1. Why do you think we celebrate the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. in January?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

2. What are laws called that keep black people and white people apart?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

3. When people join together and refuse to buy something, or do something, it is called a
boycott. What did African Americans boycott in Montgomery in 1955?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

4. How did that boycott help change the laws?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

5. Why do you think Dr. King was chosen to win the Nobel Peace Prize?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

6. Do you think all people should be treated equally? Why?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

8. Why do you think Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

64 #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking © Shell Education


Name ____________________________________________________

A New Look at King (cont.)

Directions: Look at the maps. Answer the questions.

4$
"UMBOUB

"-
("
.4
.POUHPNFSZ

'-

1. What is the purpose of having two maps here?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

2. Why do you think two states are shaded?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

3. Although Dr. King’s message of peace began in the South, do you think his ideas have
reached people throughout the United States? Explain your answer.

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________
© Shell Education #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking 65
Directions: Read the article.

Caring for Kids in Need


John, age 11, lives in New York City. To him, being poor means
having an empty refrigerator. Shannon, age 9, is from a farming
town in Mississippi. To her, being poor means barely being able
to see the blackboard because eyeglasses are too expensive.
Growing up poor changes life in many ways.
One out of every six children in the United States lives in
poverty. That means that these children don’t have enough
money to pay for basic needs like food, clothing, medical care,
and housing. Why are so many families poor? “Too many kids
have parents who either don’t have enough work or their work
doesn’t pay enough,” says William O’Hare. He works for the
Annie E. Casey Foundation, which studies poverty in the United
States.
Organizations around the country are fighting child poverty.
Some groups help families build houses. Others give away free
groceries.
Silento Thomas is a fourth-grader in Mississippi. He arrives at
school by 7 a.m. to eat a free breakfast. Later, he is served lunch.
Meals like these help many kids get enough to eat. But the meals
alone won’t solve the problem. Geoffrey Canada runs New York
City’s Harlem Children’s Zone. The group runs programs and an
elementary school for poor kids. “We’re working to lift kids out of
poverty,” says Canada. There is still a long way to go.

66 #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking © Shell Education


Name ____________________________________________________

Caring for Kids in Need (cont.)

Directions: Answer these questions. You may look at the article.

1. How many children in the United States are poor?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

2. What are some reasons why so many families are poor?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

3. Do you think it is more expensive to live in New York City or a farming town in
Mississippi? Why?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

4. What is the purpose of the Annie E. Casey Foundation?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

5. How do you think having an empty refrigerator would affect you in school?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

6. What are two ways that the organizations in the story help families in need?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

7. Think of one way to fight poverty that is not mentioned by the author.

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

© Shell Education #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking 67


Name ____________________________________________________

Caring for Kids in Need (cont.)

Directions: Look at the graph. Answer the questions.

Smith Family Expenses For One Year (Family of Four)

Rent 9,600

Food 5,200

Heat,
Phone, 2,880
Electricty

Clothing 1,000

Child Care 2,400

0 1,000 2,000 3,000 4,000 5,000 6,000 7,000 8,000 9,000 10,000

1. A family of four in the United States is considered to be living in poverty if it is making


less than $20,650 each year. If the Smith family makes $19,983 in a year, are they living in
poverty?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

2. Looking at the graph, how much more money will the Smith family have to make to pay its
expenses for the year?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

3. What might a family need money for that is not on the graph?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

68 #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking © Shell Education


Directions: Read the article.

Animals at Work
A special visitor trotted into Michael Foote’s room last week at
the Akron Children’s Hospital in Ohio. Petie, a pony, spent several
minutes with the 11-year-old. “When Petie came in, I wasn’t
feeling great,” Michael says. “But I got to pet him, and when he
left, I felt a lot better.”
Horses and other animals are trained to help sick people feel
better. Animals also assist people who have disabilities. Kristina
Adams gathered facts for the United States government about
animal helpers. “Animals have been used (to heal) people for
hundreds of years,” she says.
Animals help in many ways. Petie brings a smile to a patient’s
face. Some dogs are trained to guide blind people. Monkey
helpers can carry things for people in wheelchairs.
At Island Dolphin Care in Florida, one way dolphins help is
to reward kids for finishing their work in the center’s classroom.
Randy Kersh, 9, was born with Down syndrome, which affects the
way his brain works. He takes a long time to do things. But Randy
knows that if he finishes his work at the center, he can swim with
the dolphins.
Animals can’t help everyone in need. But they can be trained
to make some struggles a little bit easier. For Randy and others,
being with animals makes them happy. Trainers say that animals
enjoy the friendship, too!

© Shell Education #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking 69


Name ____________________________________________________

Animals at Work (cont.)

Directions: Answer these questions. You may look at the article.

1. Why did Michael Foote get a special visitor?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

2. Give three examples of animal helpers.

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

3. Explain how each of these animals helps people.

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

4. What condition does Randy Kersh have, and how does it affect him?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

5. What does he get to do when he finishes his work?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

6. What kind of benefit do the animals get from being helpers?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

7. If you needed one, what kind of animal helper would you choose to have? Why would you
pick this animal?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

70 #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking © Shell Education


Name ____________________________________________________

Animals at Work (cont.)

Directions: Look at the picture. Answer the questions.

1. What is this dog doing?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

2. How do you think he learned how to do this?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

3. Name two other ways the dog can help the boy. What two things can the boy do for the dog?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

© Shell Education #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking 71


Directions: Read the article.

Celebrating Native Cultures


Thousands of people in colorful robes, nut necklaces, and
feather headdresses marched in Washington, D.C. recently. The
National Museum of the American Indian opened on September
21. People celebrated with American Indian stories, songs, and
dances.
American Indians have lived in North America for as many as
35,000 years. Plans for the museum began nearly 25 years ago.
“This monument to the first Americans is long overdue,” says
Daniel K. Inouye. He is one of the senators from Hawaii who
helped make the museum a reality.
The museum gives a feeling of what many American Indian
groups, called tribes, are like. There are about 8,000 objects on
display. Some are old. Others, like beaded sneakers, are newer.
“You have to see the arrowheads,” Sean Paulson, 7, reports.
“There are millions of them!”
Every part of the museum has an American Indian point of
view. Tribes from around the country helped in the planning. The
museum’s restaurant even serves American Indian-themed foods.
Menu items include buffalo chili and pumpkin cookies.
Nicole Soulier, 19, came from Wisconsin with members of her
tribe. “It’s very important to represent where I came from (and)
celebrate with all the other nations,” she says.

72 #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking © Shell Education


Name ____________________________________________________

Celebrating Native Cultures (cont.)

Directions: Answer these questions. You may look at the article.

1. What were people celebrating in Washington, D.C.?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

2. How long ago did people begin planning for an American Indian museum?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

3. Who is Daniel K. Inouye? How did he play a part in the museum?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

4. Give an example of one old and one new item on display.

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

5. Why do you think the museum’s organizers wanted to get tribes from around the country
involved in planning the museum?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

6. Do you think that all the visitors to the museum are American Indians? Explain your
answer.

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

© Shell Education #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking 73


Name ____________________________________________________

Celebrating Native Cultures (cont.)

Directions: Look at the museum directory. Answer the questions.

National Museum of the American Indian


Ground Level Second Level
Native Landscape Roanoke Museum Store
Entrance Restrooms
Potomac
Mitsitam Cafe
Chesapeake Museum Store
Main Theater
Restrooms
Third Level Fourth Level
Window On Collections: Bead Work, Our Universes Gallery
Dolls, Containers Our Peoples Gallery
Our Lives Gallery Window on Collections: Peace Medals,
Changing Exhibition Gallery—Native Animal Figures, Projectile Points
Modernism: The Art Of George Morrison Lelawi Theater
and Allan Houser Restrooms
Resource Center
Restrooms

1. On which levels might you see a movie about American Indian history?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

2. Where do you think they have exhibits that change during the year?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

3. List three things that sound interesting to you. Explain why you chose those three.

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

74 #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking © Shell Education


Directions: Read the article.

We Can Eat Smarter


The United States has a supersize problem. Many Americans
weigh too much! More than half the grown-ups in this country
weigh more than they should. There are two times as many adults
who are seriously overweight as there were 20 years ago. Doctors
are worried about this growing problem. Being very overweight is
dangerous. It can cause heart disease and other health problems.
How did so many people get out of shape? Nancy Krebs is
a doctor who works with kids. She says kids spend too much
time watching TV and not enough time doing physical activity,
like sports. Americans are eating out more than ever before.
Happy Meals and takeout pizzas are quick and tasty, but they are
fattening. They are also sold in sizes that are too big. Now, some
fast-food companies are offering choices that are lower in fat.
Lunches in public schools are including better foods. This year,
the government bought more than 973 million pounds of fruits
and vegetables for schools. Parents and kids are also making
changes. Danielle Bailey took part in the KidShape program in
California. “It taught me to eat more carrots, strawberries, and
grapes,” she says. “I also learned to go for more walks in the
park.” Now, Danielle feels great. Take good care of yourself, and
you will, too!

© Shell Education #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking 75


Name ____________________________________________________

We Can Eat Smarter (cont.)

Directions: Answer these questions. You may look at the article.

1. How has the number of overweight adults changed over the past 20 years?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

2. Why do doctors think more kids are out of shape today?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

3. What kinds of things may be making it harder for kids and adults to eat right and get the
exercise they need?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

4. What are fast food restaurants doing to help?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

5. What are public schools doing to help?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

6. List three things you could do every day to improve your own health.

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________
76 #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking © Shell Education
Name ____________________________________________________

We Can Eat Smarter (cont.)

Directions: Look at the pyramid. Answer the questions.


The United States Department of Agriculture created the MyPyramid for Kids to remind you to be
physically active and make healthy food choices. Every part of the symbol has a message.

1. Why do you think some of the stripes of the pyramid are wider at the bottom?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

2. Why do you think the stripe labeled oils is so small?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

3. What do you think the child running up the steps of the pyramid is supposed to remind
you to do?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

© Shell Education #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking 77


Directions: Read the article.

Some Like It Hot


A bobcat sometimes leaps onto the roof of Paul and Carolyn
Zeiger’s house in Pima County, Arizona. As long as their dog is
inside, they don’t worry much. They enjoy living in the desert.
The Zeigers are not alone. From 1990 to 2003, Arizona’s
population increased 53 percent. People like the desert’s clean
air, warm weather, and open spaces. But are they harming the
environment that they love? Deserts are home to many kinds of
plants and animals. Each species has adapted to life in the desert.
But humans can cause great harm.
When people use too much groundwater, desert plants slowly
die. This means trouble for animals. When plants die, animals
cannot use them for food and shelter. Once a desert landscape
has been harmed, it recovers slowly. Chuck Huckleberry, the
administrator of Pima County, says that with so little rain, “it takes
centuries.”
Folks in Pima County are working together to save the desert.
Recently, voters agreed to spend $174 million to buy up and
conserve open land. Residents also follow rules for watering
gardens. Carolyn Zeiger grows only native plants. “I start them
with a little water, but soon they will survive on their own,” she
says.
With a little respect from the humans who live there, the desert
can survive on its own, too.

78 #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking © Shell Education


Name ____________________________________________________

Some Like It Hot (cont.)

Directions: Answer these questions. You may look at the article.

1. How much did Arizona’s population increase between 1990 and 2003?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

2. Why do so many people move there?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

3. How are humans harming the desert landscape?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

4. How does this affect animals?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

5. What are Pima County residents doing to save the desert?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

6. Do you think people should move to the desert even if the environment will be harmed?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

7. What other desert states may be facing the same problems as Arizona?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________
© Shell Education #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking 79
Name ____________________________________________________

Some Like It Hot (cont.)

Directions: Look at the chart. Answer the questions.

Top 10 Fastest-Growing States


State Population 2006 Population 2005 Difference Percent Change
Arizona 6,166,318 5,953,007 213,311 3.58%
Nevada 2,495,529 2,412,301 83,228 3.45%
Idaho 1,466,465 1,429,367 37,098 2.60%
Georgia 9,363,941 9,132,553 231,388 2.53%
Texas 23,507,783 22,928,508 579,275 2.53%
Utah 2,550,063 2,490,334 59,729 2.40%
North Carolina 8,856,505 8,672,459 184,046 2.12%
Colorado 4,753,377 4,663,295 90,082 1.93%
Florida 18,089,888 17,768,191 321,697 1.81%
South Carolina 4,321,249 4,246,933 74,316 1.75%

1. How does this chart support the article about the growing U.S. desert population?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

2. Which state on the list has the highest overall population?

______________________________________________________________________________

3. Which two states saw their populations change by the same percentage?

______________________________________________________________________________

4. Do you think state governments like to be on a fastest-growing population list? Why or


why not?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________
80 #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking © Shell Education
Directions: Read the article.

The Missing Lynx


Recently, three Iberian lynx cubs were born in Doñana National
Park, in southern Spain. The cubs’ birth was cause for celebration.
It could be a big first step toward saving the species.
The new cubs and their parents are part of a captive-breeding
program. The cubs will one day be released into the wild. This
has never before been tried with cats. A similar program helped
save black-footed ferrets. But can it save the Iberian lynx?
In 1900, there were about 100,000 Iberian lynx in Spain and
Portugal. Today, there are thought to be fewer than 200 lynx living
in safe communities. The lynx is the world’s most endangered cat.
An environmental group called SOS Lynx put together a report
on the problem. It shows that loss of habitat and food are the
main causes of the lynx’s troubles.
The recent cub births in Spain are a major success. But if these
efforts don’t work, the Iberian lynx could be the first cat species
to die out since the saber-toothed tiger about 10,000 years ago.
Scientists are trying to make sure this doesn’t happen. They are
working to save the lynx’s habitat as well as boost the wild cat
population.
Sybille Klenzendorf of the World Wildlife Fund believes that
there is hope for the lynx. “If you fix the things that are wrong in
the wild, cats can come back pretty quickly,” Klenzendorf said.

© Shell Education #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking 81


Name ____________________________________________________

The Missing Lynx (cont.)

Directions: Answer the questions. You may look at the article.

1. What happened at Doñana National Park that was cause for celebration?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

2. What will eventually happen to the cubs?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

3. Why is the Iberian lynx the world’s most endangered cat?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

4. What species was saved by a similar kind of breeding program they’re trying with the lynx?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

5. Where does the Iberian lynx live?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

6. What other cat species has already died out?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

7. Do you think this program will work? What information in this article makes you think that?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________
82 #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking © Shell Education
Name ____________________________________________________

The Missing Lynx (cont.)

Directions: Look at the map. Answer the questions.

Where Is the Iberian Lynx Now?


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'3"/$&

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#BMFBSJD
4FB

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.030$$0

■ recent lynx sightings

1. In which country have there been the most lynx sightings?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

2. With so few lynx in the wild, do you think it’s easier or more difficult to keep maps like
these up to date?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

3. Can you think of anything that you can do to help so that the lynx does not become extinct?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

© Shell Education #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking 83


Directions: Read the article.

Too Young to Work


Valdemar Balderas was 12 when he began working in the fields
of Minnesota and North Dakota. He and his parents worked long
days in the heat. They picked weeds and cleared rocks. They
rarely got a day off.
Valdemar, now 14, lives in Eagle Pass, Texas. He still works in
the fields. Every April, his family goes north to begin months of
farmwork. “It’s hard,” Valdemar said. “At the end of the day, I feel
so tired.”
As many as 500,000 kids in the United States work on farms for
little pay. To help their families earn money, child farmworkers
often leave school for long stretches. More than half never
finish high school. The United States has a law meant to protect
working kids. But it does not apply to children who toil on farms.
The law allows kids as young as 12 to work many hours with their
families. They use knives and scissors made for adult hands. Many
are exposed to poisonous chemicals.
Some groups in the United States are working to move kids
out of the fields and back into the classrooms. One way is to raise
the amount of money their parents make. Santos Polendo, 19,
worked in the fields for ten years. For him, education is the ticket
to a better future. He will graduate high school in May. When he
has kids, he hopes they never work in the fields and “experience
what I experienced.”

84 #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking © Shell Education


Name ____________________________________________________

Too Young to Work (cont.)

Directions: Answer these questions. You may look at the article.

1. In what states has Valdemar lived over the last two years?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

2. What kind of work does his family do?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

3. How many kids in the United States work on farms?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

4. How can they attend school when they are working on a farm?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

5. What does the word toil mean?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

6. How are people trying to help these children?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

7. What do you think it would be like to be forced to leave school and go to work picking
weeds on a farm all day? Use details to describe what you think a typical day might be like.

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

© Shell Education #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking 85


Name ____________________________________________________

Too Young to Work (cont.)

Directions: Look at the graph. Answer the questions.

Child Labor Around the World


An estimated 218 million children are engaged in child labor worldwide. Here are the regions with
the highest number of child workers.

Sub-Saharan 34
Africa 37
Eastern and 29
Southern Africa 34
West and 41
Central Africa 41
Middle East and 7
North Africa 9
15
South Asia
14
East Asia and 10 O Female
Pacific (excl. China) 11
O Male
Latin America 8
and Carribbean 11
0 10 20 30 40 50
Percentage of children aged 5–14 involved in child labor activities

1. What region of the world has the highest percentage of children working?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

2. In most of the regions, are there more boys or girls working? Why do you think that is?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

3. How old do you think someone should be before they are asked to leave school and go to
work to help support their family?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

86 #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking © Shell Education


Directions: Read the article.

A New Deal on School Meals


Life at Odessa Kilpatrick Elementary is a little less sweet this
year. Teachers can’t reward students with candy. And kids are not
allowed to bring in sugary snacks to share with friends at lunch.
Texas has a new policy for healthful eating in schools. The
rules encourage meals that feature fruits and vegetables. Foods
packed with fat or sugar, including soft drinks and most candies,
are not allowed during the school day.
The Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) says that 35
percent of the state’s elementary school students weigh too
much. Susan Combs leads the TDA. She made the new rules.
Many other states are changing their rules on foods allowed at
schools, too.
School officials want to get students excited about healthful
living. They held a recipe contest for students across the
state. Zach Kyler, a fifth-grader from Round Rock, won for best
breakfast. He used six kinds of fruit grown in Texas.
Combs says her state has a recipe for success: “If kids eat
healthy, then they will live a long, healthy life.”

© Shell Education #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking 87


Name ____________________________________________________

A New Deal on School Meals (cont.)

Directions: Answer these questions. You may look at the article.

1. Why does the article state that life is a “little less sweet” at school this year?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

2. Why are they changing the rules about what kinds of foods can be eaten at school?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

3. What percentage of the state’s elementary schoolchildren is overweight?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

4. Who is Susan Combs?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

5. How are school officials getting kids excited about the new rules?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

6. Can you think of something else that schools can do to encourage kids to eat healthy food?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

7. If your school had a healthy cooking contest, what kind of recipe would you want to whip
up? List some of the ingredients you would want your entry to include.

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

88 #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking © Shell Education


Name ____________________________________________________

A New Deal on School Meals (cont.)

Directions: Look at the recipe. Answer the questions.

Texas Department of Agriculture’s Kids Kitchen Corral Recipe Contest


Snack Category Winner: Jamie L. Taylor, age 10

Jamie’s Honey-Deluxe Granola Bars

Remember to always have an adult help you prepare this recipe.

Ingredients Preparation

⅓  cup honey Combine ingredients in large bowl and mix


well. Spray an 8-inch square pan with nonstick
¼  cup oats cooking spray. Spread and press the mixture
¼  cup coconut evenly in the pan. Bake at 300°F in oven for
18–20 minutes. Cool to room temperature and
¼  cup chopped walnuts cut into 12 small bars. Makes 12 servings.
¼  cup cornflake crumbs Nutrition per serving
¼  cup slivered almonds Calories: 110; Total Fat: 6 grams; Saturated
¼  cup banana chips, broken into pieces Fat: 2 grams; Protein: 2 grams; Carbohydrates:
16 grams; Dietary Fiber: 2 grams; Sodium: 11
¼  cup ground cinnamon milligrams

1. What is the name of the recipe? In which category did it win?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

2. Besides the list of ingredients, what else in the kitchen would you need to prepare it?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

3. Why do you think this recipe provides nutrition information? How might that be helpful?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________
© Shell Education #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking 89
Directions: Read the article.

These Robots Are Wild


Most people think cockroaches are pests. Roy Ritzmann thinks
they are incredible creatures. “They’re fast,” he says. “They’re
easy to take care of.”
Ritzmann is a biologist at Case Western Reserve University in
Ohio. His enthusiasm for insects is a big part of his job. Ritzmann
is helping other scientists at the school build robots. They are
using bugs as models!
Robot designers want to make better machines by using the
features that help animals survive. Scientists have taken a special
interest in insects, lobsters, and scorpions. These critters are very
good at adapting to different habitats. Their many legs help them
travel easily over uneven ground.
The new robots may use their animal-like behaviors to find
people who are trapped. They will be able to climb, crawl, or
swim into dangerous places.
Creepy, crawly robots may one day work for NASA and the
United States military. RoboLobsters will search for underwater
weapons called mines. Robots based on scorpions and roaches
will explore Mars. They will be able to go places that current
wheeled rovers cannot.
So have some respect for humble bugs. They might help us
make major discoveries someday.

90 #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking © Shell Education


Name ____________________________________________________

These Robots Are Wild (cont.)

Directions: Answer these questions. You may look at the article.

1. Who is Roy Ritzmann and what does he do?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

2. Why are scientists interested in using bugs as models for robots?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

3. What kinds of buglike skills might help robots rescue people who are in trouble?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

4. Where might these robots be sent?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

5. Why do you think robots do certain jobs instead of humans?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

6. What kind of robot currently explores Mars?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

7. Did this article make you think differently about insects, scorpions, and lobsters? Why or
why not?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

© Shell Education #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking 91


Name ____________________________________________________

These Robots Are Wild (cont.)

Directions: Look at the pictures. Answer the questions.

1. From looking at the pictures, do you see any part of the robot that scientists may have
already taken from the bug model?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

2. What do you think scientists could add to the robot to make it more buglike?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

3. What other kind of animal might be a good model for a robot? Explain your answer.

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

92 #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking © Shell Education


Directions: Read the article.

Gaining Ground
The jaguar is the largest cat to live in North and South America.
But the cat’s strength and size cannot protect its habitat, or place
where it lives.
Jaguars once roamed the southwestern United States. But by
the early 1900s, the spotted cat seemed to disappear from the
United States. Some were killed by hunters for their fur.
The big cat has lost more than half its habitat in the last 100
years. Its habitat continues to shrink, as forests are replaced by
roads, farms, and homes.
Scientists are changing the way they think about big-
cat preserves, or protected areas. In the past, they created
separate small preserves for different populations of jaguars.
But jaguars need wide-open spaces to hunt for food. The
Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) is working to create a large
connected jaguar preserve. The 2,000-mile strip of land would
stretch from Mexico to Argentina.
The WCS has asked local governments to protect the land.
“We’re a little bit ahead of the game,” says Luke Hunter of the
WCS. “There are still huge tracts of land where jaguars can
roam.”
In northern Mexico, near the border with the United States,
three conservation groups are raising money to buy 50,000 acres
of land. Experts hope that this will encourage jaguars to roam
back to their American home.

© Shell Education #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking 93


Name ____________________________________________________

Gaining Ground (cont.)

Directions: Answer these questions. You may look at the article.

1. Where was the jaguar’s original habitat?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

2. What part of the United States did the jaguar call home?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

3. How much of the jaguar’s habitat has disappeared over the last century?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

4. What is a preserve?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

5. How are scientists changing the way they are thinking about creating preserves?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

6. Where is the preserve that the Wildlife Conservation Society is working to create?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

7. What is the goal of the conservation groups?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________
94 #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking © Shell Education
Name ____________________________________________________

Gaining Ground (cont.)

Directions: Look at the pictures and chart. Answer the questions.

What’s the Difference?

Jaguar Leopard

Adults weigh 200–250 pounds and are about Smaller than the jaguar, leopards vary in
six feet long, making it the largest cat in North length from three feet to six feet and weigh
America. 80–150 pounds.
Prey includes forest and river animals like Prey includes antelopes, zebra, hares, birds,
deer, wild pigs, sloth, and fish. and small carnivores.
Lives mainly in forests and swamplands in Lives throughout Africa, and from the Arabian
Mexico, Central, and South America. Peninsula through Asia to Korea.
Excellent swimmers, good climbers, and fast Excellent swimmers, good climbers, and fast
runners. runners.
Its rosettes, or roselike markings, are larger Its coat has smaller rosettes, and they usually
and darker than the leopard’s. don’t have spots inside.
The International Species Information Service The International Species Information Service
lists 292 living worldwide. lists 459 living worldwide.

1. List three differences between the jaguar and the leopard.

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

2. List three similarities between the jaguar and the leopard.

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

3. What do you think is the easiest way to tell the two cats apart?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________
© Shell Education #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking 95
Directions: Read the article.

Saving Their Native Language


Walk past the music room at Lost City School near Hulbert,
Oklahoma. You will hear some unusual sounds! The kids shout
that Old MacDonald had a wa-ga and a ka-wo-nu on his farm.
The words mean cow and duck in Cherokee.
In the building next door, kindergarten kids learn everything
from colors to numbers in Cherokee. The children are called by
their American Indian names. The kids speak only in Cherokee for
most of the day. They are the first public school students to do
this in the United States.
Cherokee is one of 170 or so American Indian languages in the
United States. All of the languages are in danger of disappearing.
About 99 out of every 100 people who can speak and understand
Cherokee well are over the age of 45.
“If we don’t learn Cherokee, our grandsons won’t know it,”
says Crystal Braden, age 13. Lost City School has 100 students.
Crystal is one of the 65 students who are Cherokee. Her class just
finished making a video to teach Cherokee words for colors to
younger students.
Kristian Smith, 10, is learning words from his little brother, Lane,
who is in kindergarten. “It’s weird,” says Kristian. “I’m the one
who should be teaching him!”
The Cherokee word ga-du-gi describes the school’s work. It
means “working together to help the community.” November
is National American Indian Heritage Month. But at Lost City
School, everyone works together all year long.

96 #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking © Shell Education


Name ____________________________________________________

Saving Their Native Language (cont.)

Directions: Answer these questions. You may look at the article.

1. What are they teaching at the Lost City School?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

2. How many American Indian languages are there in the United States?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

3. Why are the languages in danger of disappearing?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

4. Why do you think so many non-Cherokee students attend this school?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

5. What is one project that helps older students teach younger students?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

6. What other things do you think they might do at Lost City School to teach students about
the Cherokee culture?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

7. Give examples of two Cherokee words and their meanings.

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

© Shell Education #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking 97


Name ____________________________________________________

Saving Their Native Language (cont.)

Directions: Look at the map. Answer these questions.

American Indian Languages Spoken in the United States Today

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1. Which American Indian language is spoken most in the United States?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

2. Where else besides Oklahoma do they speak Cherokee?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

3. Why do you think it’s important for the American Indian population to teach their
language to children?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________
98 #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking © Shell Education
Directions: Read the article.

Small Wonders
Recently, Matt Savage gave a jazz concert in Manchester, New
Hampshire. But the 11-year-old wasn’t playing with people his
own age. He performed with two grown-ups. The band even
played music that Matt wrote.
“It’s weird to have your boss be an 11-year-old,” says John
Funkhouser, who plays in Matt’s band. Matt taught himself to read
music when he was six and has made five CDs!
Like Matt, many kids are born with a special talent. When they
were very little, Junichi Ono, 13, and Alexandra, 18, found that
they had artistic skills. But they still work hard to be good at what
they do.
Robert Butterworth is a psychologist. He says that “to do well
at something creative, kids need to have helpful parents and to
try things out over and over.” He also says kids should try many
activities, “and not just the ones they’re good at.”
Even kids who don’t seem to have a special talent can grow
up to be successful. Walt Disney was once told that he doodled
too much. Later, his drawings helped him create famous cartoon
characters.
For many creative kids, art or music is just one part of their
lives. “Every once in a while, Matt has a concert, and he is a star,”
says Diane Savage, Matt’s mom. “But when he comes home, he’s
just a regular member of the family.”

© Shell Education #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking 99


Name ____________________________________________________

Small Wonders (cont.)

Directions: Answer these questions. You may look at the article.

1. What special talent does Matt Savage have?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

2. What talents did he show when he was six years old?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

3. What advice does Robert Butterworth give parents of talented children?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

4. How is Walt Disney’s success different from that of kids whose talents were recognized at
an early age?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

5. Do you think it is good that Matt’s family treats him as “just a regular member of the
family” when he is not performing? Explain your answer.

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

6. Name a talent you have that you would like to work on as you get older. How will you
improve your skills?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

100 #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking © Shell Education


Name ____________________________________________________

Small Wonders (cont.)

Directions: Read the chart. Answer these questions.

Other Amazing “Small Wonders”


Name Subject Country Achievement
At age 11, became the youngest student to enter the
Ruth Lawrence Math England
University of Oxford in England.
Computer United Started working on electronics in fifth grade. Went on
Steve Wozniak
Science States to create the world’s first desktop computer: Apple I.
Tathagat Avatar Graduated from high school at age 9; earned college
Science India
Tulsi degree at age 10.
Started reading and writing at age 2, became India’s
Akrit Jaswal Medicine India youngest university student at age 12. Performed an
operation at age 17.
United Received a special Academy Award at age 7 for her
Shirley Temple Movies
States acting, singing, and dancing achievements in movies.
Some of his early works are from age 8; showed his first
Pablo Picasso Art Spain
works at age 13.
Wolfgang Wrote his first symphony at age 8; eventually wrote over
Music Austria
Amadeus Mozart 600 pieces of music.
United Won his first Optimist International Junior tournament
Tiger Woods Golf
States at age 8.

1. Who is the only musical composer on the list?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

2. Who do you think is studying to be a doctor? How would you know that?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

3. If you were able, do you think you would like to go to college at the age you are now? Why
or why not? What kinds of problems do you think you might face?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________
© Shell Education #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking 101
Directions: Read the article.

Word Wizards
Erik Zyman-Carrasco, 12, had spent hundreds of hours studying
new words. He took a deep breath and spelled z-e-p-h-y-r, which
means a gentle wind. He raised his fists in joy when he spelled
the word correctly. He had won!
Erik is one of 264 champs in regions across the United States.
These kids are invited to compete in the National Spelling
Bee. More than 10 million kids take part in spelling bees every
year. The National Spelling Bee is held in Washington, D.C.
Superspellers in grades eight and lower participate. The finalists
face off in front of 1,000 people and a large TV audience. The top
prize is $12,000. One year, an 8-year-old competed!
Spelling champs study up to 15 hours each week. They
memorize some hard words. But most kids also learn language
tricks and clues that help them figure out how to spell unfamiliar
words.
For many spellers, winning isn’t everything. Jonathan Cohen
didn’t do well enough in Rhode Island’s bee to win a trip to the
nationals. But he plans to try again next year. “I really like how
there are so many different ways to spell a word,” he said. “That
challenge makes it fun.”

102 #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking © Shell Education


Name ____________________________________________________

Word Wizards (cont.)

Directions: Answer these questions. You may look at the article.

1. How many regional champions are invited to compete at the National Spelling Bee?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

2. How many kids participate in spelling bees every year?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

3. What grades are represented at the National Spelling Bee?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

4. What word did Erik spell correctly to win his regional bee?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

5. How do participants study for a spelling bee?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

6. Do you think you could become a better speller by studying this way? Why or why not?

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

7. Do you think you might want to try to get to the National Spelling Bee? Explain your answer.

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

© Shell Education #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking 103


Name ____________________________________________________

Word Wizards (cont.)

Directions: This chart shows the percentage of the 286 students who came from the fourth, fifth,
sixth, seventh, and eighth grades who made it to the 2007 National Spelling Bee. Look at the chart.
Answer the questions.

Who Makes It to the National Spelling Bee?


50

40

30

20

10

0
Fourth Graders Fifth Graders Sixth Graders Seventh Graders Eighth Graders

Data from the 2007 National Spelling Bee


1. Which grade sent the most kids to the National Spelling Bee in 2007? Do you think that’s
true most years? Why or why not?
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
2. If ninth graders could enter, how do you think they would do? Explain your answer.
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
3. Do you think it’s fair to have eighth graders compete against fourth graders? Why or why not?
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________

104 #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking © Shell Education


Appendix A

References Cited
Grigg, W. S., M. C. Daane, Y. Jin, and J. R. Campbell. 2003. National assessment of
educational progress. The nation’s report card: Reading 2002. Washington, DC: U.S.
Department of Education.
Gulek, C. 2003. Preparing for high-stakes testing. Theory into Practice 42 (1): 42–50.
Ivey, G., and K. Broaddus. 2000. Tailoring the fit: Reading instruction and middle school
readers. The Reading Teacher 54 (1): 68–78.
Kletzien, S. B. 1998. Information text or narrative text? Children’s preferences revisited.
Paper presented at the National Reading Conference, Austin, TX.
Miller, D. 2002. Reading with meaning: Teaching comprehension in the primary grades.
Portland, ME: Stenhouse.
Moss, B. and J. Hendershot. 2002. Exploring sixth graders’ selection of nonfiction trade
books. The Reading Teacher 56 (1): 6–18.
Pardo, L. S. 2002. Book club for the twenty-first century. Illinois Reading Council Journal 30
(4): 14–23.
RAND Reading Study Group. 2002. Reading for understanding: Toward a research and
development program in reading comprehension. Santa Monica, CA: Office of Education
Research and Improvement.
U.S. Congress. House. No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. Pub. L. No. 107–110, 115 Stat. 1425
(2002).

© Shell Education #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking 105


Appendix B

Student Achievement Graph


# of Number of Questions Correctly Answered
Passage Title
Questions 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

106 #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking © Shell Education


Appendix C

Answer Key
Many of the answers will show an example of how the students might respond. For many of the
questions there may be more than one correct answer.

Page 19 Page 22 (cont.) Page 28


1. It is removing its characters 6. Answers will vary, but may 1. the International Space Station
and logo from foods that are include that coral reefs are part 2. two
unhealthy. Company officials of the beauty of the ocean and
3. Its mission was to build the first
did this to help win the fight provide shelter for fish.
major addition since late 2002.
against childhood obesity.
Page 23 4. six
2. trans fat 1. A coral polyp is a tiny, worm- 5. They took three space walks and
3. Kids’ meals will now include shaped animal. added solar panels to the ISS.
low-fat milk, carrots, and other 2. The polyps secrete calcium 6. NASA plans to retire the
healthful choices. carbonate, which hardens into shuttles in 2010. New
4. Health officials and nutritionists a lime cup around the polyp’s spacecrafts are in the works.
praised Disney’s decision, but body. Over many years, millions
some said Disney should pull 7. Answers will vary.
of polyps form a coral colony.
junk-food ads from its TV Page 29
3. Answers will vary.
networks, too. 1. Because it is so big.
5. Answers will vary. Page 25
2. Answers will vary.
1. University
6. Answers will vary. 3. Answers will vary (only three
2. The program teaches kids about
Page 20 are necessary).
vegetables and nutrition.
1. Kids Meal B Page 31
3. Answers include: plant seeds,
2. The chicken nuggets in Kids watch them grow, eat their own 1. Asthma is a disorder that makes
Meal B have no trans fat. It has vegetables, and try new produce breathing difficult.
apple sauce instead of french (only three answers needed). 2. About one out of 12 American
fries as a side, and low-fat milk 4. Barbara and Bob Jones kids has asthma.
instead of soda as a beverage.
Meal B is lower in fat, calories, 5. The Jones’ own a farm and 3. Germs, fall allergies, and school
and trans fats. probably care that a lot of stress can make a child’s asthma
today’s kids don’t eat vegetables. worse.
3. Answers will vary. They also probably want kids to 4. An asthma attack makes it hard
Page 22 eat more foods that are good for for air to get to the lungs.
1. Coral reefs are being hurt by them.
5. Schools can make sure their
pollution, overfishing, and other 6. They send blue potatoes buildings are free of dust, mold,
problems. (instead of white, yellow or and other things that can bring
2. That means that researchers red) and carrots that are on an asthma attack.
made others aware of how purple instead of orange. They
6. inhalers of medicine
serious the problem is. want to get kids’ attention
and encourage them to try 7. Leaves are likely to have
3. Scientists think that if nothing is particles and allergens that
something new.
done, more than half the world’s may trigger an asthma attack;
coral could die within the next 7. Answers will vary.
answers will vary.
25 years. Page 26
Page 32
4. When corals die, their skeletons 1. seven
are left behind. New corals build 1. Atlanta, Georgia
2. artichokes, broccoli and
on top. cauliflower 2. Pennsylvania
5. Warmer water temperatures 3. Answers will vary; should be a
have caused coral bleaching. top 10 list.
The corals lose their color and
become sickly. Some die.

© Shell Education #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking 107


Appendix C

Answer Key (cont.)

Page 32 (cont.) Page 37 (cont.) Page 43 (cont.)


3. They use data on how many 7. It should reduce hunger and 3. California and Pennsylvania
people in that city have asthma, poverty in Africa. 4. They are building larger areas
air quality information, for the elephants.
Page 38
medication usage, and the
1. Central African Republic and 5. They may have fewer animals in
number of asthma specialists
Congo bigger spaces.
who practice there; answers will
vary. 2. 58 percent 6. sloth bears, fishing cats, and
3. It should help them grow their pandas
Page 34 own food to eat and to sell, to 7. Answers will vary, but students
1. 3.5 million reduce hunger and poverty. should see the benefits to
2. Many young athletes train by having animals in bigger spaces
Page 40
doing the same movements closer to their natural habitats.
1. It teaches students how to do
over and over, putting strain on
magic tricks. Page 44
muscles and joints.
2. It is not a real college, because 1. fish
3. Players used to be allowed to
it doesn’t teach traditional 2. 29,573
pitch six innings per game.
academics; answers will vary.
Under the new rules, pitchers 3. The numbers will
ten and younger will stop after 3. David Gore opened the school probably decrease because
75 pitches. to help poor children who conservationists want to reduce
needed some magic in their the numbers of animals at zoos
4. They made those changes to lives. and give them more space.
reduce overuse injuries.
4. The kids are poor, live in shacks,
5. The muscles and joints in his and don’t always have enough to Page 46
arm and shoulder may become eat. 1. winds, waves, and the sun’s rays
strained from overuse.
5. Gore says magic “gives children 2. solar power
6. Answers will vary; may include the courage to dream,” and 3. Our oil supply is limited.
football, soccer, basketball, offers kids new ways of thinking
swimming, and cheerleading 4. sugarcane
and solving problems.
(because of the stunts). 5. tents and backpacks
6. Performing magic tricks in front
7. Answers will vary. of people has probably helped 6. We will not run out of them.
Phumile gain confidence and get 7. Answers will vary.
Page 35
over his shyness. He probably
1. Answers will vary. Page 47
means that he feels that he
2. trampoline jumping and softball can do anything with magic. 1. solar, wind, and waves (or
3. Answers will vary. Answers will vary. water)
2. All three are being used.
Page 37 Page 41
3. Answers will vary.
1. Bill and Melinda Gates 1. 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
2. $150 million 2. one hour Page 49
3. Alliance for a Green Revolution 3. The Art of Illusion. The class 1. the 128th Westminster Kennel
will teach students how to make Club Dog Show
4. They are developing hardier
objects appear and vanish. 2. ages ten to 18
plants that grow well in Africa.
4. Answers will vary. 3. Junior handlers need to have
5. Africa’s farmers are mainly
women and the women Page 43 had at least eight first-place
scientists understand their 1. City zoos don’t have the space wins at dog shows during the
hardships. to meet the needs of elephants. year.
6. The children will be spending 2. In the wild, elephants can travel 4. In the main contest, judges look
less time in the fields and more up to 30 miles a day and live in for the top dogs. But juniors are
time in school, so they can get a large groups. Most zoos have judged on their dog-handling
better education. only a few elephants, living in a skills.
small space.
108 #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking © Shell Education
Appendix C

Answer Key (cont.)

Page 49 (cont.) Page 55 (cont.) Page 61 (cont.)


5. A junior handler positions the 4. Answers will vary. 5. The American snowboarders
dog so the judge can examine 5. Answers will vary. are Hannah Teter, Seth Wescott,
it, then runs with the dog so and Shaun White.
6. The author seems in favor of
the judge can see it move. They 6. Answers will vary.
saving the frogs by using the
work with their dogs and get
word hope in the last paragraph; 7. When you make mistakes, you
them to stay calm.
answers will vary. learn about your weaknesses
6. No, Leigh enters dog shows to and can figure out how to
have fun, meet people, and work Page 56 improve; answers will vary.
with his dog. 1. The diagram shows the dangers
to the frogs and toads. Page 62
7. Answers will vary.
2. Box D shows oil spilling from 1. Answers will vary; may include
Page 50 a boat. This is a danger to the boot or shoe.
1. The list shows the Best in Show frogs because it pollutes the 2. Turin is in the mountains,
winners of the Westminster water where they live. which is good for winter sports
Kennel Club Dog Show from like snowboarding and skiing.
3. Answers will vary; may include
1997–2007.
sea life and birds. 3. Rome
2. It means the top dog chosen
Page 58 4. Answers will vary; may include
from all of the winners in all of
1. Shay made $200. pizza, spaghetti, pasta, noodles,
the categories.
meatballs.
3. English Springer Spaniel 2. One ingredient she uses is
peanut butter. Page 64
4. Answers will vary.
3. Answers will vary. 1. Martin Luther King, Jr. was
Page 52 born in January.
4. Answers will vary.
1. The pizza was green! 2. The laws are called segregation
5. Answers will vary.
2. pesto laws.
6. Answers will vary; may include
3. It brings locally grown fruits advertising, keeping ingredients 3. African Americans boycotted
and vegetables to the school in stock, taking inventory, the city’s buses.
cafeteria. baking, paying bills. 4. It lead to a series of events that
4. At least 400 school districts in 7. Answers will vary. resulted in the U.S. Supreme
23 states. Court banning separate seating.
5. It’s good for kids’ health to eat Page 59 5. Answers will vary, but may
more fresh produce. 1. Answers may include any of the include his contributions to
following: chocolate, chocolate civil rights and ability to lead
6. Local farmers are able to sell
chips, sugar, artificial flavors, protests without violence.
more produce to schools.
artificial colors.
7. Answers will vary. 6. Answers will vary.
2. Answers will vary, including
7. Answers will vary, but may
Page 53 that natural things are real,
include that his fight for
1. Washington and California and artificial things are usually
equality angered some people.
made with chemicals. Natural
2. Answers will vary.
ingredients are healthier. Page 65
3. Answers will vary, but might
3. Answers will vary. 1. One map shows the two states,
include salad bars and more
Page 61 the other shows where the
variety.
states are located in the country.
1. The Olympics were in Turin,
Page 55 2. Two states are shaded because
Italy.
1. They are cold blooded and have both are mentioned in the story
a backbone. 2. Japan has two medals in figure about Dr. King’s life.
skating.
2. Extinct means to die out 3. Answers will vary.
completely. 3. Sasha Cohen won the silver
medal.
3. frogs and toads leap
4. Answers will vary.

© Shell Education #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking 109


Appendix C

Answer Key (cont.)

Page 67 Page 70 (cont.) Page 76 (cont.)


1. One out of every six children in 7. Answers will vary. 2. Kids spend too much time
the United States is poor. watching TV and not enough
Page 71
2. Families are poor because time doing physical activity, like
1. The dog is helping the boy who sports.
parents don’t have enough is in a wheelchair.
work, or their work doesn’t pay 3. Americans are eating out more
enough. 2. Service dogs get training to help than ever before, and portions
people with special needs. are too big. Also, technology
3. It is more expensive to live in
New York City. Answers will 3. Answers will vary, but may like computers means people
vary as to why, but may include include helping the boy through are sitting more and not getting
that housing costs more. doors, helping him pick up enough exercise. Answers will
things; the boy can feed the dog vary.
4. The Annie E. Casey Foundation and give him companionship. 4. Some fast-food companies are
studies poverty in the United
States. Page 73 offering choices that are lower
1. They were celebrating the in fat.
5. Answers will vary.
opening of the National 5. Lunches in public schools are
6. The organizations build houses
Museum of the American including better foods. This
and give away groceries.
Indian. year, the government bought
7. Answers will vary, but may more than 973 million pounds
2. nearly 25 years ago
include education programs and of fruits and vegetables for
affordable child care so more 3. Daniel K. Inouye is a senator schools.
family members can work. from Hawaii and is also an
American Indian who helped 6. Answers will vary.
Page 68 make the museum a reality. Page 77
1. Yes 4. An example of an old object 1. Experts think you should be
2. $430 would be an arrowhead; a eating the most foods from
3. Answers will vary; may include new object would be beaded the food groups that have the
health care, emergencies, sneakers. widest stripes.
entertainment, school supplies, 5. They wanted every tribe to 2. Experts think it’s unhealthy to
and gasoline. have a say in how the museum eat too many foods with oils.
Page 70 reflected their culture; answers 3. The child running up the steps
1. Michael Foote was a hospital will vary. is a reminder to exercise often.
patient. 6. Visitors to the museum come Page 79
2. ponies, dogs, and monkeys; from every walk of life; people
1. From 1990 to 2003, Arizona’s
answers will vary; only three are of all races want to learn about
population increased 53
needed the American Indian. Answers
percent.
will vary.
3. Ponies bring a smile to sick 2. People like the desert’s clean air,
children; dogs guide blind Page 74 warm weather, and open spaces.
people; monkeys can carry 1. ground level (main theater) and 3. When people use too much
things for people in wheelchairs, fourth level (Lelawi Theater) groundwater, desert plants
and dolphins help reward 2. on the third level (Changing slowly die.
people. Exhibition Gallery) 4. When plants die, animals
4. Randy Kersh has Down 3. Answers will vary. cannot use them for food and
syndrome, which affects the way
shelter.
his brain works. It takes him a Page 76
long time to do things. 1. There are twice as many adults 5. Pima County voters agreed
who are overweight as there to spend $174 million to buy
5. He gets to swim with the
were 20 years ago. up and conserve open land.
dolphins.
Residents also follow rules for
6. The animals enjoy the watering gardens.
friendship of the people.
6. Answers will vary.

110 #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking © Shell Education


Appendix C

Answer Key (cont.)

Page 79 (cont.) Page 85 (cont.) Page 91


7. New Mexico, California, 5. Toil means to work. 1. Roy Ritzmann is a biologist
Nevada; answers will vary. 6. Some groups in the United at Case Western Reserve
States are working to get kids University. He is helping other
Page 80
back to the classroom. One way scientists at the school to build
1. It supports the article by robots.
is to raise the amount of money
showing that Arizona is the
their parents are paid. 2. Bugs have skills that help them
fastest-growing state in the
7. Answers will vary. survive and make them good at
country.
adapting to different habitats.
2. Texas Page 86 3. They may be better able to
3. Georgia and Texas 1. West and Central Africa travel easily over uneven
4. State governments probably like 2. More boys work, probably ground, and climb, crawl, or
growing populations because because they are physically swim into dangerous places to
it means more business and stronger. Girls are probably find people who are trapped.
higher revenues. Answers will expected to take care of the 4. They might be sent to search
vary. home. for underwater mines and to
Page 82 3. Answers will vary. explore Mars.
1. Three Iberian lynx cubs were Page 88 5. Robots are sent in to do jobs
born. 1. The article states that life is that are too dangerous and
2. The cubs will one day be a “little less sweet” because difficult for humans.
released into the wild. students are not allowed to have 6. rover
3. Loss of habitat and food have candy or sweets at school. 7. Answers will vary.
made the Iberian lynx the 2. They are changing the rules to
Page 92
world’s most endangered cat. help kids become healthier.
1. Multiple legs, antenna; answers
4. black-footed ferrets 3. 35 percent of the state’s will vary.
5. Spain and Portugal elementary school students
2. Answers will vary.
weigh too much.
6. the saber-toothed tiger 3. Answers will vary.
4. Susan Combs leads the Texas
7. The program may work because
Department of Agriculture. Page 94
scientists are working hard on
the problem and are optimistic; 5. School officials held a recipe 1. The jaguar’s original habitat was
answers will vary. contest for students across the North and South America.
state. 2. The jaguar called the
Page 83 6. Answers will vary. southwestern United States
1. Spain home.
7. Answers will vary.
2. It’s probably more difficult to 3. The jaguar has lost more than
keep track of so few animals. Page 89 half of its habitat in the last 100
3. Answers may include local 1. Jamie’s Honey-Deluxe Granola years.
fund-raising and writing letters. Bars. It won in the snack
4. A preserve is a protected area.
category.
Page 85 5. In the past, scientists created
2. Answers may include a large
1. Minnesota, North Dakota, and separate small preserves for
bowl, a big spoon, an 8-inch
Texas different populations of jaguars.
square pan, nonstick cooking
2. He and his family work on Now they recognize that jaguars
spray, a spatula, an oven, and a
a farm, picking weeds and need wide-open spaces, so they
knife.
clearing rocks. are creating a large connected
3. Nutrition information helps preserve.
3. 500,000 kids in the United people keep track of what’s
States work on farms. 6. The 2,000-mile strip of land
in their food and helps them
would stretch from Mexico to
4. They cannot attend school control their weight.
Argentina.
regularly. They have to leave
school for long stretches.
© Shell Education #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking 111
Appendix C

Answer Key (cont.)

Page 94 (cont.) Page 98 Page 103 (cont.)


7. They want to protect the jaguars 1. Dakota 6. Answers will vary.
and encourage them to return 2. North Carolina 7. Answers will vary.
to their original homes, like the
3. Language is an important part
United States. Page 104
of a culture to be passed down
1. Eighth grade. This is true
Page 95 from generation to generation.
most years, because eighth
1. Answers may include: jaguars Page 100 graders have more knowledge
are bigger than leopards,
1. Matt composes and records and experience than younger
they eat different prey, live in
music and plays in a students.
different parts of the world,
professional jazz band. 2. Ninth graders would probably
have different markings on
their coats, and the numbers 2. Matt taught himself to read do the best because they are
in existence are different (only music when he was six years older and have even more
three answers are needed). old. knowledge and experience.
2. Answers may include: they are 3. He tells parents that kids need 3. Answers will vary.
both excellent swimmers, good their parents to support them
climbers, and fast runners, and and kids need to keep working
have rosettes on their coats at developing skills. He also
(only three are needed). suggests that kids should try
many activities, and not just the
3. Answers will vary.
ones they’re good at.
Page 97 4. The story about Walt Disney
1. They are teaching the Cherokee is an example of how even
language at Lost City School. people whose talent may not be
2. There are about 170 American recognized at an early age can
Indian languages in the United go on to do great things later.
States. 5. Answers will vary.
3. They are in danger of 6. Answers will vary.
disappearing because almost all
the people who can speak and Page 101
understand them are getting 1. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
older. 2. Akrit Jaswal is likely to be a
4. People who live among the doctor, because he performed
Cherokee may want their an operation at age 17. Also,
children to know the language he is listed under the subject
and the culture better; answers category of medicine.
will vary. 3. Answers will vary.
5. One class project is a video to Page 103
teach Cherokee words for colors 1. 264
to younger students.
2. more than 10 million
6. They probably read stories
about Cherokee history, eat 3. grades eight and lower
Cherokee food, and have participate
Cherokee leaders come in to 4. zephyr
speak; answers will vary. 5. Participants study up to
7. Answers may include: wa-ga 15 hours each week. They
(cow); ka-wo-nu (duck); ga-du- memorize hard words and learn
gi (working together to help the language tricks and clues that
community). help them figure out how to
spell unfamiliar words.

112 #50243—Comprehension and Critical Thinking © Shell Education