Reading Comprehension


  Reading Comprehension

Unit 1


Can you speak Japanese? Can you speak Russian? Throughout the world there are thousands of different languages. Wouldn't life be a lot easier if there were just one language which we all spoke?

For many years people have been trying to create a simple universal language that would serve all over the world as a common means of communication. In the last three hundred years, more than seven hundred such languages have been suggested. The most successful and the most popular of these is a language called Esperanto.

It was invented by Ludwig Zamenhof, who lived in Poland. When he was growing up he saw that people from different backgrounds who lived in Poland had lots of difficulties communicating with each other. This often led to disagreements. Ludwig felt that a common language would help them understand each other better and agree with each other. So he began working on a common international language. He started his work while he was still at school?

In 1887, he published some information about his new language. He did not use his real name. He used the name Dr Esperanto (which means `one who hopes'). Soon people from all over the world became interested in his language, called 'Esperanto'.

Today, Esperanto is spoken by about eight million people throughout the world. Many governments and international organisations recognise it in many ways. Esperanto is often used on radio broadcasts from official government stations.

A. Find these words and phrases in the text:

universal -  suggested – disagreement - interested in -  recognize

Now choose the right meaning

1. give attention to

2. know

3. argument / difference of opinion

4. proposed

5. global

B. Vocabulary Practice:

Complete these sentences, using the words in the box:

universal suggested disagreement  interested in recognize organization

1. Anyone ––––––––  joining the group should contact the person in charge.

2. His father is the president of an international ––––––––. 

3. They did not know where to have lunch, so I ––––––––  a French Restaurant.

4. Charlie Chaplin is a comic actor of –––––––– appeal.

5. The comparison shows ––––––––  between theory and practice.

6. They ––––––––  that the situation is urgent.

C. Comprehension Questions

1. What have people been trying to create for many years?

2. Who invented Esperanto?

3. Why did Ludwig Zamenhof feel a common language was necessary?

4. What does 'Esperanto' mean?

5. How many people speak Esperanto today?

6. What does the word 'universal' mean?

7. Why do you think people all over the world speak different languages?

8. Do you think Esperanto is a good idea? Explain your reasons.


Unit 2

Roald Dahl

Have you ever read any Roald Dahl stories? Which story is your favourite?

Roald Dahl was one of the most successful writers of children's books who ever lived. He sold millions of books all over the world. He is so famous there is even a Roald Dahl Museum you can visit. Many of his books have been made into films and videos.

Roald Dahl was born in 1916 in Wales. His father was rich but he died when Roald was very young. Roald's mother brought him up. He hated school and left as soon as he could. Roald went to Africa to seek his fortune, and he spent two years working for an oil company.

In 1939 Roald joined the Air Force as a pilot, but he had a bad crash in the desert. His injuries made him limp for the rest of his life. After this Roald went to America where he wrote a story about his adventures as a pilot. It was so good it was published in a magazine.

Roald met and married an American film star called Patricia Neal. They bought a house in England and had five children.

Between 1960 and 1965 three terrible things happened. Theo, one of his children, was hit by a taxi in New York and was badly hurt. Luckily he recovered. However, Olivia, one of Roald's daughters, died of a rare illness. Soon after this, his wife also had a serious illness. It took her two years to get completely better.

Gradually Roald became more and more successful. He always did his writing in an old shed at the back of his house. He always sat in the same old armchair with a wooden board on his lap. 'One of the nice things about being a writer,' he once said, 'is that all you need is what you've got in your head and a pencil and a bit of paper.'

In 1983 Roald won a big prize for his book The BFG (The Big Friendly Giant). The drawings were done by the famous illustrator, Quentin Blake. During his life Roald wrote many famous books such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, Fantastic Mr Fox, The Twits and James and the Giant Peach. 

 After his death in 1990, Roald left money to help children and adults with serious illnesses and with problems with reading and writing.

A. Find these words in the text:

fortune – pilot – limp – published – recovered – serious – shed

Now choose the right meaning

1. returned to a normal state of health

2. chance or luck

3. walk with difficulty because of an injured leg or foot

4. dangerous / life-threatening

5. produced and distributed printed material

6. a person who is trained to fly an aircraft

7. small simple building used for storage or shelter

B. Vocabulary Practice

Complete these sentences, using the words in the box:

Fortune    limp        published      recovered

Serious   shed        pilot

1. Destruction of the environment is one of the most  –––––––– problems we face.

2. I had the good––––––––of working with cooperative colleagues.

3. She has a slight ––––––––  which was caused by a riding accident.

4. The –––––––– was able to land the plane safely though one of the engines had stopped.

5. He ––––––––  two books last year.

6. They shut the dog in the –––––– before they went to sleep.

7. My father has fully –––––––– after the operation.  

C. Comprehension Questions

1. Why is Roald Dahl famous?

2. Is it true that Roald Dahl loved school?

3. What sort of job did Roald Dahl do in Africa?

4. Why did Roald Dahl always limp?

5. Name three terrible things that happened during 1960 and 1965.

6. Roald Dahl always did his writing in the same place. Where was this?

7. Write the names of three famous stories by Roald Dahl.

8. Why do you think Roald Dahl started writing for children?

9. How can you find the names of some other books Roald Dahl wrote?

10. If you wanted to find out more about Roald Dahl, where would you look?


Unit 3

Diana, the people's princess

Have you ever heard of Diana, the people's princess? What do you know about her?

Early life

Diana Spencer was born in 1961. She lived in a big country house. Her family was very rich and knew Queen Elizabeth and other members of the British royal family. Diana always loved children. When she left school, she got a job in a kindergarten. She helped to look after young children.

Prince Charles

One day Diana met Prince Charles, the Queen's eldest son. They fell in love and when she was 19 years old, the prince asked Diana to marry him. The wedding took place in London in 1981. People came from all over the world.

London was crowded. Millions of people watched the wedding on television. Some people said Diana was like a princess from a fairytale. As Charles was called the Prince of Wales, Diana became the Princess of Wales.

Having a family

In 1982 Diana had a baby son. She called him William. Two years later, in 1984, she had a second son called Harry. One day her eldest son, William, will become king.

Helping people

Diana loved meeting and being with people. She was always friendly and kind to everyone. Wherever she went crowds of people gathered to see her. People said that Diana was just like an ordinary person.

Diana was very good at raising money for people in need. She helped all sorts of people –– the old, the blind and the sick. She loved helping children. Diana worked very hard and travelled thousands of miles to help people. She visited hospitals in many different countries. She said that she wanted to be 'a princess for the world.'

Her death

In Paris, on 31 August 1997, the car Diana was travelling in crashed. Diana was killed in the accident. She was only 36 years old. When Diana died, even people who had never met her were sad. The whole world was shocked at her death. Thousands of people put flowers outside her home. She was such a popular and well-loved person that more than a million people went to her funeral. Diana is buried on a small island at her home in England where she lived as a child.

A. Find these words and phrases in the text:

took place  – fairy tale – crowds – 

ordinary – crashed – popular – island

Now choose the right meaning:

1. children story

2. usual

3. large number of people

4. happened

5. damaged / smashed in pieces

6. land surrounded by water

7. liked by many people

B. Vocabulary Practice:

Complete these sentences, using the words in the box:

took place    fairy tale              crowds    crashed 

popular       raising money       in need

1. You'd better tell the truth because we are not children listening to a –––––––– . 

2. A big ––––––––  of people was in front of the cinema waiting to meet the actors.

3. Everyone at school helped in –––––––– for charity.

4. We are all ––––––––  of a holiday after the hard work.

5. The film festival –––––––– last November.

6. After the car –––––––– , the injured people were taken to the hospital.

7. Football is a very –––––––– game.

C. Comprehension Questions

1. What was Princess Diana's name before she became a princess?

2. Why do you think she got a job in a kindergarten?

3. When did Diana and Prince Charles get married?

4. Why do you think people said Diana was like a princess from a fairytale?

5. Which of the Princess' two sons will become king, one day?

6. Why do you think ordinary people loved Princess Diana so much?

7. Name some of the sorts of people Diana helped.

8. What do you think it means when it says Diana wanted to be 'a princess for the world'?

9. a. How old was Diana when she died?

    b. How was she killed?

10. a. How many sections is the text divided into?

      b. What is the title of each section?


Unit 4

A Visit to Morocco

Have you ever visited a different country? How did people dress? What language did they speak? What sort of things did they eat?

My name is Mariam. I come from Iran. A little while ago, my brother Hassan and I went to stay with friends, in Morocco in North Africa, near the Mediterra¬nean Sea. We stayed in the town of Fez with the Ben Moussa family. Mr Ben Moussa's first name is Mohammed, Mrs Ben Moussa is called Fatima, and their children are a boy called Samir and a girl called Amina. Most people in Morocco are Muslim, so these are Muslim names.

Fez is famous for its crafts. One of our favourite places was the market. Here we saw people making silver jewellery, blue painted pottery and furniture. There were other people dying wool and mixing kohl so that ladies could paint dark lines round the edges of their eyes.

Hassan and I both liked the food market best. There were stalls selling honey cakes and almonds, a kind of nut. Other stalls sold lamb kebabs and you could buy mint tea to drink. We saw piles of spices in the market and also delicious dried dates and figs. It was very different from our home town.

Mrs Ben Moussa is a good cook. Here is an example of what we had to eat:

For breakfast we usually had bread, butter and jam and hot milky coffee or tea. You can also buy beignets from a baker or market stall. They are made from flour, water and sugar. This is mixed together, made into balls and fried in very hot oil. Then the heignets are dipped in sugar.

Lunchtime in Morocco is a two-hour break. After lunch, people have a rest before going back to work.

For lunch we normally had a stew of meat and vegetables, such as turnips and carrots. It was always cooked in a tagine. This is a dish with a big pointed lid which looks like a hat.

People eat their evening meal late in Morocco. So when children come home from school, they usually have some milky coffee and some bread and jam to keep them going.

Dinner is served at nine o'clock in the evening. It begins with soup, followed by a meat stew. There is also a big round loaf of traditional bread to eat. Everybody drinks mint tea afterwards. It is delicious and helps you to digest your food.

On special occasions, people cook pcistilla. It looks like a cake made of layers of thin, flaky pastry. But between each layer there is minced meat, sugar, almonds and spices. It tastes very good.

A. Find these words in the text:

crafts – pottery – dying – stalls – delicious –stew – traditional – occasions - pastry

Now choose the right meaning

1. small shops or a stands

2. making objects out of clay

3. conventional

4. a dish of meat and vegetables

5. tasty 

6. skilled practices

7. changing the colour of something by soaking it in a special liquid

8. food made from flour

9. social events 

B. Vocabulary Practice:

Complete these sentences, using the words in the box:

Pottery    dying            stalls            delicious 

Stew       traditional    occasions      pastry

1. We bought apples at the fruit  ––––––––.

2. She made the pots and jugs during the ––––––classes at the art centre.

3. She is always changing the colour of her hair by –––––––– it blonde.

4. This ice cream is ––––––––You ought to try it.

5. It's –––––––– to eat turkey on Thanksgiving Day.

6. This cook is specialized in making cakes, cookies and ––––––––.

7. Their wedding was a grand  ––––––––. 

8. I am preparing a beef –––––––– for lunch.


C. Comprehension Questions

1. a. Who went to Morocco? 

    b. What town did they go to?

2. List some of the things Hassan and Mariam saw being made in the market.

3. Describe what beignets are and how they are made.

4. Explain what a tagine is.

5. Describe a typical Moroccan evening meal.

6. What does pastilla consist of?

7. a. What is the recipe for? 

    b. It is written in two sections. What are these?

  c. Why do you think it is important to have the 'What you need' section first?

8. Describe some of the ways in which the daily meals in Morocco are different from those you have.


Unit 5

Life in space

We have sent people to the Moon in spaceships. In the future people could be living in space. What do you think space cities will be like?


 The picture shows where people would live. It doesn't look very different from modern small towns on Earth, and this is deliberate. Science-fiction films show people living in tall glass towers or living underground, but people won't want these. Throughout history, people have tried to put up buildings like the ones they know; space travellers will do the same.

The need for gravity

Gravity makes normal life possible. Nobody would want to live for a long time in a space city where everything — people and equipment — floated weightlessly around. With gravity, life in space can he like life on Earth. We can have farms and factories and houses and meeting places. A space city with gravity would be a better place to live than the Moon or the planets where there is very little gravity.

Using sunlight

The Moon is not a good place to live on. All places on the moon have 14 days of sunlight followed by 14 days of night, which makes farming impossible. The energy from the sun cannot be used very well either. In a space city, which would always have sunlight, the length of each day could be controlled. A gigantic mirror about two kilometres in diameter would float above the city. It would reflect sunlight to smaller mirrors that would direct it into the city. Shutters could be used to control when sunlight was let in. There would be sunlight all day, so crops would grow faster than on Earth. The shutters would be closed to create night-time.

Planning for a population of 10,000

The population of the city could be fixed at about 10,000 people. Farmers would be able to plan accurately how much food would be needed for this number of people. About 44 square metres of vegetable plants would be needed for each person, and just over five square metres of grassland.

Plans for a space city

The picture shows where the people could live. The city is like a huge wheel, a tube more than 150 metres in diameter, and bent into a ring which measures two kilometres across. The wheel spins gently every minute and so the people in space feel the pull of gravity just like we do on Earth.

A. Find these words in the text:

deliberate – floated – gigantic – crops – spins

Now choose the right meaning

1. enormous

2. plants cultivated on a large scale

3. moved slowly in air or water

4. intentional

5. turns round

B. Vocabulary Practice

Complete these sentences, using the words in the box:

deliberate             floated    crop 

Science fiction      factories

1. Sugar cane is an important –––––––– in Upper Egypt.

2. I don't like ––––––––  novels much because they are all based on imagined future discoveries.

3. We watched the group of swans that –––––––– by.

4. The closure of ––––––––  caused thousands of workers to lose their jobs. 

5. The –––––––– cruelty of his words hurt her feelings.

C. Comprehension Questions

Say if each sentence is true or false.

1. The picture shows how a city on Earth will look.

2. The city is in the shape of a huge square.

3. It measures two kilometres across.

4. The wheel spins once a minute.

5. This spinning of the wheel produces a feeling of weightlessness.

6. The Moon is a good place to live on.

7. Gravity makes normal life in space possible.

8. In the city it will be impossible to control the length of each day.

9. Farming will be possible in the city.

10. The population of the city will be around 100,000 people.


Unit 6

William Shakespeare

Have you ever heard of William Shakespeare? What do you know about him?

William Shakespeare is the most famous writer in the world. He wrote many plays. William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, in England, in 1564, over four hundred years ago. He came from a wealthy family but when he was fifteen, William's father lost all his money. William was not able to stay on at school so he left and got a job. At eighteen he met and fell in love with Anne Hathaway. They got married and soon started a family of their own.

At that time, theatres began to open in London. William decided to move to London and soon found work as an actor. Actors often helped to write the plays as well as act them. That was how William discovered that he was good at writing.

At that time, England was a powerful country with a powerful navy. Explorers sailed round the world and brought back stories of adventures and new discoveries. This gave William lots of ideas for his plays. Queen Elizabeth loved music, poetry and plays. In fact, she liked William's plays so much that she asked him to write one specially for her.

In those days the stage was in the middle and the audience stood all round it. If people didn't like the play, they threw things like rotten tomatoes at the actors! Luckily the crowds loved William's plays. His plays were very exciting. They made people think about the right and wrong ways to behave. He wrote about important things like good and evil, love and hate.


William always worked very hard. He and his friends built their own theatre, called 'The Globe' in London. He soon became rich and famous.

William Shakespeare wrote poems as well as plays. Most of his poems were about love. Some of them were very long. Altogether he wrote 154 poems.

When he was fifty, William decided it was time to leave London. He bought a big house in Stratford for his family and went to live there. He died in 1612 when he was fifty-two years old.

William Shakespeare left money to help the poor and to help his actor friends. A statue was put up in memory of him. You can still see his statue today and visit the place where he was born.

A. Find these words in the text:

plays – wealthy – powerful – navy – explorers – discoveries – audience – rotten – put up

Now choose the right meaning

1. unpleasant or of very poor quality

2. built

3. people who travel to unknown regions

4. group of people gathered to see or hear (performance, concert, etc.)

5. rich

6. dramatic works

7. influential

8. collection of battle ships

9. findings

B. Vocabulary Practice:

Complete these sentences, using the words in the box:

plays           wealthy     powerful       navy         sailed                   discoveries     audience         rotten

1. The fruit is starting to go –––––––– because of the hot weather.

2. She managed to marry a ––––––––  man. 

3. Hamlet is one of Shakespeare's famous  –––––––.

4. The expansion of higher education should be a  ––––––– force for change.

5. The –––––––– of the Arabs of the 11th century guided researchers in various fields.

6. The boat –––––––– smoothly across the lake.

7. We heard that the –––––––– is considering buying new warships.

8. After the school play, the –––––––– kept clapping for 10 minutes.

9. The boat ––––––––  smoothly across the lake.

C. Comprehension Questions

1. Where was Shakespeare born? When?

2. Why was he unable to stay on at school?

3. At what age did he get married?

4. How did he discover that he was good at writing?

5. What helped him with ideas for his plays?  

6. What did Queen Elizabeth ask Shakespeare to do?

7. Why did the crowds like Shakespeare’s plays?

8. How many poems did Shakespeare write?

9. How old was Shakespeare when he decided to leave London?

10. How old was he when he died?


Unit 7

Water pollution

Dirty water can be dangerous to drink and can make people ill. It can damage the environment and animals and fish. What do you think causes water pollution?


People often throw rubbish into rivers. This makes the river look horrible and affects the lives of birds and fish.


We all need to get rid of waste materials from our bodies. Sewage is human and animal waste. In many places untreated sewage goes straight into rivers, lakes or seas. Too much sewage kills fish and other water life. it can make the water unsafe for drinking, washing or swimming.

Farmers use chemicals to kill insect pests and weeds. These chemicals are poisonous to animals and humans too. If the chemicals get into the water, they make it unsafe. Farmers also use fertilisers to make their crops grow better. The fertilisers get washed into rivers, streams and lakes. They can cause water plants to grow too quickly. The plants then block out the sunlight. The oxygen in the water is used up too quickly, and the animals that live in the water die.


Oil is an important source of energy but it can also cause pollution. If it is spilt while lorries or ships are transporting it, plants and animals die. For example, birds get covered in oil and they are unable to fly, and their feathers no longer protect them from the cold.

Factory waste

Factories often pump waste liquid into sewers and rivers. This may contain dangerous chemicals, which could harm plants, animals, fish and humans. Some factories filter or clean the waste before it goes into sewers or rivers. This helps to keep the environment cleaner.



Even heat can be a.type of pollution. Power stations, oil refineries and factories often use large amounts of water. Water cools the steam which drives machinery. This process makes the water warmer. The warmer water then returns to the rivers or sea. Warmer water makes water plants grow too quickly and use up all the oxygen in the water.


Acid rain

Smoke and gases from factories and cars mix with water vapour in the air and cause pollution. When the water vapour falls to the ground as rain, the chemicals in the smoke and fumes are mixed in with the rain. This is called acid rain. It can kill trees and plants, fish and animals.

A. Find these words and phrases in the text:

damage – environment – rubbish – 

horrible – sewage  –  streams  ¬– block out –  used up –   fumes

Now choose the right meaning

1. smoke and gases

2. prevent light

3. use all that none is left

4. destroy

5. garbage

6. waste substances

7. terrible

8. surroundings

9. small narrow rivers

B. Vocabulary Practice:

Complete these sentences, using the words in the box:

damage     environment    pests     rubbish 

horrible     pumps            use up 

untreated sewage           oil refinery

1. Making soup is a good way to ––––––––––  left-over vegetable. 

2. The earthquake caused a lot of ––––––––  to buildings.

3. After the ––––––––  is collected, it is separated and sorted into plastics, glass and paper. 

4. It is not allowed to dump –––––––– at sea before being chemically treated.

5. Crops are always sprayed with pesticides to protect them from  –––––––– 

6. We need to work on projects to protect our –––––––– from pollution.

7. The heart –––––––– blood around the body.

8. The place where oil is made into different products is called ––––––––. 

9. I was repulsed by the  –––––––– smell of the rotten food.

C. Comprehension Questions

1. Why do you think people throw rubbish into rivers and streams?

2. What is 'sewage'?

3. a. In what ways are chemicals and fertilisers good?

     b. In what ways are they bad?

4. Give an example of the way an oil spill might affect birds.

5. Why is it important that factories filter liquid waste before it is pumped into rivers?

6. Explain what happens to water that is used to cool the steam that drives machinery in factories, power stations and oil refineries.

7. a. What is acid rain?

    b. What bad effects does it have on the environment?


Unit 8

Thinking of others

Think of some ways you have helped others today.

There was once a man called Ali who was travelling home with his friends through a hot, dry land. It was the hottest month of the summer. On their way they met a poor stranger, dressed in rags. He was hungry and thirsty and had no money. He asked if he could join them. The travellers felt sorry for him. They welcomed him, gave him a drink and continued their journey through the desert.

It was not long before they lost their way. The sun beat down even harder. The ground became more sandy and dusty. There were no rivers or springs in sight. There were no water wells nearby. Soon their water began to run out. The situation was bad. They decided that the only way to survive was to share the water that was left between them. Each day, each person drank just one small cupful when they stopped for the night.

One evening, when it was Ali's turn to drink, he noticed the stranger staring at him. He immediately turned to the water-carrier and said to him, `Give my water to my brother, the stranger.' The stranger drank Ali's share of the water, for he was very thirsty. Ali had nothing to drink.

The next day the same thing happened again. The stranger drank the water and All had none. Day after day it happened and each day Ali gave the stranger his water. Each day Ali became weaker and weaker.

One morning, the stranger called Ali to tell him it was time to get up and get on his camel. 'Get up, Ali. We are not far from water now. Soon you will be able to drink as much water as you like,' he said. Ali's friends looked at the stranger curiously. 'How do you know we are not far from water?' they asked. The stranger smiled. He picked Ali up and put him on a camel. `Follow me,' he told Ali's friends. They walked for a few kilometres. Then they stopped in astonishment. The stranger had repaid All's kindness. He had led them to an oasis!

A. Find these words in the text:

rags – in sight – survive – staring at –curiously – astonishment –oasis

Now choose the right meaning

1. a piece of cloth

2. continue to live

3. with great interest

4. place with water and trees in a desert

5. looking for a long time

6. inside the area you can see

7. amazement

B. Vocabulary Practice:

Complete these sentences, using the words in the box:

rags          in sight      well         survive       

staring at  curiously    pick up    astonishment

1. He  tried  to  plug  the holes  in  the pipe with old ––––––––.  

2. Only 10 of the 50 passengers were able to –––––– the accident.

3. She was  ––––––––  him in  –––––––– when she knew that the car was stolen. 

4. "What have you got there?" Mary asked  –––––––– 

5. The rescue boats arrived on time to  –––––––– the survivors.

6. She lowered her bucket into the ––––––––  to fetch some water.

7. I looked for them everywhere, but there was no one –––––––– .

C. Comprehension Questions

1. What is the setting of the story (the place where it happened)?

2. Who do Ali and his friends meet?

3. What problems does the stranger have?

4. Soon after Ali met the stranger, something bad happened. What was it?

5. Why did each person in the group only drink a cupful of water a day?

6. What kind thing did Ali do to the stranger?

7. Why do you think Ali called the stranger his brother'?

8. Why did Ali get weaker and weaker?

9. How did the stranger repay Ali's kindness?

10. What do you think we can learn from the story?


Unit 9

The ‘lost’ treasure

Do you ever dream of becoming rich? What would you do if you had lots of money?

Five hundred years ago explorers discovered Amer¬ica. They told stories about treasure hidden in the mountains and forests of South America. One of the stories was about a city called El Dorado (`the city of gold') which was somewhere in the moun¬tains of Colombia. The story said that the local people painted their king with gold dust once a year. The king then washed off all the gold in a lake. Afterwards his people threw gold and precious stones into the lake. When people in Europe heard this story, many of them began to talk about finding this lake, draining all its water and taking away the gold and jewels that had sunk to the bottom.

Most of the west coast of South America was ruled by the Incas, who built magnificent temples and palaces and filled them with beautiful ornaments made out of gold, silver and sparkling jewels. The Spanish king heard about this. He sent one of his generals, Francisco Pizarro, to South America to conquer the Incas and bring all their treasure back to Europe. Pizarro and his army landed in South America in 1532, and soon captured the Incas' emperor, Atahualpa. Pizarro demanded an enormous amount of gold in exchange for the emperor. One of the rooms in the palace was filled with gold to pay for the emperor's release. But Pizarro broke his word and killed Atahualpa.

When their emperor was killed, many Incas fled into the mountains. They took their treasure with them. One of the places they went to was Machu Picchu. This is sometimes called the 'lost city of the Incas' because it was hidden for centuries in thick forest. It was discovered in 1911, but no treasure was found there.

Some people still believe that there are more cities full of gold hidden in the South American jungle. Many explorers have set out to try to find them. Some have never returned. Perhaps many more will continue to look for 'El Dorado' and the treasure of the Incas.

A. Find these words in the text:

treasure precious draining magnificent

ornaments sparkling captured enormous

release fled

Now choose the right meaning:

1. beautiful and impressive

2. drying

3. things that are of great value

4. decoration objects

5. shining and flashing

6. valuable

7. huge

8. escaped

9. set free

10. caught

B. Vocabulary Practice:

Complete these sentences, using the words in the box:

treasure       precious      drained     magnificent   fled

ornaments  sparkling      conquer    captured       jungle

emperor      enormous     release      set out

1. She looked –––––––– in a long red dress. 

2. The swimming pool is ––––––––  and cleaned every winter.

3. Books are considered the greatest –––––––––––– .

4. The shelf is covered with beautiful china  ––––– .

5. The calm waters of the lake were –––––––– in sunlight.

6. We cannot afford to waste our –––––––– time.

7. We had an –––––––– amount of help from people.

8. He ––––––––  to America after an argument with his family.

9. The government called for the immediate ––––––– of the hostages.

10. Egypt –––––––– Israel in 1973.

11. The people all bowed down before the ––––––– .

12. They ––––––––  on the last stage of their journey. 

13. The tiger's home is in the  –––––––– .

14. The animals are ––––––––  in nets and sold to the zoos.

C. Comprehension Questions

1. What does 'El Dorado' mean?

2. What story did the people in Europe hear about 'El Dorado'?

3. What were the Incas' temples like?

4. a. Who was Francisco Pizzaro?

    b. Why did he go to South America?

    c. What happened there?

5. What do you think of Pizzaro's actions?

6. Write what you know about the city of Machu Picchu.

7. Do you think it is right for people to go looking for the 'lost' treasure of South America? Give reasons.


Unit 10

On top of Africa

Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa. Marcus was one of a group of climbers who decided to climb it to raise money for charity. This is his account of the final part of the climb.

I wake up after two hours' fitful sleep. I am unable to eat anything. Everyone looks frightened. My head is aching. I feel very dizzy. Outside of the but it is pitch black. It is just after midnight. Snow is falling. It is freezing.

As we begin, I wish my friend good luck. He stares at me as if he cannot understand me. The hard climb and effects of altitude have made everyone look tired.

The group climbs silently in single file through deep snow. I cannot think straight. The altitude is playing tricks on my mind. I feel terrible. I try to concentrate. All I can do is watch my feet and count to ten all the time.

People around me are just standing still as they try to get their breath. I try to encourage them to keep walking. My friend looks at me helplessly. He is nearly exhausted. He keeps trying to lie down and go to sleep. If he does, he will freeze to death. I tell him to keep moving. He stumbles on.

I lose all sense of time and distance. When I check my watch I see, with surprise, that I have been walking for three hours already. I feel as if I am fighting every step of the way. All I want to do is turn round and go down –– but I must reach the top!

I begin to wonder if I am strong enough. My head is thumping. Each step I take makes me more and more dizzy. I begin to see spots in front of my eyes. My breathing is very rapid. Someone tells me we have another hour and a half to go.

I force my body onwards. I begin to lose my sense of balance and have to concentrate really hard, because one slip could be fatal. I gasp for breath.

Then I see Gilman's Peak up ahead of me. Someone at the top is telling me to make one last effort. I am aware of the sun beginning to rise above the clouds. I scramble up the last few metres –– and suddenly I realise I've done it! I'm there! I'm at the top of Africa!

A. Find these words and phrases in the text:

charity             fitful          aching        pitch black

exhausted        stumbles    fatal 

aware of          scramble up 

Now choose the right meaning

1. causing death / causing ruin or destruction

2. climb with difficulty

3. know or realize

4. walk unsteadily

5. hurting

6. not continuous or regular

7. completely dark

8. organization helping people in need

9. very tired

B. Vocabulary Practice:

Complete these sentences, using the words in the box:

charity  –  aching – exhausted – stumbles –fatal – aware of – scramble up – altitude – dizzy – thumping – realize 

1. There is an increase in –––––––– road accidents.

2. The children were able to –––––––– the steep bank.

3. The youth should be ––––––––  the dangers of smoking.

4. The child usually –––––––– and falls.

5. I hope they ––––––––  the seriousness of the situation.

6. The runners in the marathon are raising money for –––––––– 

7. The plane was flying at an –––––––– of 6000 meters.

8. He was so –––––––– that he fell asleep at his desk.

9. Climbing so high made me  –––––––– 

10. My body was  –––––––– all over after I fell down.

11. His heart was  –––––––– with excitement.

C. Comprehension Questions

1. What is the highest mountain in Africa?

2. Why did Marcus climb Mount Kilimanjaro?

3. Describe how Marcus felt when he woke up.

4. What were the weather conditions like?

5. How does Marcus try to concentrate?

6. How do you know that Marcus's friend is exhausted?

7. What do you think Marcus means when he says:

a. 'I feel as if I am fighting every step of the way'?

b. One slip could be fatal'?

8. Name some of the effects of altitude that Marcus suffered from.

9. Do you think Marcus is brave or foolish? Give reasons.

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