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                                                                                        READING COMPREHENSION

What is Reading Comprehension?

Reading comprehension is the act of understanding what you are reading. The answers that you provide to the
questions asked show how well you have understood the given passage.

Reading comprehension involves
•    Reading the lessons and the poems in yourtextbook
•    Understanding the information provided in thelessons
•    Understanding the meanings of the words used by thewriter
•    Forming an opinion on the writer‘sstyle
•    Answering the questions asked at the end of thepassage

Guidelines to Read a Passage

Comprehension: Prose
•    Read the lessonthoroughly.
•    Note the new words you have comeacross.
•    Identify its main and supportingideas.
•    Understand the author‘s purpose andviewpoint.
•    Read the questionscarefully.
•    Understand what is being asked in thequestions.

Comprehension: Poetry
•    Read the poemthoroughly.
•    Identify the theme and the rhyme scheme of thepoem.
•    Identify the figures of speechused.
•    Read the questionscarefully.
•    Understand what is being asked in thequestions.
•    Identify the imagery used by thepoet.

Types of Comprehension Passages

You may come across many types of passages while attempting the reading comprehension section in your paper.

A factual passage deals with facts usually shared in the form of reports, scientific articles and historical descriptions.

A literary passage consists of extracts from works of great writers and can be in the form of novels, short stories and poetry.

A discursive passage consists of articles which present an opinion or a reasoned argument on a topic.

Let us look at some sample comprehension passages.

Sample Comprehension Passages

1. Factual Passage

       Enid Blyton was a children's writer born in 1897 in London. Her books have been among the world's best-sellers since the 1930s.
She was born to Thomas Carey Blyton and his wife Theresa Mary Harrison Blyton. Her father was a cutlery salesman, and Hanly and
Carey were her younger brothers. Although Enid suffered from whooping cough a few months after her birth, she was nursed back to
health by her father. Enid liked gardening, art, music, literature and the theatre. Her first book was a 24-page collection of poems named
Child Whispers which was illustrated by a school friend, Phyllis Chase. The Rockingdown Mystery published in 1949 was the first of
her fifteen Secret Seven novels. The Secret Seven Society consists of seven children who meet regularly in a shed in the garden to discuss
peculiar events in their local community. Noddy was a series about a wooden boy from Toyland, and these books became one of her
most successful and best-known series. Blyton's books have been translated into almost 90 languages. In fact, the Pogo channel in India
used to air the show Make Way for Noddy in Hindi and other regional languages for children. Blyton wrote on several topics including
education, natural history, fantasy, mystery stories and biblical narratives, and is best remembered today for her Noddy,
Famous Five and Secret Sevenseries.


Q 1) Complete the following sentences.

a.    Blyton's books have beentranslatedinto    languages.
b.    The first Secret Seven novel waspublishedin.

Q 2) Why did Enid have to be nursed back to health?

Q 3) What were Enid’s interests other than writing?

Q 4) Choose the correct alternative.
a.    The Secret Seven Society consistsof
i.    24poems
ii.   Sevenchildren
iii.  Fifteenchildren
iv.   A wooden boy
Q 5) Which topics did Enid Blyton write on?

Q 6) Who illustrated Enid’s first book?


A 1)
a.     Blyton's books have been translated into 90languages.
b.    The first Secret Seven novel was published in 1949.

A 2) Enid suffered from whooping cough a few months after her birth. Hence, she had to be nursed back to health.

A 3) Enid liked gardening, art, music, literature and the theatre other than writing.

A 4) a. Seven children

A 5) Enid Blyton‘s school friend, Phyllis Chase, illustrated Enid‘s first book Child Whispers, which was a 24-page collection of poems.

2.Literary Passage

The moon has a face like the clock in the hall; She shines on thieves on the garden wall,
On streets and fields and harbour quays, And birdies asleep in the forks of the trees.

The squalling cat and the squeaking mouse, The howling dog by the door of the house, The bat that lies in bed at noon,
All love to be out by the light of the moon.

But all of the things that belong to the day Cuddle to sleep to be out of her way;
And flowers and children close their eyes Till up in the morning the sun shall rise.


Q 1) Whom does the moon shine on in the garden?
Q 2) Who loves to be awake at night?
Q 4) Identify the rhyming words from each stanza.
Q 5) What has the moon been compared to in the first stanza?


A 1) The moon shines on the thieves in the garden.
A 2) The cat, the mouse, the dog and the bat love to be awake at night.
A 4) The rhyming words from each stanza are hall–wall, mouse–house, noon–moon, day–way and eyes–rise.
A 5) The moon has been compared to the clock in the hall in the first stanza.

3. LiteraryPassage
       Lying in bed, Swami realised with a shudder that it was Monday morning. It looked as though only a moment ago it had been the last period on
Friday; already Monday was here. He hope that an earthquake would reduce the school building to dust,
but that good building Albert Mission School had withstood similarprayersforoverahundredyearsnow.Atnineo‘clockSwaminathanwailed,―Ihaveaheadache.‖
―SothatImaybecompletelydeadattheotherend?Haveyouanyideawhatitmeanstobejoltedina cart?
―Important!Bah!Thatgeographyteacherhasbeenteachingthesamelessonforoverayearnow.Andwe have arithmetic,
which means for a whole period we are going to be beaten by the teacher. Important lessons!‖
And mother generously suggested that Swami might stay at home.
At 9:30, when he ought to have been lining up in the school prayer hall, Swami was lying on the bench in mother‘sroom.
―Heisveryviolent,especiallywithboyswhocomelate.Somedaysago,aboywasmadetostayonhis knees for a whole
period in a corner of the class because he came late, and that after getting six cuts from thecaneandhavinghisearstwisted.Iwouldn‘tliketogolatetoMrSamuel‘sclass.‖
And then Swami gave a lurid account of Samuel‘s violence; how when he started caning he would not stop till he saw blood
on the boy‘s hand, which he made the boy press to his forehead like a vermilion marking. Swami hoped that his father would be made to see that he couldn‘t go to his class tale. But father‘sbehaviourtookanunexpectedturn.Hebecameexcited.―Whatdothesepeoplemeanbybeating ourchildren?Theymustbedrivenoutofservice.Iwillsee.‖
The result was he proposed to send Swami late to his class as a kind of challenge. He was also going to send a letter with Swami to the headmaster.
No amount of protest from Swami was of any avail: Swami had to go to school.
By the time he was ready, father had composed a long letter to the headmaster, put in an envelope and sealed it.
Swami‘s father did not know the truth that Mr Samuel was actually a very kind and gentle man.



Q 1) Give the meaning of each of the following words as used in the passage. One word answers or short phrases will be accepted.
i.      jolted (line21)
ii.    stubborn (line21)
iii.   avail (line45)
Q 2) What was Swami‘s Monday morning wish unlikely to be answered?
Q 3) Was Swami‘s father sympathetic to his son‘s headache?
Q 4) How different was Swami‘s mother‘s response from his father‘s?
Q 5) Why did Swami give a colourful account of Mr Samuel to his father?
Q 6) In what way did father‘s behaviour take an unexpected turn?
Q 7) What was Swami finally ordered to do by his father?


A 1)
i.    shookviolently
ii.    adamant
iii.    be of use or advantage

A 2) On a Monday morning, Swami wished that an earthquake would reduce the school building to dust. His wish was unlikely
to be answered because the building withstood similar prayers for over a hundred years now.

A3)Thesentence,―LoafaboutlessonSundaysandyouwillbewithoutaheadacheonMonday.‖tellsus that Swami‘s father was
completely unsympathetic to his son‘s headache.

A 4) Unlike his father, Swami‘s mother was concerned about his health as well as his education. She questioned him about
his headache and if he had any important lessons that day.

A 5) Swami gave a colourful account of Mr Samuel to his father to escape going to school on a Monday morning.

A 6) After the account of Mr Samuel, Swami‘s father suddenly became excited and decided to challenge the teacher by
purposefully sending his son late to school. He also decided to write to the headmaster about the matter.

A 7) Swami was finally ordered to go to school late with a letter for the headmaster written by his father.

4.Factual Passage

    From the danger of losing one leg due to a knee injury to winning an Olympic bronze medal, Yogeshwar Dutt has come a long way.
The freestyle wrestler‘s story is one of passion for the sport and his perseverance and solid determination in realising his dream.
Thanks to him, Bhainswal Kalan, a village some 20 kilometres away from Sonepat in Haryana, has become very popular now.
Yogeshwar has qualities of a champion, and virtues like humility, respect for others and extending a helping hand to the needy,
which make him even more endearing. His dream of winning an Olympic medal was not fulfilled in Beijing in 2008. Going through
the injuries was a difficult period for him. The Mittal Champions Trust helped him when he had the knee injury. His intense desire
to win a medal worked as a healing agent to all has injuries; he trained hard and God listened to his prayers. After 2008, his sole
target was the 2012 Olympics. He wanted to participate in more competitions, but he was pulled down by injuries in 2009 and
that robbed him of nearly one year. After that, he could not reduce his weight too often to take part in various events. All the time
the Olympics was there in his mind. Even when he was injured he thought of winning an Olympic medal. His back injury was a
problem, but he got over it. His friends and family backed him a lot. His brother and friends shared his responsibilities and
allowed him to focus on wrestling with a freemind.


Q 1) What are the three qualities of a true champion?

Q 2) Why did Yogeshwar Dutt almost lose a year in 2009?

Q 3) What kept him motivated despite his injuries?

Q 4) What makes Yogeshwar Dutt an endearing person?

Q 5) Find words from the passage which mean
(a)    dedication:    
(b)    quality:    


A 1) Perseverance, determination and passion are three qualities of a true champion.

A 2) Yogeshwar Dutt almost lost a year in 2009 because of injuries.

A 3) The thought of the Olympic medal kept Yogeshwar Dutt motivated despite his injuries.

A 4) Yogeshwar has qualities of a champion, and virtues like humility, respect for others and
extending a helping hand to the needy, which make him an endearing person.
A 5)(a)    perseverance
       (b)    virtue

5. Literary Passage

      Margaret, the eldest of the four, was sixteen, and very pretty, being plump and fair, with large eyes, plenty of soft brown hair,
a sweet mouth, and white hands, of which she was rather vain. Fifteen-year-old Jo was very tall, thin, and brown, and reminded
one of a colt, for she never seemed to know what to do with her long limbs, which were very much in her way. She had a decided
mouth, a comical nose, and sharp, grey eyes, which appeared to see everything, and were by turns fierce, funny or thoughtful.
Her long, thick hair was her one beauty, but it was usually bundled into a net, to be out of her way. Round shoulders had Jo,
big hands and feet, a flyaway look to her clothes, and the uncomfortable appearance of a girl who was rapidly shooting up into
a woman and didn't like it. Elizabeth, or Beth, as everyone called her, was a rosy, smooth-haired, bright-eyed girl of thirteen,
with a shy manner, a timid voice, and a peaceful expression which was seldom disturbed. Her father called her 'Little Miss Tranquillity'
, and the name suited her excellently, for she seemed to live in a happy world of her own, only venturing out to meet the few whom
she trusted and loved. Amy, though the youngest, was the most important person, in her own opinion at least. A regular snow maiden,
with blue eyes, and yellow hair curling on her shoulders, pale and slender, and always carrying herself like a young lady mindful of her manners.
The clock struck six and, having swept up the hearth, Beth put a pair of slippers down to warm. Somehow the sight of the old shoes had
a good effect upon the girls, for Mother was coming, and everyone brightened to welcome her. Meg stopped lecturing, and lighted the lamp,
Amy got out of the easy chair without being asked, and Jo forgot how tired she was as she sat up to hold the slippers nearer to the blaze.
                                                                                                                                 (From Little Women by Louisa May Alcott)

Q 1) The four sisters mentioned in thepassageare    .

Q 2) What was special about Jo‘s eyes?

Q 3) Why was 'Little Miss Tranquillity' called so?

Q 4) What did Jo dislike about herself?

Q 5) Find words from the passage which are similar in meaning to
(a)   chubby:    
(b)   skinny:    
(c)   serenity:    


A 1) The four sisters mentioned in the passage are Margaret, Jo, Elizabeth and Amy.

A 2) Jo‘s eyes were expressive, sharp and grey. It seemed as if they saw everything and would turn fierce, funny or thoughtful inturns.

A 3) Beth was called 'Little Miss Tranquillity' by her father because her face had a peaceful expression which was seldom disturbed.
A 4) Jo had the uncomfortable appearance of a girl who was rapidly shooting up into a woman and she didn't like it.

A5) (a) Plump
       (b) Thin
       (c) Tranquillity

6. Literarypoem

I wandered lonely as acloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills, When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees, Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance, Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they Outdid the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay, In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie In vacant or in pensive mood, They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;And then my heart with pleasure fills, And dances with the daffodils.


Q 1) Where did the poet see the daffodils?

Q 2) What does the poet compare the daffodils to?

Q3 )Namethefigureofspeechinthelines‗Flutteringanddancinginthebreeze‘.

Q 4) Give an example of hyperbole from the poem.

Q 5) Find words from the poem that mean
(a)   valley
(b)   merry
(c)   thoughtful


A 1) The poet saw the daffodils beneath the trees along the lakeside.

A 2) The post compares the daffodils to the shining stars.

_dancing‘ to describe their movements.


A 5)(a)  vale
       (b)  jocund
       (c)  pensive

7.Discursive Passage

     This is the high noon of the Age of Sponsorship. For several years now, we have become used to all kinds of events being sponsored.
In many newspapers, every possible feature, barring the editorials, is sponsored. Even the daily weather report is.

   Student organisations, which were once content to hold low-key festivals in their college, now find corporate sponsors and get
massive media exposure for such events

     Ganesh Chaturthi, the festival was once an affair confined to individual homes. Today, in Mumbai it provides competition for
rival sponsors as the size of the idols grows in height and girth every year and the festivities are held with greater gusto and noise.

      During Dushera, Mumbai reverberates to the beat of drums. Thousands of young people spend nights
dancingtothevariousversionsofthetraditionalGujarati_garba‘dance,includingthemutant_discogarba‘. It is one of those strange twists
of irony that dance, which actually liberated women and gave them a legitimate reason to dance their hearts out, has now become
a highly sponsored event in which there is noplacefortraditional‗garba‘dancers.Inthepast,thedancingwasfreeofbothself-consciousness,
asit was a women‘s dance, and commerce as it was held in the courtyard. Thus, each year something precious is being lost—and the
worst part of it is that the majority of us are not even aware ofit.


Q 1) Why is it called the age of sponsorship?

Q 2)What roles did Garba play in the lives of the women in the past?

Q 3) How has Ganesh Chaturthi changed over a period of time in Mumbai?


Q 5) What are most people not aware of according to the writer?


A 1) It is called the age of sponsorship because newspapers and festivals in colleges are commercialised.

A 2) In the past, Garba was a medium of allowing women to get rid of their inhibitions and self- consciousness.

A 3) Earlier, Ganesh Chaturthi was a festival confined to individual homes. However, in the present,
it provides an opportunity for sponsors to invest money.

A 4) Adapted or changed: Mutant

A 5) According to the writer, most people are not aware that the commercialisation of festivals
is leading to the loss of the essence of culture.

8.  FactualPassage

       Valley of Flowers is a national park in Uttarakhand, India. Nestled in the West Himalayas, the valley is located at an altitude of
3,600 metres above sea level and is famous for charming meadows of alpine flowers. Myriad alpine flowers stretched across 87.5 sq
kms make this place a colourful paradise. The beautiful valley is also a world heritage site with its pristine beauty and mystical surroundings
attracting nature lovers, photographers and botanists. Valley of Flowers is bifurcated by Pushpawati River. The locals believe that the valley
was once inhabited by fairies. It is one of the famous trekking destinations in India. One cannot stay at the Valley of Flowers. Therefore,
Ghangaria, the base camp for the trek to the Valley of Flowers, remains an ideal place to relax and sleep.

     The Valley of Flowers is a 3-km climb from Ghangaria. The Brahmakamal, the Blue Poppy and the Cobra Lily are some flowers that bloom
in the valley. The Himalayan Balsam is the most predominant flower of the valley. The woolly white Edelweiss is a captivating site. This flower
grows in inaccessible places, at high altitudes in the mountains of Europe, Asia and South America and is associated in Slovenia with mountaineering.
The valley is covered with snow for most of the year. The valley opens on 1st June every year for visitors. There are huge glaciers in the Valley of
Flowers in June. At this time, snow starts melting and the seeds of the last year‘s plants start germinating. By July, all the flowers are at full bloom.
One can find the maximum number of flowers until mid-August. Snowfall starts in October, and the valley is closed officially for public.


Q 1) What is special about the Valley of Flowers?

Q 2) Why is Ghangaria an important location for visitors?

Q 3) Which flowers can one find in the valley?

Q 4) The Valley of Flowers is located at an altitudeof_________________where myriad alpine flowers are stretchedacross______________    .

Q 5) Find from the passage synonyms of the followingwords
       Spotless: ____________  
       Magical: ____________
       Distant:  ____________          
       Populated: ___________           


A 1) The Valley of Flowers is a national park in Uttarakhand, India. It is famous for the charming meadows of alpine
flowers stretched across several kilometres and the valley is also a world heritage site.

A 2) Trekkers cannot stay in the valley. Therefore, Ghangaria, the base camp for the trek to the Valley of Flowers,
is important as it is an ideal place to relax and sleep.


A 3) The Brahmakamal, the Blue Poppy, the Cobra Lily and the woolly white Edelweiss are some flowers found in the valley.
The best time to visit the valley is from July to September.

A 4) The Valley of Flowers is located at an altitude of 3,600 metres above sea level where myriad alpine
flowers are stretched across 87.5 sq kms.
A 5)(a) mystical
      (b) inaccessible
      (c) inhabited
      (d) pristine

9.   Factual Passage

     School used to be all about writing, whether it was the exercise books we wrote in or the notes we passed around. But not anymore.
Now it‘s all about typing. Learning your QWERTY is almost as important as learning your ABC. So, when my daughter came home
last year with cursive handwriting homework, I was nonplussed. Cursive writing was originally developed to make it easier for children
to write with a quill. By joining up the letters, it kept the quill on the parchment and minimised ink blots. But my daughter writes with
a laptop. I explained as much to her teacher at the next parents‘ day. But the teacher explained that research suggests that the process
of writing information down on paper, by hand, has a more direct effect on the formation of memories in the learning process than typing.
Taking notes in class is still the most effective way to learn. It‘s a better way to store the skills for written language in a child‘s brain than
pressing keys. She went on to say, ―But that doesn‘t mean that one should ditch computers. Children should be taught to touch-type early on.
She just feels that learning is aided by the physical act of writing. Authors often write their first draft by hand. Whether it‘s to do with the pace
of thought, or some kind of stimulationthephysicalacthas,wedon‘tknow.Butit‘safact.‖

     The French would doubtless agree. They love their handwriting. Teachers in France believe that fluency withapen_unlocksthemind‘
andtheyspendmoretimeonwritingthanreadingbetweentheagesofthree and eight. We teach children the formation of letters and the appropriate
joining strokes. But after a few years, we leave them on their own devices, just as the written workload starts to increase.
That‘s when  the bad habits setin.

     But as proper writing becomes rarer, spending some time improving your handwriting is a good investment. In the future, sending a
handwritten letter will be a display of affluence and class, which is why the sale of fountain pens isreviving.


Q 1) What was the original purpose of cursive writing?

Q 2) How is writing on paper better than typing?

Q 3) Why does handwriting become illegible as children grow older?

Q 4) Spending some time in improving one‘s handwriting is a goodinvestmentas    .

Q 5) Find words from passage which mean
a)    encouragement:     
b)    plume: 


A 1) Cursive writing was originally developed to make it easier for children to write with a quill.

A 2) Writing is better than typing because handwriting has a more direct effect on the formation
of memories in the learning process than typing.

A 3) As children grow older, the written workload starts to increase, which is a reason why handwriting become illegible.

A 4) Spending some time in improving one‘s handwriting is a good investment as in the future sending ahandwritten
letter will be a display of affluence and class.

 A 5)(a) stimulation
       (b) quill

10. Factual Passage

     Ever wondered about those tall structures that are landmarks along every shore all over the world? Lighthouses. We see them
 in pictures and in movies and along every seashore. Tall, stately structures looking out to sea, warning the incoming ships of approaching land.
 Did you know what served as a lighthouse in the early years? The locals from the area would light a fire at a height to warn boats of any
 impending dangers like rocks or even land. The early constructors of lighthouse included the Greeks, Romans and Phoenicians. How do you
 think these lighthouses showed the way to incoming ships?  Those were the days when technology had not taken over the world.
The lighthouses used lamps to guide the ships. However, these lamps could throw light only as far as a few miles into the sea. It was only
much later that mirrors, prisms, electricity and the automatic working of a lighthouse came to be. It is indeed amazing what these stately
structures out in lonely locations across the world mean to the sailors as they near land after days out at sea. Did you know that the Lighthouse
of Alexandria is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World? It was located on the island of Pharos in Egypt and it was built in 290 BC.
The lighthouse used fire at night and reflected the sunrays during the day to warn sailors of land. This monument is a legacy in the world today
although it was destroyed by several earthquakes that hit it in the 1300s.Today, in its place stands a fort built in 1480 using the marble and stones
from the lighthouse, a breathtaking structure that came down ravaged bynature.


Q 1) What is the purpose of a lighthouse?

Q 2) How would lighthouses operate in the early years?

Q 3) What is unique about the fort built in 1480?

Q 4) What was so special about the Lighthouse of Alexandria?

Q 5) Find words from the passage which mean
a)    residents:    
b)    demolished:  


A 1) A lighthouse is a tall structure looking out to sea, warning the incoming ships of approaching land.

A 2) In the early years, when technology had not taken over, locals from the area would light a fire at a height to warn boats of
rocks or even land. Early lighthouses used lamps to guide the ships.

A 3) The fort built in 1480 is made from the marble and stones of the Lighthouse of Alexandria which was destroyed by the
earthquakes that hit it in the 1300s.

A 4) The Lighthouse of Alexandria is special because it used fire at night and reflected the sunrays during the day to
warn sailors of land.

 A 5) (a) locals
        (b) ravaged


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