Sample Paragraphs for Reading Comprehension
Over a hundred reading comprehension passages available here, some with online quizzes, worksheets, and questions, all sorted by 1st language reading level: Reading Comprehension at English For Everyone
Dolphins are regarded as the friendliest creatures in the sea and stories of them helping drowning sailors have been common since Roman times. The more we learn about dolphins, the more we realize that their society is more complex than people previously imagined. They look after other dolphins when they are ill, care for pregnant mothers and protect the weakest in the community, as we do. Some scientists have suggested that dolphins have a language but it is much more probable that they communicate with each other without needing words. Could any of these mammals be more intelligent than man? Certainly the most common argument in favor of man's superiority over them that we can kill them more easily than they can kill us is the least satisfactory. On the contrary, the more we discover about these remarkable creatures, the less we appear superior when we destroy them.
1. It is clear from the passage that dolphins ----
A) don't want to be with us as much as we want to be with them
B) are proven to be less intelligent than once thought
C) have a reputation for being friendly to humans
D) are the most powerful creatures that live in the oceans
E) are capable of learning a language and communicating with humans
2. The fact that the writer of the passage thinks that we can kill dolphins more easily than they can kill us ----
A) means that they are better adapted to their environment than we are
B) shows that dolphins have a very sophisticated form of communication
C) proves that dolphins are not the most intelligent species at sea
D) does not mean that we are superior to them
E) proves that dolphins have linguistic skills far beyond what we previously thought
3. One can infer from the reading that ----.
A) dolphins are quite abundant in some areas of the world
B) communication is the most fascinating aspect of the dolphins
C) dolphins have skills, that no other living creatures have, such as the ability to think
D) it is not usual for dolphins to communicate with each other
E) dolphins have some social traits that are similar to those of humans
Naval architects never claim that a ship is unsinkable, but the sinking of the passenger-and-car ferry Estonia in the Baltic surely should have never have happened. It was well designed and carefully maintained. It carried the proper number of lifeboats. It had been thoroughly inspected the day of its fatal voyage. Yet hours later, the Estonia rolled over and sank in a cold, stormy night. It went down so quickly that most of those on board, caught in their dark, flooding cabins, had no chance to save themselves. Of those who managed to get out, only 139 survived. The rest - 912 people - died of hypothermia before the rescuers could pluck them from the cold sea. However, there were an unpleasant number of questions about why the Estonia sank and why so many survivors were men in the prime of life, while most of the dead were women, children and the elderly.
1. One can understand from the reading that ----.
A) the lifesaving equipment did not work well and lifeboats could not be lowered
B) design faults and incompetent crew contributed to the sinking of the Estonia ferry
C) 139 people managed to leave the vessel but died in freezing water
D) naval architects claimed that the Estonia was unsinkable
E) most victims were trapped inside the boat as they were in their cabins
2. It is clear from the passage that the survivors of the accident ----
A) helped one another to overcome the tragedy that affected them all
B) were mostly young men, but the rest stood little chance
C) helped save hundreds of lives
D) are still suffering from severe post-traumatic stress disorder
E) told the investigators nothing about the accident
3. According to the passage, when the Estonia sank, ----
A) there were only 139 passengers on board
B) few of the passengers were asleep
C) there were enough lifeboats for the number of people on board
D) faster reaction by the crew could have increased the survival rate
E) all the passengers had already moved out into the open decks
'Dolphins' and 'Fatal Ferry' passages from https://www.grammarbank.com/short-reading-comprehension-passages.html
Earthquakes are the shaking and moving of the ground when energy is released in waves. These waves, similar to ocean waves moving through water, but which move through ground, are called seismic waves. Most earthquakes are caused by the movement of large sections of the Earth’s crust, called plates. The place where two plates meet, resembling a crack or seam, is called a fault. If the two plates try to move in different directions, they build up energy at the fault line. When enough energy builds up, the stress on the fault becomes too great and it ruptures. This releases the energy and the ground starts to shake. Earthquakes can also be caused by other natural events, such as landslides and volcanoes, while man-made earthquakes happen because of nuclear testing and mining explosions. There are an estimated 500,000 earthquakes around the world each year. Most are so mild they are only recorded on scientific instruments, and only about 100,000 can be felt by humans. Of these, only about 19 a year cause major destruction. Buildings collapse, roads and bridges buckle and crack, and electrical and gas lines break and cause fires. Scientists are searching for ways to predict earthquakes. They study the historical patterns of earthquakes and monitor the movement of the plates with seismic equipment. While they cannot predict an exact date of a future earthquake, they have a better understanding of when earthquakes are more likely to happen.
Choose the correct meaning for each of the words from the passage:
b. forms a new plate
c. worry; concern
a. fall down
b. catch fire
a. prevent; stop
b. know a future event
c. study; examine
A New Teacher
When Anne reached the school that morning, for the
first time in her life she had walked along the Birch Path deaf and blind to its beauty. The former teacher had trained the children to be in their seats on time, and when Anne entered the schoolroom she was confronted by prim rows of children's faces and bright, inquisitive eyes. She hung up her hat and faced her pupils, hoping that she did not look as foolish as she felt and that they would not see how she was trembling. She had sat up until nearly midnight, writing a speech she meant to make to her pupils upon opening the school. She had edited and rewritten it very carefully, and then she had memorized it. It was a very good speech and had some very fine ideas in it: the only trouble was that she could not now remember a word of it. After what seemed to her a year . . . about ten seconds in reality . . . she said faintly, “Open your Bibles, please,” and sank breathlessly into her chair. While the children read their Scripture verses, Anne tried to clear her mind and looked over the room full of her curious young students.
1. How does Anne feel? What emotion do you think she is experiencing?
2. Find three examples from the reading that show how Anne felt on her first day as a new teacher:
3. Can you find an adjective that describes how the students might be feeling on their first day with their new teacher?
'Earthquakes' and 'New Teacher' adapted from https://www.k12reader.com/