Reading Context Clues Practice Exercises (page 3)

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Updated on Sep 29, 2011

Practice 2: Vast Vessels 

Read the selection, and then answer the questions that follow.

(1) Galleons were large ships used by Europeans from the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries. Equipped with three or four masts and two or more decks, these gallant ships helped countries like Spain and England establish their naval power.
(2) A galleon's sides were 3–4 feet (.9–1.2 m) thick, strong enough to hold the heavy foremast and mainmast, both equipped with huge square sails. The foremast was, as the word fore suggests, the one closest to the front, or bow, of the ship. One or two smaller masts were toward the ship's stern, or rear. They had lateens— three-cornered sails. Openings on the ship's sides held heavy cannons.
(3) After the discovery of the Americas, the Spanish used fleets of galleons to ship home chattel from the Americas, like gold, silver, and precious gems. But many ships never made it back. Hard to maneuver, they often couldn't evade lighter pirate ships. And many galleons sank during violent hurricanes. Today, treasure-hunting divers still find the wreckage of the majestic ships and their caches of riches today.
12. A foremast is
a. the mast closest to the stern.
b. the mast closest to the bow.
c. the mast in the middle.
d. the tallest mast.
13. Which is most likely the meaning of chattel?
a. lands
b. information
c. advice
d. possessions
14. From the context of the selection, maneuver most likely means
a. study or read.
b. paint and restore.
c. steer or guide.
d. submerge and sink.


1. c
2. d
3. b
4. a
5. c
6. b
7. c
8. d
9. b
10. c
11. a
12. b
13. d
14. c
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