Reading Nonfiction Passage Practice
Consider the purpose for which the passage was written. What clues can you deduce from the writing style about the author's attitude toward the subject? Is the attitude positive? Negative? Objective? Try to pick out individual words that further each writer's intent and support each writer's opinion. If it helps, underline or make notes on important points. Active reading techniques like these will keep you focused on some very detailed reading comprehension passages.
Last spring, employees of the Hartville Corporation organized a weeklong strike to protest poor working conditions and unreasonable company policies. The strike resulted in huge financial losses for the company and the threat of a national boycott on Hartville products. The situation resulted in the formation of an employee task force, supported by Hartville management, to review circumstances that led to the strike. The task-force findings follow:
- Hartville's overtime pay schedule is well below the national level, and overtime is mandatory at least once a week.
- Employees working in the manufacturing department have an alarmingly high rate of repetitive stress injury. The equipment they are working with is extremely old and dangerous and does not meet current health and safety standards. The task force recommended that equipment be evaluated and brought up-to-date immediately.
- Sick and personal day policies are unclear. Employees report conflicting and/or confusing policies relating to sick and personal days, which have resulted in numerous misunderstandings about procedures and allowances as well as unfair disciplinary action.
- In the past four years, five pregnant women with clean work records were terminated soon after their pregnancies were public. In all five cases, the grounds for firing were not specifically cited, although one of the employees was told by her immediate supervisor that new mothers make very unreliable employees.
- Hartville's upper management is largely unaware of the dissatisfaction of employees. There is evidence that middle management withholds vital information leading to upper management's underestimation of the severity of employee discontent.
- Which of the following is the main organizational pattern used in the passage?
- chronological order
- hierarchical order
- order by topic
- cause and effect
- According to the passage, why do Hartville employees have a high rate of repetitive stress injury?
- The equipment they use is broken.
- Their computer keyboards are outdated.
- Hartville's equipment is below standard.
- They are under a great deal of pressure at work.
- According to the passage, which of the following was a specific task-force recommendation?
- Upper management at Hartville should be more involved in the day-to-day operation of the company.
- A new overtime pay policy should be implemented immediately.
- The pregnant women who were fired should file lawsuits.
- The equipment in the manufacturing department must be assessed.
- According to the passage, one reason that the Hartville upper management is unresponsive is that
- they are more concerned with saving money than protecting employees.
- they are unaware of the degree of dissatisfaction among their employees.
- the company is about to be sold, and they are distracted.
- they have not been trained in the latest management techniques.
- Which of the following is NOT in the passage?
- a finding about a problem within middle management
- a discussion of suspicious employee terminations
- a comparison between overtime pay at Hartville and the national average
- an outline of the policy relating to sick and personal days
- Which of the following best organizes the main topics addressed in this passage?
- The role of music therapy in social work
- Locating a music therapist
- Referring patients to music therapists
- Using music in therapy
- A typical music-therapy intervention
- When to prescribe music therapy for sociopaths
- Music therapy and social work
- Training for music therapists
- Skills addressed by music therapy
- How to choose a music therapist
- When to refer to a music therapist
- Who benefits the most from music therapy
- Which of the following would be the most appropriate title for this passage?
- How to Use Music to Combat Depression
- What Social Workers Need to Know about Music Therapy
- Training for a Career in Music Therapy
- The Social Worker as Music Therapist
- According to information presented in the passage, music therapy can be prescribed for social work clients who
- need to develop coping skills.
- were orphaned as children.
- need to resolve family issues.
- need to improve social skills.
- Which of the following inferences can be drawn from the passage?
- Music therapy can succeed where traditional therapies have failed.
- Music therapy is a relatively new field.
- Music therapy is particularly beneficial for young children.
- Music therapy is only appropriate in a limited number of circumstances.
- According to the passage, when it is summer in the Northern Hemisphere, it is _____ in the Southern Hemisphere.
- It can be inferred from the passage that, in the Southern Hemisphere, June 21 is the
- autumnal equinox.
- winter solstice.
- vernal equinox.
- summer solstice.
- What are the correct steps for painting wood, according to the passage?
- sand, prime, prime, paint, paint
- sand, prime, prime, paint
- sand, prime, paint
- sand, clean, prime, prime, paint, paint
- The passage implies that the most serious damage done by light pollution is to our
- artistic appreciation.
- sense of physical well-being.
- cultural advancement.
- spiritual selves.
- From the passage, the reader can infer that
- the people of Moscow are more interested in modernization than in preservation.
- the Soviet government destroyed many of the historic buildings in Russia.
- Moscow is the oldest large city in Russia, founded in 1147.
- Moscow has a history of invasions, with each new conqueror razing past structures.
- Which of the following is the most likely intended audience for the passage?
- people studying traditional Indian culture
- people who are studying Indian domestic customs
- people learning to operate a rug loom
- people who enjoy interior decorating
- Based on the passage, the author would tend to agree with which of the following statements?
- Men and women should have equal access to education.
- Males have a greater need for higher education than women.
- Worldwide, women need medical care more than the ability to read.
- It has been proven that women with increased education have fewer children.
- Which sentence, if inserted into the blank line in the passage, would be most consistent with the writer's purpose and intended audience?
- Cultural traditions function to identify members of a culture to one another and, also, to allow the individual to self-identify.
- Many of the traditions of these cultures remained active in Frankish society for centuries.
- When tradition is lacking or is not honored by the younger generation in a society, there is danger that the culture will be lost.
- It is unnecessary to discuss the origin of these traditions; it will only muddy the water.
- Which of the following is the best meaning of the word culture as it is used in the passage?
- the fashionable class
- a community of interrelated individuals
- a partnership
- an organized group with a common goal
- According to the passage, for how many years was Charlemagne Emperor of the Franks?
- 14 years
- 15 years
- 13 years
- 16 years
- What is the central theme of Lawrence of Arabia, according to this passage?
- the importance of the Suez Canal
- man's pride will bring about his destruction
- the Arabian Desert is a hostile environment
- it is a documentary on World War I
- What is the meaning of the underlined word hubris, as it is used in the passage?
- a halo
- You might infer that the author of this passage
- has traveled in the Middle East.
- does not like the character of Lawrence.
- admires the film Lawrence of Arabia.
- knows nothing about the Suez Canal.
Mental and physical health professionals may consider referring clients and patients to a music therapist for a number of reasons. It seems a particularly good choice for the social worker who is coordinating a client's case. Music therapists use music to establish a relationship with the patient and to improve the patient's health, using highly structured musical interactions. Patients and therapists may sing, play instruments, dance, compose, or simply listen to music.
The course of training for music therapists is comprehensive. In addition to formal musical and therapy training, music therapists are taught to discern what kinds of interventions will be most beneficial for each individual patient. Because each patient is different and has different goals, the music therapist must be able to understand the patient's situation and choose the music and activities that will do the most toward helping the patient achieve his or her goals. The referring social worker can help this process by clearly communicating each client's history.
Although patients may develop their musical skills, that is not the main goal of music therapy. Any client who needs particular work on communication or on academic, emotional, and social skills, and who is not responding to traditional therapy, is an excellent candidate for music therapy.
In the summer, the Northern Hemisphere is slanted toward the sun, making the days longer and warmer than in winter. The first day of summer, June 21, is called summer solstice and is also the longest day of the year. However, June 21 marks the beginning of winter in the Southern Hemisphere, when that hemisphere is tilted away from the sun.
When painting wood, the most important step is to thoroughly sand the wood to a smooth finish. All burrs and rough spots must be removed, and the surface should be silky smooth to the touch. After cleaning the wood, one should give it two coats of primer. This neutral colored paint soaks into the grain and seals it. Once dried, the wood is ready for two more coats of the final color.
Light pollution is a growing problem worldwide. Like other forms of pollution, light pollution degrades the quality of the environment. Where it was once possible to look up at the night sky and see thousands of twinkling stars in the inky blackness, one now sees little more than the yellow glare of urban sky-glow. When we lose the ability to connect visually with the vastness of the universe by looking up at the night sky, we lose our connection with something profoundly important to the human spirit, our sense of wonder.
Moscow has a history of chaotic periods of war that ended with the destruction of a once largely wooden city and the building of a new city on top of the rubble of the old. The result is a layered city, with each tier holding information about a part of Russia's past. In some areas of the city, archaeologists have reached the layer from 1147, the year of Moscow's founding. Among the findings from the various periods of Moscow's history are carved bones, metal tools, pottery, glass, jewelry, and crosses.
Authentic Dhurrie rugs are hand woven in India. Today, they are usually made of wool, but they are descendants of cotton floor and bed coverings. In fact, the name Dhurrie comes from the Indian word dari, which means threads of cotton. The rugs are noted for their soft colors, their varieties of design, and they make a stunning focal point for any living room or dining room.
Worldwide illiteracy rates have consistently declined in the last few decades. One of the major reasons for this decline is the sharp increase of literacy rates among young women, which is a result of specific campaigns designed to increase educational opportunities for girls. However, there are still an estimated 771 million illiterate adults in the world, about two-thirds of who are women.
Emperor Charlemagne of the Franks was crowned in 800 a.d. The Frankish Empire at that time extended over what is now Germany, Italy, and France. Charlemagne died in 814 a.d., but his brief reign marked the dawn of a distinctly European culture. The artists and thinkers that helped create this European civilization drew on the ancient texts of the Germanic, Celtic, Greek, Roman, Hebrew, and Christian worlds. __________. Consequently, they were the groundwork for the laws, customs, and even attitudes of today's Europeans.
The film Lawrence of Arabia may be somewhat dated by modern special-effects standards, but it remains a high-water mark in the annals of filmmaking. Since we're on the subject of CGI and other computer-generated special effects, Lawrence has none for the simple reason that it was actually filmed using real people who really performed the action. The long, slow scenes of camels walking in the desert may seem dull to the modern animation-jaded viewer, but those willing to pay attention to the underlying themes will be well rewarded by what the movie is saying.
And it is the theme of Lawrence that really stays with a viewer, even today, some 40 years after it was released. That theme is the age-old story of hubris—the pride of a man which raises him above his peers, only to dash him on the rocks of self-indulgence by the end.
We see this tragic foible of mankind worked out fully in the character of Lawrence himself, who begins the film as a brilliant genius who is eager to get involved in the desert conflicts of World War I. His cocky attitude irritates his superiors and amuses the Arabs fighting alongside the British, but his genius for details and strategy soon overcome all obstacles. Lawrence's brilliant victory at the Suez Canal could only have been accomplished by Lawrence, and his own self-sacrifice and commitment to his followers display the best of his character.
Unfortunately, the baser elements of that character gradually take control as the film moves along, and Lawrence slowly declines into a dangerous blend of despair and self-assurance. The problem gradually becomes evident: Lawrence has grown to believe that he is equal to God, the one who both gives life and takes it away again.
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