Author's Questions and Answers Practice Exercises (page 2)

Updated on Sep 29, 2011

Practice 2: Speedy Exit 

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

(1) You're sweeping a dusty floor or sliding into second base. Suddenly some dust flies up your nose, irritating and tickling the insides. What can you do? You suddenly gasp and make a strange sound . . . AH-CHOO!
(2) A rapid, violent stream of air rushes from your nose and mouth, carrying the dust with it! Out come up to 40,000 tiny liquid droplets at speeds of up to 150 mph (241 kph)! It's a sneeze. Unfortunately, that sneeze can blow out germs, too. Does that tell you why it's so important to cover your mouth when you AH- CHOO?

Reflex Reaction

(3) Can you stop a sneeze from happening? No, your body acts automatically. Sensitive nerve endings that line your nose react to the invading stuff. Quickly, they send a message to your brain for help. Your brain then relays a message to some muscles in your body, telling them to work together to get rid of the stuff. Your stomach and chest muscles, your diaphragm (that large muscle under your lungs), your throat muscles, and even the muscles in your eyelids respond and go into action! Are you surprised to know your eyelids are involved? That's why you close their eyes when you sneeze!
(4) Sneezing is a reflex action, over which you have no control. So some people once believed it was the closest thing to dying. According to a legend, that's why we have the tradition of saying, "Bless you" when someone sneezes. Other people believed a sneeze was a sign you'd soon come down with a serious life-threatening disease, like pneumonia or the plague! Today we know that sneezing's just a natural reaction to stuff in our environment. Even so, lots of people still remember to say, "Bless you" when anyone sneezes! In Germany, people say gesundheit (guh-ZUNT-hi–t), a word that means "health."

Sneeze Makers

(5) Is dust the only thing that causes a sneeze? No way. Things like pepper, cold air, animal dander, pollen, and even sunlight can trigger a sneeze. About one in three people sneezes when exposed to very bright light, like from the sun, glaring headlights, or intense camera lights.
(6) Have you ever felt like you were going to sneeze, but it seems to get stuck? The dust or other substance in your nose continues to tickle and annoy you. You may cough. You may even gasp in a few breaths of air and stand there panting, waiting for a sneeze to burst forth. But nothing happens! You try rubbing the sides of your nose and wiggling it, thinking that may help. It doesn't! Well, if ever that happens to you, try looking briefly . . . ever so briefly . . . at a bright lightbulb. Maybe you'll unstick your sneeze!
7. To answer the author's first question, readers need to
a. look right there in the same sentence.
b. put together ideas from the first two paragraphs.
c. look up the answer in a dictionary.
d. review information from the glossary.
8. Why did the author ask the question at the end of paragraph 2?
a. to use the word AH-CHOO again
b. to ask readers what a nostril is
c. to remind readers to throw away tissues
d. to make a connection with the reader
9. The words No, it's a reflex action are the answer to which question?
a. Can only dust cause a sneeze?
b. Do your stomach muscles help you sneeze?
c. Can you stop a sneeze?
d. Can dust really blow up into your nose?
10. Which question might the author have added in paragraph 4?
a. What is the German word for nose?
b. In which year did millions of people die of the plague?
c. Does a sneeze cause pneumonia?
d. Why do we say, "Bless you"?
11. The author says you may be able to "unstick" a sneeze by
a. looking at a bright light.
b. standing on your head.
c. jumping up and down.
d. going to a hospital emergency room.
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