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Reading Comprehension Skills Practice Exercises

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Updated on Aug 25, 2011

Read the following study guide for a concept review:

Reading Comprehension Skills Study Guide

Practice

Now it's time to use all the skills at once. (This will become more natural as your skills improve.) Read the passage below carefully. If you come across unfamiliar words circle them, but don't look them up until after you've answered all the questions. Take as much time as you need and remember to read actively. (The sentences are numbered to make the questions easier to follow.)

Bicycles

(1) Today, bicycles are so common that it's hard to believe they haven't always been around. (2) But two hundred years ago, bicycles didn't even exist, and the first bicycle, invented in Germany in 1818, was nothing like our bicycles today. (3) It was made of wood and didn't even have pedals. (4) Since then, however, numerous innovations and improvements in design have made the bicycle one of the most popular means of recreation and transportation around the world.

(5) In 1839, Kirkpatrick Macmillan, a Scottish blacksmith, dramatically improved on the original bicycle design. (6) Macmillan's machine had tires with iron rims to keep them from getting worn down. (7) He also used footoperated cranks similar to pedals so his bicycle could be ridden at a quick pace. (8) It didn't look much like a modern bicycle, though, because its back wheel was substantially larger than its front wheel. (9) In 1861, the French Michaux brothers took the evolution of the bicycle a step further by inventing an improved crank mechanism.

(10) Ten years later, James Starley, an English inventor, revolutionized bicycle design. (11) He made the front wheel many times larger than the back wheel, put a gear on the pedals to make the bicycle more efficient, and lightened the wheels by using wire spokes. (12) Although this bicycle was much lighter and less tiring to ride, it was still clumsy, extremely top-heavy, and ridden mostly for entertainment.

(13) It wasn't until 1874 that the first truly modern bicycle appeared on the scene. (14) Invented by another Englishman, H. J. Lawson, the "safety bicycle" would look familiar to today's cyclists. (15) This bicycle had equalsized wheels, which made it less prone to toppling over. (16) Lawson also attached a chain to the pedals to drive the rear wheel. (17)With these improvements, bicycles became extremely popular and useful for transportation. (18) Today they are built, used, and enjoyed all over the world.

Questions

  1. Highlight the passage. Which words and ideas should be underlined?
  2. The main idea of this passage is best expressed in which sentence?
    1. Sentence 1: Today, bicycles are so common that it's hard to believe they haven't always been around.
    2. Sentence 13: It wasn't until 1874 that the first truly modern bicycle appeared on the scene.
    3. Sentence 4: Since then, however, numerous innovations and improvements in design have made the bicycle one of the most popular means of recreation and transportation around the world.
    4. Sentence 18: Today they are built, used, and enjoyed all over the world.
  3. Which of the following would be the best title for this passage?
    1. Bicycles Are Better
    2. A Ride through the History of Bicycles
    3. Cycle Your Way to Fitness
    4. The Popularity of Bicycles
  4. Which sentence best expresses the main idea of paragraph 2?
    1. Macmillan was a great inventor.
    2. Macmillan's bike didn't look much like our modern bikes.
    3. Macmillan's bike could be ridden quickly.
    4. Macmillan made important changes in bicycle design.
  5. An innovation, as it is used in sentence 4, is
    1. a new way of doing something.
    2. a design.
    3. an improvement.
    4. a clever person.
  6. Revolutionized, as it is used in sentence 10, most nearly means
    1. cancelled.
    2. changed drastically.
    3. became outdated.
    4. exercised control over.
  7. The word prone, as it is used in sentence 15, means
    1. lying down.
    2. unbalanced.
    3. incapable of doing something.
    4. likely to do something.
  8. Which of the following sentences from the passage represents the writer's opinion?
    1. Sentence 1
    2. Sentence 6
    3. Sentence 9
    4. Sentence 16
  9. Sentence 8, "It didn't look much like a modern bicycle, though, because its back wheel was substantially larger than its front wheel," follows which pattern?
    1. fact, fact
    2. fact, opinion
    3. opinion, fact
    4. opinion, opinion
  10. Macmillan added iron rims to the tires of his bicycle to
    1. add weight to the bicycle.
    2. make the tires last longer.
    3. make the ride less bumpy.
    4. make the ride less tiring.
  11. A gear system on bicycles was first used by
    1. H. J. Lawson.
    2. Kirkpatrick Macmillan.
    3. the Michaux brothers.
    4. James Starley.
  12. Starley's addition of wire spokes made the bicycle
    1. lighter.
    2. less likely to tip over.
    3. more efficient.
    4. safer.
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