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Published on August 11th, 2012 In category Education | Reading Comprehension

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Reading comprehension-what do you think

Reading comprehension is an important section in the competitive examination. While one can increase the speed in attempting the Reading comprehension using the techniques mentioned earlier in this website. The reading comprehension has another dimension as well. Readon

Usually students think that a comprehension passage judges or examines a student’s knowledge of understanding and vocabulary. But the cutting edge that the examiner looks for is additional abilities like analytical ability, interpretation and grammar.

For e.g. : When she returned she found the door ajar

Q. Why do you think the door was ajar?
A. Probably the house was broken into by a thief or maybe she forgot to lock it while leaving.

In this single question and answer, the following attributes are judged:

  1. Vocabulary – meaning of the word ‘ajar’. Without asking the synonym or antonym it is clear that the student knows the meaning, because if he/she didn’t know the meaning of ‘ajar’, the answer itself would have been totally different / incorrect.
  2. Analysis / Interpretation – It’s a common sense answer. It’s the house door which was ajar and a normal reasoning of why it was open. A student with deep or complicated analysis would think it could be a cupboard door or a fridge door or a bird cage door.
  3. Grammar – Grammatically correct sentence.
Read on the following passage and try to attempt the questions:

Here is a scientific experiment on the homing of birds, the facts of which are quite certain. A few years ago seven swallows were caught near their nests at Bremen in Germany. They were marked with a red dye on some of their white feathers, so that they could easily be seen. Then they were taken by aeroplane to Croyden, near London; this is a distance of 400 miles.

The seven swallows were set free at Croydon. Five of them flew back to their nests at Bremen. How did the birds find their way on that long journey, which they had never made before? That is the great puzzle. It is no good saying that swallows (or dogs) have a ‘ sense of direction’ or an ‘instinct to go home’. These are just words, and explain nothing. We want to know exactly what senses the animals use to find their way, how they know in which direction to go until they can see familiar landmarks. Unfortunately practically no scientific experiments have yet been made on this question.

Perhaps migrating birds are the greatest mystery of all. Swallows leave England in August and September, and they fly to Africa, where they stay during the winter period in England. The swallows return to England in the spring, to nest. There are other birds too that leave England in the late summer for the south. A lot has been found out about the journeys of migrating birds by making by marking the birds with aluminium rings put on one leg. An address and a number is put on the ring.

  1. What is this passage about?
  2. Why were the swallows marked with a red dye?
  3. What two methods of identifying birds have been mentioned in this passage?
  4. What facts about homing or migrating birds are difficult to explain?
  5. What phrases are used to describe the ‘homing’ instincts of birds?
  6. Why do you think dogs return home?
  7. Write one word for each of the following from the passage:
    1. (a)natural inborn tendency to behave in a certain way.
    2. (b)object, etc. easily seen and recognized from a distance
  8. Do as directed:
    1. No scientific experiments have yet been made on this question. (Rewrite without the word ‘no’.)
    2. An address and a number is put on the ring. (Change the voice).
This post is published by Stanley John-  He has over 25 years of experience in Teaching English,Spoken English, Personality Development, Interview Skills. If you would like to connect with him, please drop in your comments down here.
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