I don't think I can study anymore



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"I don't think I can study anymore," complained Geiger. His friends ignored him as they continued to pore over their textbooks.
     "The test is tomorrow, G," Roentgen finally replied. "You should be grateful that Dr. Tesla gave us an extra day to study."
     "We should reward ourselves for our hard work with a trip to the Cupcake Factory," suggested Curie. Before her friends could reply, the fire alarm began to blare and the lights began flickering on and off.
     "Fire!" shouted Roentgen. "Let's all line up and get to the fire exit." He watched closely to make sure all of his friends were following him to safety.
     "It's every man for himself!" Geiger said, with panic in his voice. He shoved his friends aside and slammed the door in their faces.
     "What a hero," said Sievert sarcastically as she held the fire door open for Roentgen and Curie. "He didn't even wait to see if there is a real fire. For all we know, this could just be a fire drill."
     "Either way, we need to follow safety procedures," Roentgen said. "I hope Geiger makes it to the parking lot safely."
     "I can see why Principal Hertz made you safety officer," Sievert said. The three friends arrived at the parking lot and looked around expectantly, but Geiger was nowhere to be found.
     "Well, kids, the fire alarms are malfunctioning," Principal Hertz told the group a few moments later. "I'm afraid you'll have to stay out of the building for a while."
     "I think we should take Curie's suggestion and study at the Cupcake Factory," said Roentgen.
     "Sure," Sievert agreed with a smile. "We deserve a treat for staying calm in a serious situation."

     "Maybe Geiger will find us there," said Curie. "Although, he probably won't want to face us after he abandoned us in the middle of a fire alarm."

     "If he does show up, we are definitely making him pay for our cupcakes," Roentgen said with a grin. "It's the least he can do."
1. The character of Roentgen best demonstrates which of the following themes?



A.

Being honest, even when it's difficult, is the best option.






B.

Hard work and determination are the keys to success.






C.

True friends look out for each other's best interests.






D.

Strong leaders often have to make unpopular decisions.



2. The main theme of this passage can best be described as



A.

people must adapt to new situations in order to survive.






B.

survival is more important than courtesy in an emergency.






C.

emergencies can bring out the best and worst in people.






D.

friendships only grow stronger when they are tested.

     "Why are you staring at the mirror?" asked Rangoni as he entered his twin sister Marey's room. She frowned in annoyance as he plopped down on her bed and started thumbing through her comic books.

     "I am considering whether or not to get a haircut," Marey replied.
     "Are you crazy?" Rangoni asked. "You have been growing out your hair since you were three. I thought you loved having long hair."
     "I do love it," agreed Marey. "However, we are in a new state, in a new school, and in a new house. Everything is changing, so I might as well change, too." Rangoni stared thoughtfully out the window.
     "I know how you feel," he said. "I am worried about fitting in at our new school. I thought I might sell my motorcycle and buy a used car. What if I am the only student at school with a motorcycle? I don't want to feel out of place."
     "That is a ridiculous plan," exclaimed Marey. "You love your motorcycle more than anything! Uncle Vanya left it to you, and I know it has sentimental value. Who cares if none of your new friends have motorcycles? You don't have to throw away the past to embrace the future."
     "I guess you're right," Rangoni admitted. "I suppose you'll keep your long hair, then?" Marey laughed and tugged on her long ponytail.
     "Maybe I will, or maybe I won't," she told her brother. "I've always been better at giving advice than taking it."

3. Authors often include multiple themes in their writing. One theme expressed in this passage is



A.

change can cause people to question their identities.




B.

vanity can cause people to be insensitive to others' pain.






C.

family relationships are more important than anything.






D.

new students are often bullied and harassed at school.


4. Which statement from the story best demonstrates the passage's theme?



A.

"You don't have to throw away the past to embrace the future."




B.

"You have been growing out your hair since you were three."






C.

"I've always been better at giving advice than taking it."






D.

"You love your motorcycle more than anything!"


Study Break
by J. Robbins

     "I hope you guys are hungry," called Vera as she brought a tray of snacks from her kitchen into the living room. Her friends barely looked up from their textbooks.


     "I'm too worried about this test to be hungry," Nesky moaned dramatically. "I usually love to try new foods, but stress is making me sick. I may never eat again!"
     "You'll change your mind once you taste a pelmeni," Vera told him. "My grandmother taught me how to make them, and they are delicious. You'll study better once you have a full stomach."
     "These look disgusting!" said Raul rudely. "Why couldn't you make pizza rolls or something normal for us to eat?" His sister Schmi swatted the back of his head with her notebook.

     "You are too stressed over this test, and it is causing you to treat your friends badly," Schmi said. "Pizza rolls are normal snacks at our house, but that doesn't mean they are normal snacks for everyone. Vera is from Russia, and her grandmother is teaching her to cook traditional Russian food. I think it's great!" Vera smiled gratefully at her friend's supportive words.

     "I guess I could try one," muttered Raul as he reached for a pelmeni.
     "These snacks remind me of my mother's pierogis," Nesky said through a mouthful of food. "She is from Poland, though, so how could her food taste like Russian food?"
     "Many cultures make dumplings similar to pelmeni," replied Vera. "Dumplings filled with spicy meat are popular all over the world."
     "I can't believe it," Raul said, sitting up straight in his chair. "These dumplings are tasty! Pelmeni may look like little rocks, but they are even better than pizza rolls."
     "It sounds like you've convinced my brother to widen his cultural horizons after all," laughed Schmi.
     "I never would have guessed by looking at Raul that he could be so open-minded," Vera replied with a wink.
5. Authors often include multiple themes in their writing. One theme expressed in this passage is



A.

family traditions can alienate people from their friends.






B.

family members are more forgiving than friends are.




C.

people are often judged unfairly by their close friends.






D.

people's behavior can be affected by their emotions.


6. Which of the following best describes a theme expressed in this passage?



A.

People should learn about life from their friends, not from textbooks.






B.

Sometimes humor is the only way to overcome conflicts between friends.




C.

People from different cultures have more in common than they realize.






D.

Most people have prejudiced beliefs about people from other cultures.


7. One of the themes of this passage is "appearances can be deceiving." How does the character of Raul demonstrate this theme?



A.

He convinces his friends to try eating pizza rolls as afternoon snacks.






B.

He thinks Russian food is identical to Polish food until Vera corrects him.




C.

He is rude to Vera until he realizes that she is a generous person.






D.

He believes pelmeni are disgusting until he tries one and enjoys it.


The Deserted Child
by Isabel C. Byrum

     “Why, woman, you are not thinking of leaving that child in this place for us to look after! Our hands are more than full already. The child is scarcely a month old. We have orders to accept no children under seven months of age without their mothers. You have to remain for that length of time to help us care for it.”


     It was August Engler, steward of the county poorhouse, that spoke these words to Mrs. Fischer, a young woman who had come to the poorhouse with the intention of leaving her infant child.
     Mrs. Fischer had recently lost her husband, a soldier in the Civil War, in battle and immediately had gone into deep mourning as far as her dress was concerned. The care of her child, however, she felt was too great a responsibility to assume alone, and she had decided that the best thing to do was to give her child away and that the sooner it was done the better.

     To conceal the fact that the poorhouse was a miserable place to stay would have been impossible, but regardless of consequences, the selfish mother cared only to be freed from her burdens and responsibilities as a mother. So the answer that Mr. Engler gave her only stirred within her evil heart the anger and cruelty already there. She took a step toward a hard couch, threw the bundle she held in her arms upon it, and disappeared through the open doorway. When Mr. Engler recovered from his surprise and went to look for her, he saw her running up the road as fast as her feet would carry her.

     Mr. Engler left his wife in charge of the little one while he set out to find the runaway mother. The task proved to be difficult, but at last she was returned to the infirmary and was given orders by the authorities not to repeat the offense of deserting her baby.
     As the people at the poorhouse sometimes caused trouble by running off, large balls of iron had been provided to chain their feet. It was thought best to use this method of securing Mrs. Fischer.
     Mrs. Engler hoped that among the other mothers, Mrs. Fischer would grow to love her child, but such a heartless woman could not be expected to do her duty. Scolding and criticizing the mother did neither the mother nor the child any good. As the days and weeks glided by, it was as Mrs. Engler had feared, and the cruel manner in which the babe was handled was pitiful to behold.
     Seven months passed, and the day of Mrs. Fischer’s departure arrived. Her pretty costume of black was faded and worn, and the glossy hair was tangled and unkempt, but within the eye the light of evil was shining brighter than ever. It was indeed a glad moment for her when she heard the chains about her ankles clanking heavily upon the floor, and she knew that she was once more a free woman and could go and do as she pleased. And without a thought for the comfort or a plan for the future of her helpless child, she left him.

8. This passage shows that



A.

the majority is always right.




B.

no good can come from war.






C.

one cannot be forced to love.






D.

sacrifice brings happiness.


9. Which excerpt shows the theme of selfishness through Mrs. Fischer's characterization?



A.

"As the people at the poorhouse sometimes caused trouble by running off, large balls of iron had been provided to chain their feet. It was thought best to use this method of securing Mrs. Fischer."




B.

". . . she knew that she was once more a free woman and could go and do as she pleased. And without a thought for the comfort or a plan for the future of her helpless child, she left him."






C.

"Mrs. Fischer had recently lost her husband, a soldier in the Civil War, in battle and immediately had gone into deep mourning as far as her dress was concerned."






D.

"Seven months passed, and the day Mrs. Fischer's departure arrived. Her pretty costume of black was faded and worn, and the glossy hair was tangled and unkempt. . . ."




Full of Envy and Jealousy
by Diane Tran

Flipping through my magazine,


I saw the newest beauty queen,
With flawless skin and golden hair.
Oh how I wished to be as fair!

Next I glimpsed a five-page spread.


On one star’s home in France it said,
“Twelve Stunning Rooms, a Private Niche.”

If only I could be so rich!

I turned the page and then read

That two celebs were soon to wed.
The headline: “Match Made From Above.”
Oh how I wished to fall in love!

Full of envy and jealousy,


I went to sit and watch TV.
On channel four, the news report:
“Country in War that Needs Support.”

Ragged, old men with nowhere to go,


Abandoned children all full of woe,
Young soldiers burnt and racked with disease,
Grieving mothers brought down to their knees.

How foolish I was to wallow in greed


When there is nothing more I really need.




10. Which lines show how the author supports the theme of self-indulgence in popular culture?



A.

"On one star's home in France it said, / 'Twelve Stunning Rooms, a Private Niche.' "






B.

"How foolish I was to wallow in greed / When there is nothing more I really need."




C.

"On channel four, the news report: / 'Country in War that Needs Support.' "






D.

"Abandoned children all full of woe, / Young soldiers burnt and racked with disease,"


11. Which of these lines from the poem most directly states its main theme?



A.

"Full of envy and jealousy, / I went to sit and watch TV."






B.

"With flawless skin and golden hair. / Oh how I wished to be as fair!"




C.

"Ragged, old men with nowhere to go, / Abandoned children all full of woe,"






D.

"How foolish I was to wallow in greed / When there is nothing more I really need."






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