Reading Comprehension

What is Reading Comprehension?

Reading comprehension is the act of understanding what you are reading.

Reading comprehension involves

  • Gaining knowledge from the information shared in the passage
  • Building a good vocabulary
  • Reviewing the writer’s ideas
  • Forming an opinion on the facts or the information in the passage
  • Appreciating the passage stylistically
  • Answering the questions asked at the end of the passage

Guidelines to Read a Passage

Comprehension: Prose

  • Read the passage thoroughly.
  • Identify the main idea and the supporting details of the passage.
  • Understand the first (introduction) and the last (conclusion) paragraph of the passage.
  • Identify the theme of each paragraph.
  • Identify the tone used in the passage.
  • Understand the author’s purpose and viewpoint.
  • Read the questions carefully.
  • Understand what is being asked in the questions.

Comprehension: Poetry

  • Read the poem thoroughly.
  • Identify the theme and the rhyme scheme of the poem.
  • Identify the figures of speech used.
  • Read the questions carefully.
  • Understand what is being asked in the questions.
  • Identify the imagery used by the poet.

Types of Comprehension Passages

A factual passage deals with facts usually shared in the form of reports, scientific articles and historical descriptions.

A literary passage consists of extracts from works of great writers and can be in the form of novels, short stories and poetry.

A discursive passage consists of articles which present an opinion or a reasoned
argument on a topic

Sample Comprehension Passages

Sample 1

Factual Passage

The first two years of life are a critical ‘window of opportunity‘. In this period, it is possible to prevent the largely irreversible damage which follows early childhood undernutrition. There are 805 million undernourished people in the world today. That means one in nine people do not get enough food to be healthy and lead an active life.

Hunger and malnutrition are in fact the number one risk to health worldwide—greater than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. Three-quarters of all hungry people live in rural areas, mainly in the villages of Asia and Africa. An estimated 146 million children in developing countries are underweight—the result of acute or chronic hunger. Poverty trap, lack of investment in agriculture, natural calamities, war and
displacement, unstable markets and food wastage are the major causes for the presence of hunger in the world. Hunger leads to malnutrition, which in turn causes diseases. Malnutrition is the largest single contributor to disease in the world, according to the UN’s Standing Committee on Nutrition (SCN).

Malnutrition at an early age leads to reduced physical and mental development during childhood. According to the World Bank, India is one of the highest ranking countries in the world for the number of children suffering from malnutrition. One of the major causes for malnutrition in India is gender inequality. Because of the low social status of Indian women, their diet often lacks in both quality and quantity. Women who suffer malnutrition are less likely to have healthy babies. In India, mothers generally lack proper knowledge in feeding children. Consequently, new born infants are unable to get adequate amount of nutrition from their mothers.

Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Bihar have very high rates of undernutrition. Studies show that individuals belonging to Hindu, Jain or Muslim backgrounds in India tend to be more malnourished than those from Sikh or Christian backgrounds. The Akshaya Patra Foundation runs the world’s largest NGO-run midday meal programme serving freshly cooked meals to over 1.3 million school children in government and government-aided schools in India. However, the challenge for all these programmes and schemes is how to increase efficiency, impact and coverage.

Questions

Q1) What are the causes of the presence of hunger in the world?
Q2) How does gender inequality lead to malnutrition in India?
Q3) What role does the Akshay Patra foundation play?
Q4) Where are the majority of the hungry people inhabited?
Q5) Which religious communities in India tend to be less malnourished?

Answers

A1) Poverty trap, lack of investment in agriculture, natural calamities, war and displacement, unstable markets and food wastage are the major causes for the presence of hunger in the world.
A2) Women in India have a low status because of which their diet often lacks both quality and quantity. This causes them to suffer malnutrition.
A3) The Akshaya Patra Foundation runs the world’s largest NGO-run midday meal programme serving freshly cooked meals to over 1.3 million schoolchildren in government and government-aided schools in India.
A4) Three-quarters of all hungry people live in rural areas, mainly in the villages of Asia and Africa.
A5) According to studies, individuals belonging to the Sikh or Christian communities are less malnourished than those from Hindu, Jain or Muslim backgrounds.

Sample 2

Literary Passage (Poem)

My teenybopper has a phone;
She really never is alone.
It beeps and jitters day and night,
Emitting tiny bluish light.
Her ringtone is the latest rage,
As other preteens text and page.
One-liner messages appear
That make her grin from ear to ear.
The latest crisis, who likes whom,
The rock star with the best perfume;
Such weighty matters cause her thrill
And elevate our monthly bill.
And yet, the silver lining glows,
For we have never come to blows.
I never have to raise my voice,
Because I have a high-tech choice.
If school assignments pile sky-high,
I exhale with a weighty sigh.
Like every modern mom who cares,
I simply telephone upstairs.
When chores demand her energies,
I simply text her, asking ―Please!
No alibis or missing word,
Because it‘s clear that she has heard.
And if my daughter goes outside
To visit friends, both far and wide,
Her curfew‘s easy to enforce
With her new cellular resource.
This beeping tether holds her close,
While helping her feel grandiose.
If separation e‘er occurs,
My speed-dial links my heart to hers.
Our handy cell phones help us out.
Convenient, easy, with no doubt.
Yes, certainly, they have their place.
But can‘t we talk once, face to face?

Questions

Q1) Why is the speaker‘s daughter never alone?
Q2) How does the speaker make sure that the assignments are completed?
Q3) Why can‘t the daughter make any excuse when she is asked for help by her mother?
Q4) How do you think cell phones have affected face-to-face communication?
Q5) Identify the figure of speech in If school assignments pile sky-high.

Answers

A1) The speaker‘s daughter is never alone because she always has a phone with her which keeps beeping, vibrating and emitting light all the time.
A2) The speaker is the mother of the ‗teenybopper‘ and uses the cell phone to her advantage. Whenever her daughter‘s school work is pending, the speaker doesn‘t hesitate to call her even if they are in the same house and ask her to complete the tasks.
A3) The mother smartly texts the daughter about the help needed on her cell phone. In this way, the daughter cannot make an excuse that she didn‘t hear her mother because everything is clearly written in the message.
A4) Cell phones are no doubt convenient and easy, but they do not show you the actual feelings of a person talking or texting. Thus, when we use cell phones to communicate, we might not be aware of the person‘s actual state of mind, which might make the communication ineffective.
A5) Hyperbole

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