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ACT Reading Test - 6

Reading Questions

DIRECTIONS: The passage in this test is followed by several questions. After reading the passage, choose the best answer to each question. You may refer to the passage as often as necessary.

" The Gulls of Salt Lake" At last. They were safe. A brave little company of pioneers from the Atlantic coast crossed the Mississippi River. They finally succeeded in climbing to the top of the great Rockies and down again into a valley in the very midst of the mountains. It was a valley of brown, bare, desert soil, in a climate where almost no rain falls. But the snow on the mountain-tops sent down little streams of pure water; the winds were gentle. Like a blue jewel at the foot of the western hills was a marvelous lake of salt water, an inland sea. Some wanted to keep going, but most said, this is where we should live-the journey is accomplished. So the pioneers settled there and built themselves huts and cabins so they could survive the first winter.

They were used to challenges. It had taken them many months to make the terrible trip. Many had died of illness on the way; then many died of hardship during the winter. The supplies they had brought in their wagons were so nearly gone that, by spring, they were living partly on roots, dug from the ground. All their lives now depended on the crops they could raise in the valley. They made the barren land fertile bringing mud from the river to the dry land, and creating irrigation channels. They planted corn and grain and vegetables, and everyone collaborated. Then it was an anxious time as they watched for the plants to grow, with hopes, and prayers, and careful eyes.

In good time the brown earth was covered with a carpet of tender, green, growing things. No farmer's garden could have looked better than the great garden of the desert valley. And from day to day the little plants grew and flourished till they were all well above the ground-they had succeeded. James, who was the head of the group, said, "We finally will have all the food we need. We have achieved our goal."

Then a terrible thing happened. One day, the men who were watering the crops saw a great number of crickets swarming over the ground at the edge of the gardens nearest the mountains. They were hopping from the barren places into the young, green crops, and as they settled down they ate the tiny shoots and leaves to the ground. More came, and more, and ever more, and as they came they spread out till they covered a big corner of the grain field. Yet still more and more, till it was like an army of black, hopping, crawling crickets, streaming down the side of the mountain. James said, "Watch out, they're going to eat our food. We will be ruined."

Everyone tried to kill the crickets by beating them down, but the numbers were so great that it was like beating at the sea. Suddenly, from far off in the air toward the great salt lake, there was the sound of flapping wings. It grew louder. It looked like a white cloud rising from the lake, a flock of sea gulls flying toward them. Hundreds of gulls rose and circled and came on."The gulls! The gulls!" James cried. "They will rescue us. It is a miracle." The gulls flew overhead, with a shrill chorus of whimpering cries, and then, in a marvelous white cloud of outspread wings and hovering breasts, they settled down over the field. "Look, look," James said. "See! They are eating the crickets! They are saving our crop. We are restored."

It was true. The gulls ate the crickets, and when at last they finished, they had stripped the fields of that pest. The pioneers had moved to the right place after all. It had taken a lot of work, great determination, and courage. They had met and overcome obstacles, solved problems, and would survive. Without the gulls, what might have happened is not certain, but the future was secure, the pioneers were confident.

Center for Urban Education, DePaul University, ref:

1. James exclaimed, "We will be ruined" because
A) The crickets were destroying the crops, which would cause the settlers to lose everything they had worked for and possibly starve.
B) James was overreacting to the swarm of crickets.
C) The crickets symbolize the cycle of life, and they would be the death of the settlers.
D) James wanted everyone to believe that the crickets were going to ruin the crops so they would work harder.

2. As it is used in the passage, the simile "like beating at the sea" most likely means:
A) Like swimming quickly against the waves.
B) Like trying to hit something so big it does no good.
C) Like hitting water with a paddle.
D) Like swimming with the current of the sea.

3. According to the passage, why did the pioneers settle in a valley that had no rainfall?
A) They felt safe there because they were surrounded by mountains.
B) Some of the pioneers felt like this was where they should settle, so they did.
C) They knew that they could grow crops there
D) They were too tired to move any more.

4. As it is used in the passage, collaborated most likely means:
A) studied the land.
B) worked hard.
C) worked together.
D) planted crops.

5. How long did it take the settlers to reach their destination?
A) One month.
B) One year.
C) Several years.
D) Several months.

An African Heritage in Chicago
Fidelis Umeh was born in Nigeria and lived there through his high school years. Fidelis Umeh grew up with strong family values of the traditions of the Ibos, a culture within Nigeria. "One thing that we Nigerians, particularly the Ibos, have taught us from youth is the value of education. It is paramount. And the drive to succeed--my culture says that each person must work very hard and that is essential to success, which is very important. And we have support from family that keeps us going when things are difficult. Sometimes perseverance can make the difference between success and failure."

He moved to the United States when he went to college. After he finished college, he stayed connected to his family in Nigeria. He returned to Nigeria at least once a year. But he made his home and career in this country. He became a business leader.

Fidelis Umeh has succeeded in the business community, which some people see as a separate culture all of its own. He planned projects. He designed systems. He brought new ideas to businesses. He has been president of a company that employs hundreds of highly skilled individuals. At the same time, he kept his commitment to his original culture.

In 1991, he founded a group to support Nigerians in Chicago. "I formed a group of Nigerians to be an anchor for them that will fit into the American society but at the same time will give them something to fall back on in times of adversity. I feel it is a strength, it allows us to be individuals."

"It has one goal, which is to bridge the gap between our people and the people in America. The target is to build an anchor where the Nigerians can feel their identity and at the same time become more connected to the Chicago scene. The problem that we have with our children is that either our children don't have an understanding of the Nigerian culture or an understanding of the American culture. The focus is on children through adolescence. The adults get to benefit from the network."

"We started with story-telling. We are telling the children the stories that our families have told for generations. Each story has a moral, an idea that it teaches the children. The children learn the moral. They also learn more about their own heritage. They will appreciate their heritage. They will realize that they have to work hard, too, to achieve progress."

With more than 15,000 Nigerians in Chicago today, the potential is very great. Fidelis Umeh said that "The vision of Enumbra is that the Nigerian community will bring the traits that are valued in their heritage as they join the American society. They will in fact be able to enrich the American culture."

Center for Urban Education at DePaul University ref:

6. Based on information in the passage, Fidelis Umeh can be described as
A) ambitious
B) lazy
C) pushy

7.The overall goal of the Enumbra program can be described as
A) Bringing children born in Nigeria together to teach them about their own culture.
B) An anchor to provide Nigerians with their own identity while also offering them assimilation into the American culture.
C) To teach Nigerian children to read in America.
D) A place for Nigerians to fall back on in times of adversity.

8. According to the passage, what do the Ibos feel leads to a successful life?

A) Moving to America.
B) Education and perseverance.
C) Being able to form a program for Nigerians.
D) Being an important business person.

9. What was the problem that led Fidelis Umeh to build the Enumbra program?
A) Nigerians were facing many problems because of their race.
B) Nigerians did not understand the American culture.
C) Nigerian children did not know their own culture nor did they know the American culture.
D) Nigerian adults were having trouble getting jobs in Chicago.

10. Based on the passage, why is the business community considered a separate culture all in its own?
A) The business community has people who grew up in business, and they have their own values.
B) The business community is full of people who live by a different set of rules.
C) The business community is a community that requires a specific knowledge set and has its own language.
D) The business community calls itself a culture to keep others out.

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