Character Traits
Text Structure
Context Clues
Cause & Effect
Main Idea

Jake is Cassie's older brother.  One day they are walking home from school when a cold front rolls in and the temperature drops 20 degrees.  Jake is dressed more appropriately for the weather than Cassie.  He takes off his hooded sweatshirt and offers it to her.  She gratefully accepts. Jake is now colder, but he is happier. 

What kind of character is Jake?

What is kind, considerate, or loving


The Best PB & J Ever

When I got home from school after a long boring day, I took out the peanut butter, jelly, and bread.  After taking the lid off of the jars, I spread the peanut butter on one side of the bread and the jelly on the other, and then I put the two pieces of bread together.  After that, I enjoyed it while watching “Cops” on the TV.  I swear, that was the best peanut butter and jelly sandwich I ever ate.  

What text structure did this author use?

What is chronological order.


John was so hungry that he didn’t leave a single particle of the muffin on the plate.

Particle means...

What is a very small piece.


I got a tummy ache when I ate too much ice cream.

What is the cause?

What is I ate too much ice cream.


Being a clown isn't all fun and games. Rodeo clowns expose themselves to great danger every time they perform. When cowboys dismount or bulls buck them off, rodeo clowns jump in front of the bulls and motion wildly to get their attention. In this way rodeo clowns provide an alternate target, and in doing so protect the rider. Of course, this is a very dangerous thing to do. So you see, sometimes clowning around can be serious business.

What is the main idea?

What is rodeo clowns protect cowboys by putting themselves in danger.


Orson sat on the couch. He wanted to change the television station, but the controller was all the way at the end of the couch by his feet. Orson sort of scooted toward it and attempted to grab it with his feet. The controller fell and landed several feet away from him. Orson quit trying to change the channel and just watched whatever was playing.

What character trait does Orson demonstrate?

What is lazy, easily discouraged, quitter


Many people are confused about why our economy went to shambles in 2008.  The crisis was actually the result of a combination of many complex factors.  First, easy credit conditions allowed people who were high-risk or unworthy of credit to borrow, and even people who had no income were eligible for large loans.  Second, banks would bundle these toxic loans and sell them as packages on the financial market. Third, large insurance firms backed these packages, misrepresenting these high-risk loans as safe investments.  Fourth, because of the ease of acquiring credit and the rapid growth in the housing market, people were buying two or three houses, intending to sell them for more than they paid.  All of these factors created bubbles of speculation.  These bubbles burst, sending the whole market into a downward spiral, causing employers to lose capital and lay off employees.  Consumer spending then plummeted and most businesses suffered.  The economy is like a big boat, and once it gets moving quickly in the wrong direction, it’s hard to turn it around.  

The text structure for this passage is...

What is Cause and Effect


Even though John had a good job and a nice family, he yearned for more. 

Yearned means...

What is wanting something.


Peter walked quickly down the dark street.  It was very quiet.  Suddenly, a dog howled.  Peter walked even faster after that.
CAUSE: A dog howled.
What was the EFFECT?

What is Peter walked even faster..


What do you get when you cross a robot and an astronaut?  A Robonaut!  Robonauts are robot helpers designed to work side-by-side with astronauts.  Work on the first Robonaut began in 1997, and by 2002 Robonaut B was revealed to the public.  Robonaut B featured interchangeable lower bodies, like four-wheel mode or hydraulic legs. Yet scientists and engineers continued to improve Robonaut.  In February of 2010, Robonaut 2 was released to the public.  Robonaut 2 moved four times faster than the first Robonaut.  An advanced version of Robonaut 2 was finally tested in outer space in 2011.  Robonaut 2 functioned exactly as designed.

The main idea is...

What is Robonauts have improved over the years.


It was the bottom of the ninth inning and the home team was down by one.  There was a man on second base when Bruce stepped up to the plate.  Bruce pointed to right field.  The pitcher threw his fastball.  Bruce got a hold of it and sent it flying to right field.  The home team won.

What character trait does Bruce demonstrate? 

What is talented, confident, show off


Dr. Miller doesn’t want the tigers to vanish.  These majestic beasts are disappearing at an alarming rate.  Dr. Miller thinks that we should write to our congress people.  If we let them know that we demand the preservation of this species, maybe we can make a difference.  Dr. Miller also thinks that we should donate to Save the Tigers.  Our donations will help to support and empower those who are fighting the hardest to preserve the tigers.  We owe it to our grandchildren to do something.

The text structure for this passage is...

What is Problem and Solution


On the way to her room after just having been grounded, Tammy murmured something under her breath.

Another word for murmur is...

What is to mumble


Jason and Kate were not alone on the path.  They could hear footsteps behind them.  "Walk quickly," whispered Jason.  "I think somebody is following us."
EFFECT: Jason thought somebody was following him.
What was the CAUSE?

What is He could hear footsteps.


My grandma may not look very strong, but with the help of hydraulic power, she can stop a car with her foot. How does hydraulic power work? First, fluid is rapidly released into a chamber through a valve. As the fluid collects, the valve is slammed shut. This causes a pressure spike, but since the chamber is sealed, the pressure has nowhere to go. The hydraulic mechanism channels the pressure and provides great power. And that’s how, with the help of hydraulics, my grandma can stop a speeding car with one foot.  

The main idea is...

What is automation is both good and bad 


When Kaitlin got to Patrick's apartment, she noticed a foul smell. She looked around and saw several half-filled cans of soda and some uncooked chicken breasts that had gone bad in a pan in the kitchen.  She also noticed that all the lights and televisions were on and that Patrick wasn't home.

What character trait does Patrick demonstrate? 

What is wasteful, laxy, or spoiled.


A hurricane is a large storm with heavy winds and rain that begins in the ocean and builds up strength as it moves across the water. While some of the damage caused by hurricanes is from high winds, most of it is usually from tidal surge, flooding entire cities, and killing large numbers of people. A tornado is a storm that develops on land, with no warning, and moves in a circular motion with heavy winds with a funnel shape, picking up and carrying dirt, dust, and even objects. The damage caused by tornadoes is from the high velocity winds, which are extremely destructive and deadly. They can demolish entire neighborhoods in a matter of a few seconds to a few minutes.  Tornadoes can form when hurricanes make landfall, as their winds at ground level slow down, while the winds near the top keep their momentum, but a hurricane cannot be created by a tornado.  

The text structure for this passage is...

What is compare and contrast


After the bird escaped, Chris tried to coax it back into the cage with treats.  

Coax means...

What is to gently persuade


Little Johnny Wiggins fell down a well on the farm.  His family looked for him.  Finally, at sundown, Mr. Wiggins found Johnny.  He had been trapped in the well for three hours.
CAUSE: Johnny Wiggins fell down a well.
What was the EFFECT?

What is He was trapped for three hours.


Fellow Members of the Springfield Robotics Club: we have a problem. It has come to my attention that the workshop has been left an absolute mess on at least two separate occasions. Remember, that this is a shared space, so we must clean up behind ourselves after every meeting.  It is in the spirit of keeping our club meeting space that we establish this rule: when you take a tool off the rack, put it back.  If everyone puts their tools back immediately after using them, there will be minimal mess to clean up, and we won't get kicked out of the spot.  So, if you like having a meeting place, and being part of our club, put your tools back.

The main idea is...

What is a new way to clean up for those in a robotics club.


The teacher told the students that they were not to start testing until everyone received all testing materials. He went on to explain that the test booklet was to remain sealed until he had read through all the directions. Immediately after receiving the test booklet, Chris raised his hand and asked if he could start the test.

What character trait does Chris demonstrate?

What is inattentive


Avalanches (when a lot of snow falls from a mountain) may bury people under them. If the people are not found rapidly enough by rescue teams they will die of suffocation (not getting enough air) or of hypothermia (freezing cold).  The chance of surviving an avalanche is as follows:

  • •    92% if found within 15 minutes
  • •    30% if found within 35 minutes (victims die of suffocation)
  • •    nearly zero after two hours (victims die of injuries and hypothermia)

How is the text structured?

What is cause and effect


Joanne’s mother came up to the school to get the cell phone the teacher had confiscated.

Another word for confiscated is...

What is taken


It was not until after World War II that large numbers of Puerto Ricans began migrating to the United States mainland. In 1945, the year the war ended, Puerto Rico had been experiencing economic hardship. Puerto Rico’s population was increasing, and there were fewer jobs available. Travel between Puerto Rico and the U.S. mainland also became much more affordable. Therefore, many Puerto Ricans moved to New York City in hopes of a better life. In a single decade (1950-1960), almost half a million Puerto Ricans migrated to the U.S. mainland.

Which two events were reasons why Puerto Ricans migrated to the U.S. mainland?

A. Puerto Rico had fewer jobs available.

B. Travel between Puerto Rico and the U.S. mainland was cheaper.

C. Puerto Rico was having an economic boom.

D. The war had ended.

What is A and B


As young Americans mature into adults, they are tempted by the allure of easy credit.  Credit card companies attempt to ensnare young people by giving away "free" headphones or sports towels in return for completing credit applications. Many of these young people go on to accumulate debt through undisciplined spending.  They pay much more than the original loan because they are charged a high rate of interest and it takes them years to repay their debts.  It is best to avoid this debt prison altogether.  

The main idea is...

What is how young people can go into debt.

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