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WorkbookEdition 6 the birthday gift

READTHEORY

Passage and Questions

Name________________
Date________________

• Reading Comprehension Assessment
Directions: Read the passage. Then answer the questions below.

The Birthday Gift
For his seventh birthday, Rashard was given a gift that would
define his life. His father took him to a music store and told Rashard he
could pick out any instrument he wanted. There was just one
requirement. Rashard would have to promise he would learn to play.
To that point, Rashard had not had much interest in music. He
liked the songs he heard on the radio in his parents’ car. But he had not
had any real interest in learning music. Rashard was far more
interested in playing video games or occasionally baseball with his
friends. He had never once thought about playing an instrument. It was
hard for him to pick one on his birthday.

Shopping Around
Not knowing where to start, Rashard wandered the music store. In the front of the store, he saw
all the pianos. Though Rashard’s family did not live in poverty, he knew they were also not rich. He knew
that a piano was too expensive to be his gift, so he walked past the piano room.
Next, he found a wall filled with brass instruments. There was a tuba, a saxophone, a trumpet,
and something he could not identify. The salesman said it was a French horn. Rashard was not interested
in any of those either, because he did not want to put his mouth on anything.
He moved on to the large room filled with acoustic guitars, electric guitars, and basses. He could
imagine himself playing those. The salesman in the guitar room took one of the acoustic guitars down and
let Rashard play it. Rashard had no clue how to go about playing it, so the salesman taught him a chord.
The only problem was that Rashard’s hands were too small to fit around the neck of the instrument!
Making the Choice
Realizing he would not be able to play a guitar, Rashard moved into the next room of the music
store. There, he found stringed instruments other than guitars. He picked up a violin, and he realized it
was the perfect size for his small hands!
Rashard kept his promise to his dad. He took lessons at the very same store he purchased the
violin, and he continues to play it as an adult.
Though Rashard has since purchased nicer violins, he always remembered the first one his
father purchased for him. It was easily the most important gift Rashard ever received. As his father put it,
“The gift of music is better than any video game you wanted when you were seven.”
1) The last sentence in paragraph 2 reads, “It was hard for him to pick one on his birthday.” Which of the
following words or phrases would best introduce this sentence?
A.
B.
C.
D.

Despite this
However
Because of this
By comparison

2) Based on its use in paragraph 3, the word poverty is best defined as a lack of
A. internet
B. size


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Questions



C. money
D. talent
3) According to the passage, Rashard’s decision to purchase the violin was most strongly influenced by
A.
B.
C.
D.

the price of the violin
the size of the violin
the difficulty of playing the violin
the sound the violin made

4) Rashard sees each of the following instruments at the music store EXCEPT
A.
B.
C.
D.

a guitar
a viola
a tuba
a piano

5) It can be assumed from the passage that Rashard’s father
A.
B.
C.
D.

played the violin
did not like video games
was wealthy
valued music

6) At the end of the passage, we learn that Rashard’s father believes that “the gift of music is better than
any video game you wanted when you were seven.” Do you agree with his statement? Why or why
not?
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7) In this passage, Rashard’s father gives Rashard a gift that, although expensive, provides joy to
Rashard for the rest of his life. In what ways have your parents supported your talents and passions?
Have they bought you instruments and lessons like Rashard’s family? Do they take you to practices
or rehearsals? How do their contributions make you feel?
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Questions

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8) Rashard goes to the music store with no idea what kind of instrument he’d like to learn. He makes his
decision without a lot of planning in advance. What do you think of this decision-making style? Would
you have acted the same way Rashard did, or do you usually plan big decisions in advance? Why?
Explain your opinions and preferences below.
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Answers and Explanations

1) C
Question Type: Inference
The second-to-last sentence of paragraph 2 states that Rashard “had never once thought about playing an instrument.” The last
sentence of the paragraph states that he could not pick an instrument on his birthday. This seems to suggest a cause-and-effect
relationship. The second-to-last sentence presents a fact, and the one after that a result of that fact. Since Rashard had never
thought about playing an instrument, he had difficulty picking one on his birthday. As such, the best transition phrase would be
“because of this.” That phrase makes the cause-and-effect relationship clear. It also makes choice (C) correct. The final two
sentences of paragraph 2 flow together. In fact, the last one seems to present an effect for the second-to-last one. Because of this,
“despite this” would not make a good transition. “Despite this” would be used to link two sentences that contrast each other. This
means choice (A) is not correct. The final two sentences of paragraph 2 flow together. In fact, the last one seems to present an
effect for the second-to-last one. Because of this, “however” would not make a good transition. “However” would be used to link two
sentences that contrast each other. This means choice (B) is not correct. The final two sentences of paragraph 2 flow together. In
fact, the last one seems to present an effect for the second-to-last one. Because of this, “by comparison” would not make a good
transition. “By comparison” would be used to link two sentences that compare two things. This means choice (D) is not correct.
2) C
Question Type: Vocabulary
poverty (noun): the state of being extremely poor or of having little money.
In paragraph 3, the narrator states that, “though Rashard’s family did not live in poverty, he knew they were also not rich.” This sets
up a comparison between being rich and being in poverty. It implies they are opposites. Because of this, poverty must be a lack of
money or wealth. This means that choice (C) is correct. Much of the passage is about Rashard’s interest in purchasing a musical
instrument. However, there is no suggestion that poverty is a lack of interest, since the passage only compares poverty to wealth.
Because of this, choice (A) is not correct. Paragraph 5 talks about Rashard’s size, but this question asks about a word used in
paragraph 3. Because of this, choice (B) is not correct. The passage never discusses talent or Rashard’s lack of talent. Because of
this, choice (D) is not correct.
3) B
Question Type: Global
In paragraph 5, the narrator states that Rashard wanted to get a guitar but that his hand was too small for it. Then, in paragraph 6,
the passage states that Rashard “picked up a violin, and he realized it was the perfect size for his small hands!” This makes it clear
that Rashard mostly chose the violin because of its size. Because of this, choice (B) is correct. The passage never describes the
price of the violin. It only discusses the price of the piano. As such, choice (A) is not correct. The passage never discusses the
difficulty of playing the violin. Because of this, choice (C) is not correct. The passage never actually describes the sound of the
violin. In fact, it never describes the sounds any of the instruments made. Because of this, choice (D) is not correct.
4) B
Question Type: Detail
The answer to this detail question can be found in the middle four paragraphs of the passage, under the headings of “Shopping
Around” and “Making the Choice.” In those sections, the narrator describes Rashard seeing:
• pianos (paragraph 3)
• brass instruments: “a tuba, a saxophone, a trumpet, and… a French horn” (paragraph 4)
• “acoustic guitars, electric guitars, and basses” (paragraph 5)
• a violin (paragraph 6)
The only instrument not listed in the passage is the viola. This means choice (B) is correct. In the fifth paragraph, Rashard sees
“acoustic guitars, electric guitars, and basses.” Because of this, choice (A) is not correct. In the fourth paragraph, Rashard sees
“brass instruments” including a tuba. Because of this, choice (C) is not correct. In the third paragraph, Rashard sees “all the pianos.”
That makes choice (D) is not correct.
5) D
Question Type: Inference
The passage only says two things about Rashard’s father. In the first paragraph, the father offers to buy Rashard a musical
instrument if Rashard learned how to play it. Second, in the last sentence, the father is quoted as saying “The gift of music is better
than any video game you wanted when you were seven.” These suggest that Rashard’s father valued music, as he considered it a
“gift” and something important for Rashard to understand and know how to play. Because of this, choice (D) is correct. Though
Rashard learns how to play the violin his father purchases him, the passage never states that Rashard’s father played the violin too.
Because of this, choice (A) is not correct. Though Rashard’s father considers the violin a better gift “than any video game,” the
passage does not suggest that Rashard’s father did not like video games. Thinking music is better than video games are is not the
same thing as disliking video games completely. Because of this, choice (B) is not correct. The passage actually makes it clear that
Rashard’s father was not wealthy. In the third paragraph, the narrator states that “Rashard’s family did not live in poverty” but “were
also not rich.” This means choice (C) is not correct.



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