Sunday, March 20, 2011


C. Reading

The ability to read quickly and accurately is an essential skill.Reading slowly will not improve comprehension because we are interested not in the meanings of separate words but in the meaning of a whole passage or sentence. Accuracy is of great importance if you are studying a scientific document.

I. Interpreting what is read

The following is an extract from an interview given by Indian born American astronaut Kalpana Chawla just before taking off on her final mission. Read through it carefully but as quickly as you can and then try to answer the comprehension questions with as little reference as possible to the passage.

‘ “I was not born for one corner. The whole world is my native land.” So said Seneca, the philosopher. I have felt that connection and stewardship for Earth for as long as I can remember. And not just for Earth, but the whole universe. In summers, while growing up in India, we often slept in the courtyard under the stars. We gazed dreamily at the Milky Way, and once in a while caught some shooting stars. Times like those gave me the opportunity to wonder and ask all those very basic questions. That sense of awe for the heavens started there. The family and the surrounding community were mostly folks who had come to the area after Partition, most of them without many possessions. You couldn’t lose by working hard and everyone seemed to follow that rule. It helped instil the notion that no matter what the circumstances, you could indeed follow your dreams.

The central element of success, in one word – is perseverance.There have been other factors too, like reading and exploring, that have helped widen perspectives and enriched the journey.

My message for Indian children is that material interests are not the only guiding light. It is something you’d enjoy doing in the long run. Take time to figure out how to get there. The quickest way may not necessarily be the best. The journey matters as much as the goal. Listen to the sounds of nature. Wishing you the best on your trek towards your dreams. Take good care of our fragile planet.’

Task 1:Answer the questions by saying whether true (T) or false (F):

1. Kalpana Chawla believed that she was a citizen of the world. ( ___ )
2. She did not feel a sense of responsibility for the Earth and the universe. ( ___ )
3. During winter she slept in the courtyard under the stars. (___ )
4. Chawla’s fascination with space began when she was in the USA. ( ___ )
5. Chawla’s family & surrounding community were very rich people. ( ___ )
6. ‘You couldn’t lose by working hard’, was the rule followed by the community Chawla belonged to. ( ___ )
7. Three things, according to Chawla, led to success – perseverance, reading and exploring. ( ___ )
8. Material prosperity is of prime importance. ( ___ )
9. The quickest way is always the best. ( ___ )
10. For Chawla the goal was more important than the journey. ( ___ )

Task 2: Scan through the passage and find the words whose synonyms are given below:

1. home land:
2. thinker:
3. managing:
4. open space:
5. galaxy:
6. meteor:
7. sense of amazement:
8. separation:
9. belongings:
10. determination:
11. point of view:
12. delicate:

Task 3: Read the passage carefully and answer the following questions in one or two sentences:

1. Which lines tell you that Kalpana Chawla’s fascination for space began at an early age?
2. What experience paved the way for a career in NASA?
3. Why was the concept of dreaming important to her?
4. What was the message she had for future generations?
5. What highlights her great sense of responsibility?

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