is the Practice Reading Section.
Here is a list with pictures to help you locate the story and article
in the Reading Section and Answer Section.
Its All Clear Now ................................. Click
The Mystery of the Maya ..................... Click
Directions: It should take about 3045 minutes to read
the passages in this book and answer the 16 questions in the Answer
Section. Read each passage, then refer back to it as needed when answering
the questions in the Answer Section.
story "Its All Clear Now" and then answer Numbers
1 through 8 in the Answer Section.
all started at the beginning of fifth grade. At first, Carmen wasnt
really sure what was happening. In class, she had to squint to see
the blackboard clearly. She had to do the same thing when she read
street signs, or when she watched a movie. As the fuzziness got worse,
she became more and more worried. It was important for her to see
the notes and homework assignments the teacher put on the board.
It wasnt long before Carmen found herself squinting all the
time, but she didnt want anyone to know that she was having
a problem seeing. In class, she asked for a desk that was closer to
the blackboard. One day, her teacher said, "Carmen, are you all
right? Ive noticed you squinting a lot. Are you having trouble
seeing the board?"
Carmen shook her head. "Im fine, Mrs. Cruz," she said,
but she knew she couldnt pretend much longer.
At home, she had to sit closer and closer to the television in order
to see the picture. Her mother noticed her squinting as she watched
her favorite shows, and she began to get suspicious.
"Tomorrow Im calling the eye doctor to set up an appointment
for you," she said firmly. Carmen protested, but her mothers
mind was made up.
Three days later, Carmen had new glasses and instructions from her
doctor to wear them all the time. Carmen frowned in the car the whole
"All of the kids at school will think Im a nerd,"
she said. Her mother smiled and shook her head.
"You look just as beautiful with those glasses on as you do without
them," she said. But Carmen didnt believe her.
The next day, Carmen kept the glasses in her pocket as she walked
into the schoolyard. She avoided her friends and stood alone, feeling
Suddenly, she heard her friend Theresa shout.
Carmen ran over to the other girls. "Whats wrong?"
"My silver ring is gone!" Theresa cried. "My sister
sent it to me from California. Its very special and I cant
Carmen could tell that Theresa was very upset. They all looked for
the ring in the grassy area of the playground.
Carmen realized that she could search better if she could see better.
She took the glasses out of her pocket and put them on. The objects
and people around her came into sharp focus. She caught her breath.
Everything looked so different! So clear! She looked down at the ground
and a glimmer of silver caught her eye. It was the ring.
"Here it is," she shouted. "Ive found it!"
She handed it to Theresa, and Theresa slipped the ring back on her
"Thanks Carmen," she said. "I never thought we'd find
it." She paused. "Hey, I didnt know you wore glasses.
They look great!"
Carmen had forgotten that she was wearing the new glasses. "Thanks,"
she replied shyly.
As they walked back toward the school building, two more girls from
her class complimented her glasses. Carmen smiled. "Maybe wearing
glasses wont be so bad after all," she thought.
Now proceed to the Answer Section below.
article "The Mystery of the Maya" and then answer Numbers
9 through 16 in the Answer Section.
The Mayan Indians lived in Mexico for
thousands of years before the Spanish arrived in the 1500s. The Maya
were an intelligent, culturally rich people whose achievements were
many. They had farms, beautiful palaces, and cities with many buildings.
The Mayan people knew a lot about nature and the world around them.
This knowledge helped them to live a better life than most people
of that time, because they could use it to make their lives more comfortable
and rewarding. Knowledge about tools and farming, for instance, made
their work easier and more productive.
In ancient Mexico there were many small clearings in the forest. In
each clearing was a village with fields of corn, beans, and other
crops around it. To clear the land for farms, the Maya cut down trees
with stone axes. They planted seeds by digging holes in the ground
with pointed sticks. A farmer was able to grow crops that produced
food for several people. But not every Maya had to be a farmer. Some
were cloth makers, builders, or priests.
The Maya believed in many gods, including rain gods, sun gods, and
corn gods. The people built large temples to honor the Mayan gods.
Skillful workers built cities around these temples. It was difficult
for them to construct these cities, because they had no horses to
carry the heavy stone they used to build with. Workers had to carry
all of the building materials themselves. Today, many of these ancient
Mayan cities and temples are still standing.
Although the cities that the Maya built were beautiful, and the people
worked hard to build them, very few of the people lived in them. Usually,
only the priests lived in the cities.
The other people lived in small villages in the forests. Their houses
were much simpler than the elaborate structures in the cities. They
lived in small huts with no windows. The walls were made of poles
covered with dried mud, and the roof was made of grass or leaves.
Most Maya lived a simple life close to nature.
Measuring time was important to the Maya, so they developed a system
for measuring it accurately. Farmers needed to know when to plant
and harvest their crops. Mayan priests made a system to keep track
of time. They wrote numbers as dots (...) and bars (-). A dot was
one and a bar was five.
The Mayan priests studied the Sun, Moon, stars, and planets. They
made a calendar from what they learned. The year was divided into
18 months of 20 days each with five days left over. The Mayan calendar
was far more accurate than the European calendars of the time.
Around the year 800, the Maya left their villages and beautiful cities,
never to return. No one knows why this happened. They may have died
from an infectious disease. They may have left because the soil could
no longer grow crops. Archaeologists are still trying to find the
lost secrets of the Maya. They are still one of our greatest mysteries.
Now proceed to the Answer Section below.