|Why the Sky
Is Far Away ................................. Click
Popular Sports Around the World .................... Click
After you have read each story or article, answer the questions in
the Answer Section.
story "Why the Sky Is Far Away" before answering Numbers
1 through 8 in the Answer Section.
looked at the food on his tray and made a face. "Macaroni and
cheese again," he said to his friend Brian. "They never
serve anything good for lunch."
Brian gave his own lunch a critical look and frowned. "You think
thats bad," he said, "Ive got peanut butter
and jelly again. Its the third time this week!"
They pushed the food aside. "We can get something at the burger
place after school," Ramon said. They concentrated on studying
for their English test instead of eating. English was next period,
and Mr. Friedman had a reputation for giving difficult tests. When
the bell rang, they dropped their uneaten lunches into the garbage.
Mr. Friedman was standing nearby. "Not hungry, guys?" he
asked. They shook their heads and hurried off to class.
When the test was over, there were still ten minutes left in the period.
Mr. Friedman stood at the front of the class.
"Before you leave today," he said, leaning against the desk,
"Id like to share an old African folktale with you. I think
youll find this one interesting. Its called Why
the Sky Is Far Away":
ago the sky was close to the Earth. Men and women did not have
to plant their own food. Instead, when they were hungry, they
just reached up and broke off a piece of the sky to eat. Sometimes
the sky tasted like ripe bananas. Other times it tasted like
roasted potatoes. The sky was always delicious.
People spent their time making beautiful cloth. They painted
beautiful pictures and sang songs at night. The grand king,
Oba, had a wonderful palace. His servants made beautiful shapes
out of pieces of sky.
Many people in the kingdom did not use the gift of the sky wisely.
When they took more than they could eat, the sky became angry.
Some people threw the extra pieces into the garbage.
Early one morning the angry sky turned dark. Black clouds hung
over the land, and a great sky voice said to all the people,
"You are wasting my gift of food. Do not take more than
you can eat. I dont want to see pieces of me in the garbage
anymore or I will take my gift away."
The king and the people trembled with fear. King Oba said, "Lets
be careful about how much food we take." For a long time,
all the people were careful.
But one man named Adami wasnt careful. At festival time,
he took so many delicious pieces of sky that he couldnt
eat them all. He knew he must not throw them away.
He tried to give the pieces to his wife. "Here, wife,"
Adami said. "You eat the rest."
"I cant," Adamis wife said. "Im
Adami asked all his children to help him eat the delicious pieces
of sky, but the children couldnt eat one more bite. So
Adami decided to try to hide the pieces at the bottom of the
Suddenly, the sky became angry and the clouds turned black.
"You have wasted my gift of food again," yelled the
sky. "This time I will go away so you cannot waste me anymore."
All of the people cried, "What will we eat? We might starve!"
The sky said, "You will have to learn how to plant crops
in the ground and hunt in the forests. If you work hard, you
may learn not to waste the gifts of nature."
Everyone watched as the sky sailed away. From that time on,
they worked hard to grow their food and cook their meals. They
always tried to remember not to waste the gifts of nature.
The bell rang for the next period. "Thats the end,"
Mr. Friedman said, smiling. He looked at Ramon and Brian.
"What did you think of the story?" he asked. They slouched
in their chairs and looked apologetic.
"We get the message," they said, smiling. "No more
lunches in the garbage!"
Now proceed to the Answer Section below.
article "Popular Sports Around the World" before answering
Numbers 9 through 16 in the Answer Section.
For centuries, people have been playing
kicking games with a ball. The game of soccer developed from some
of these early games. The English probably gave soccer its name and
its first set of rules. In European countries, soccer is called football
or association football. Some people believe that the name "soccer"
came from "assoc.," an abbreviation for the word association.
Others believe that the name came from the high socks that the players
Organized soccer games began in 1863. In soccer, two teams of eleven
players try to kick or head the ball into their opponents goal.
The goalie, who tries to keep the ball out of the goal, is the only
player on the field who is allowed to touch the ball with his or her
hands. The other players must use their feet, heads, and bodies to
control the ball.
Every four years, soccer teams around the world compete for the World
Cup. The World Cup competition started in 1930.
Brazil is the home of many great soccer players, including the most
famous player of all, Pelé. With his fast footwork, dazzling
speed, and great scoring ability, Pelé played for many years
in Brazil and then later in New York. During his 22 years in soccer,
he scored 1,281 goals and held every major record for the sport.
People in more than 140 countries around the world play soccer. It
is the national sport of most European and Latin American countries.
Soccer is definitely the worlds most popular sport!
James Naismith, a physical education teacher in Massachusetts, invented
basketball in 1891. Naismiths boss asked him to invent a game
that students could play indoors during bad weather. He wanted to
find a game that wasnt as physically rough as soccer, football,
Naismith attached peach baskets to a railing ten feet above the floor
at either end of the gym. The players used a soccer ball.
A person sat on a ladder next to each basket at either end of the
gym, and threw out the balls that landed in the baskets. Naismith
decided that having only five players on each team would keep the
game from getting too rough.
Two years later, metal hoops with net bags replaced the peach baskets.
Officials pulled a string on the nets to release the balls that went
in. In 1894, Naismith added the backboard behind each net and changed
to a larger ball. In 1913, people began using the bottomless nets
that are used today.
During a basketball game, two teams of five players each throw the
ball into two baskets at opposite ends of a court. Players bounce,
or dribble, the ball to the basket or pass the ball to teammates.
A team scores points by getting the ball into their teams basket.
The team with the highest score wins.
By the 1900s, basketball was the most popular indoor sport. Athletes
in approximately 130 countries play the game. Basketball is especially
popular in the United States, China, and Puerto Rico.
Baseball began in the United States in the early 1800s. Some people
believe that Abner Doubleday invented the game. Others think that
baseball came from an old British sport called rounders. Baseball
and rounders are very similar. However, in rounders the field players
throw the ball right at the runner. If the ball hits the runner, he
or she is out. In baseball, a field player just touches the ball to
the base or the running player to get the player out.
Todays baseball players use special equipment to help prevent
injuries. Field players wear baseball gloves to protect their hands.
The catcher wears a metal mask, a chest protector, and shin guards.
Batters wear plastic helmets to protect their heads.
Every spring in the United States, people of all ages play baseball
at local baseball fields. Its no wonder that baseball is called
the national pastime of the United States.
Now proceed to the Answer Section below.