Reading Comprehension - Practice Papers 3

 CBSE Class 11 English Core

Section ­ A


  1. Read the following passage carefully and answer the questions that follow:

    I saw heaps of plastic (cups and foam plates) being burnt at the Trade Fair. Chemicals and toxins were released in the air — you could smell the foul odour from a kilometre. The fire smouldered on for hours, releasing poisonous fumes slowly in the air.
    Then I stopped in my tracks when I saw hot, boiling tea being poured into a plastic bag to be carried to a nearby construction site. They pour the tea into plastic cups and then casually threw away all the plastic! How convenient.
    From a highway dhaba to a high tech conference like the prestigious IFFI, tea and coffee are usually served in plastic cups. Gone are the china cups, glasses, and, of course. the clay kullad. Plastic is in.
    Unknown to all, it can be very costly ­ not only to our environment but also our health.
    Another culprit is that Dal Makhani in a plastic bag or thermocol foam tub delivered at your doorstep from the local takeaway. Often we reheat it in the plastic container in the microwave. Again, very convenient.
    But these cheap plastic containers are made for one time use only. Not for re­heating food in them. Light weight poor quality plastics are es pecially vulnerable to chemicals leeching out when exposed to heat. Food high in fat should never be reheated in plastic as the fat absorbs the chemicals.
    In the USA, foam food containers and plastic containers for food takeaways are being substituted by paper containers. Research coming. from Japan warns us that when heat and plastic combine, chemicals or toxins can be leeched into the food. Dioxin is one such toxin that one has to be wary of. It is known to cause damage to the immune system, cause Diabetes and even Cancer. This Dioxin can never be flushed out of our system. It accumulates in our bodies. It gets stored in the fatty tissues and can play havoc.
    So what is the safe alternative? Wax coated paper cups are safer although paper too contains chemicals and of course safest is the good old fashioned chai in a glass tumbler, the plebian steel or the clay kullad. Food should be heated in steel or glass. It is best to use microwave safe crockery which is free of plastic or lead (contained in many pottery items).
    Of course, plastic is a wonderful invention. It is practical and indispensable today. Hospitals and modern medicine rely on plastic syringes, intravenous sets, pipes, tubes, catheters. In surgery, shunts placed in arteries and hip and knee joints are replaced by hardened plastic parts.
    Plastic has to be used intelligently and disposed off even more intelligently. Whether it is disposing off, hospital waste or garden garbage, we are callous and un­thinking. People find it hard to dispose this very bulky waste. Every garbage dump, gutter, drain, is choked with plastic. Even if every part of the country has a proper waste diposal system, the quantity of plastic waste will be unmanageable. Disposal has become a huge issue. We have to have safe recycling units.
    One possible safe way to dispose off plastic bags is to shred it and mix (melt, not burn) it with tar and layer the roads that are being constantly built. Kilometers of roads criss­-crossing the country can absorb the plastic waste.
    Schools too can show the way. Not only should they inform and educate the school children but have good practices. Children can be encouraged to collect plastic bags which can be stuffed into gymnastic mattresses. Thousands of plastic bags will be used in this exercise. I am sure people can come up with many such ideas once they make up their minds.

  1. On the basis of your reading of the above passage, make notes on it using headings and subheading. Also use recognisable abbreviations, wherever necessary (Min.4) Supply a suitable title.
  2. Write a summary of the above passage.
  1. Read the following passage carefully and answer the questions that follow:

    ARE YOUR children toxic? I don’t mean ‘toxic’ as in the pain­in­the neck teenager state that occurs between the ages of 12 and 16 and makes you wish you could flush them down the toilet because they grunt instead of talk, and loll about sighing endlessly for hours on end. I mean, are your children having the kind of childhood that is damaging them in a way that will debilitate them for the rest of their lives?
    If they are not having a toxic childhood it is probably because you are not letting them lead the kind of lifestyle that many, if not most, of their friends are leading; a lifestyle that is causing great concern among teachers from many countries around the world. All around the world, teachers are examining and discussing how the cultural and lifestyle changes of the past 25 years are affecting the lives of children. They know that many of the changes that benefit adults are far from healthy for our children. “A toxic cocktail of the side effects of cultural change is now damaging the social, emotional and cognitive development of a growing number of children with knock­on effects on their behaviour,” is how educationist and author Sue Palmer explains it. 110 teachers, psychologists, children’s authors and leading childcare experts called on the government of Britain to act to prevent childhood being killed off altogether. According to them, processed food, computer games and over­competitive education are poisoning today’s children, and increasingly children are being forced “to act and dress like mini adults”, Research backs what these childcare experts are saying. Changes in diet, childcare patterns, parenting, family structures, play, bed times, family interaction, education, marketing, peer pressure, technology, electronics, and the way we communicate with our children are creating a ‘toxic mix’ that is damaging them. Children are becoming increasingly unhealthy and depressed, and are experiencing growing levels of behavioural and developmental problems. Not only this, the experts also point out that children lack first­hand experience of the world and regular interaction with their parents.
    Of course, we do not need experts or research to tell us that academic pressure, marketing, absent careerist parents and the rest of the modern toxic mix is damaging our children. We can see it here in the increase in childhood obesity and childhood diabetes; in the rise in the number of children with attention deficit problems and in the increase in numbers of hyperactive children. We know it from the stress and strain related to exams and study, and in the increase in study/exam­related suicides. So before you answer the question “are your children toxic?” take a good long look at them and their lifestyle. And remember, parents don’t usually poison their children on purpose. Adults too are susceptible to “market forces” and peer pressure. It is almost natural when all around you other people’s kids are eating junk and living toxic lives to look at your own child and think: mine must too.... But it doesn’t have to be that way. Luckily, for all of us there are plenty of changes we can make to detoxify our children’s childhood. All it needs is a little thought and some common sense. In the process we can help detoxify ourselves.

  1. On the basis of your reading of the above passage, make notes on it using headings and subheading. Also use recognisable abbreviations, wherever necessary (Minimum 4). Supply a suitable title.
  2. Write a summary of the above passage.
  1. Read the following carefully and answer the question that follow:

    It has been a long time since the days when some of us imagined that major Indian languages could be like Chinese and become languages of high technology, bringing rich and poor together in a race to the top. It hasn’t happened, and now it won’t. It’s going to be English. And that means that every child in India should have the chance to learn English, and be able to compete with the ones who can take it for granted.
    The only thing that remains to be settled is strategy: how to ensure that children do learn English. It’s a much­abused truism that any child can learn any language’. It is true that children are genetically empowered to discern language structure from the welter of sound all around them, and by five can speak their first language, and maybe chunks of other languages around them too. But children in Indian schools do not pick up Japanese. Why? Because they are not exposed to it.
    If you ever sat and tried to help children from Hindi medium schools with their English lessons this is exactly the scenario you would find. The comprehension passages they have to read are written in abstruse adult language, so much so that it is hard to imagine even their teachers catching all the word play there. So children who are probably very bright get used to living with incomprehension. They somehow learn English eventually, in spite of their lessons at school.
    How do children in the top English medium schools learn English? Well, more than half of them come in already knowing English, and together with the teacher they provide the rich environment that constitutes exposure for the others. Many of the other children can understand English, but not speak it. These children remain in listening mode, and then one fine day they start speaking English in full sentences. With children who do not understand English at all, the teacher at first communicated one­to one in the local Indian language, so that the child is never actually lost. But all the while the child hears simple instructions in English to the class : ‘Line up, take out your books, put away your books, come here’. And the child simply sees the others and follows. And the meaning of these words sinks in subconsciously.
    It takes more than a bad textbook or a child to make use of the genetic aptitude for learning a second language. Suppose you cannot achieve this rich English­learning environment in all the schools, what then? Can we appeal to this natural ability for language learning? We can, but here is where you need to use a lot of strategy. There is a big misconception that you save time by rushing at the start, especially in language learning. Here is where we would do well to take a look at poor Indian migrants and see how they manage to pick up I languages so easily as they move to a new place. The first thing the child needs is time. Time to just listen, and not be rushed to speak or write. Not be rushed into making mistakes which ; might become endemic. The child needs to steep ; in an environment where the teacher is speaking English, where each child is being spoken to, with no pressure to respond in English. We have to respect the child’s wish to avoid making mistakes, even if it means silence. The other thing the child needs is for learning to go on, on a parallel track, in a language the child knows. The child needs to be clear about a lot of things, and it is just possible that these things won’t be learnt at all if the child has to learn English in order to understand. We also need to understand what sort of reading material a child new to English would need. We need writer who know how to put information across simply and clearly, and who care whether their young readers enjoy the pieces they read in their textbooks. At the moment what we have is adult­level text which needs deciphering. We need to evolve separate curricula for children new to English, so that they go slow at first and develop a feel for English. Later on, we can think about whether it is necessary for them to face the same English papers in Boards as children from English­medium schools.

  1. On the basis of your reading of the above passage, make notes on it using headings and subheadings. Also use recognisable abbreviations, wherever necessary (Minimum 4). Supply a suitable title.
  2. Write a summary of the above passage.