Common Core: 6th Grade English Language Arts : Key Ideas and Details

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for Common Core: 6th Grade English Language Arts

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Example Question #1 : Reading

"The Ruby-throated Hummingbird"

Geographical Range and Migration

The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is the sole representative of the hummingbird family in eastern North America. It is only a summer visitor in Canada and throughout the greater part of its range in the United States, excepting the southern portions of the Florida peninsula, where it winters to some extent. The majority of these birds migrate south, though, spending the winter in some of the Caribbean islands, while others pass through eastern Mexico into Central America. It usually arrives along our southern border in the latter part of March, rarely reaching the more northern States before the middle of May. It usually goes south again about the latter part of September, the males preceding the females, I believe, in both migrations. 

 

Appearance and Behavior

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have iridescent green feathers on their backs and white feathers on their bellies. The male birds have a patch of red feathers on their throats, from which the species derives its name. Both male and female Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have relatively short tails and beaks and lack any crest of feathers on their heads.

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds’ flight is extremely swift, and the rapid motions of its wings in passing back and forth from one cluster of flowers to another causes a humming or buzzing sound, from which the numerous members of this family derive their name of hummingbirds. Notwithstanding the very small size of most of our hummers, they are all extremely pugnacious, especially the males, and are constantly quarreling and chasing each other, as well as other birds, some of which are many times larger than themselves. Mr. Manly Hardy writes me that he once saw a male Ruby-throat chase a Robin out of his garden. They are rarely seen entirely at rest for any length of time, and, when not busy preening its feathers, they dart about from one place to another. Although such a small, tiny creature, it is full of energy, and never seems to tire.

They seem to be especially partial to anything red. Mr. Manly Hardy writes: "I was once camping on one of the many islands along the coast of Maine during a dense fog, which had held us prisoners for several days, as it was so thick that we could not find our way. We had been living on lobsters, and lots of their red shells lay near the fire in front of our tent, when suddenly a Hummer came out of the fog and darted down at the shells, moving from one to another, seemingly loath to leave them.”

 

What Do They Eat?

There appears to be considerable difference of opinion among various observers regarding the nature of the Ruby-throated Hummingbird’s food. Some contend that it consists principally of nectar sipped from flowers, as well as the sweet sap of certain trees. Others, myself included, believe that they subsist mainly on minute insects and small spiders, the latter forming quite an important article of food with them. Mr. Edwin H. Eames, of Bridgeport, Connecticut, mentions finding sixteen young spiders of uniform size in the throat of a young Hummingbird which was about two days old.

Mr. W. N. Clute, of Binghamton, New York, writes: "The swamp thistle, which blooms in August, seems to have great attractions for the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. I have seen more than a hundred birds about these plants in the course of an hour. Since it has been stated that the bee gets pollen but not honey from the thistle, it would appear that these birds visit these flowers for insects. There is scarcely a flower that contains so many minute insects as a thistle head. Examine one with a lens and it will be found to contain many insects that can hardly be seen with the unaided eye, and if the Ruby-throat eats insects at all, these are the ones it would take; and because the larger ones remained the observer might conclude that none were eaten.” I could quote considerable more testimony showing that the Hummingbirds live to a great extent on minute spiders and insects, but consider it unnecessary.

That our Hummingbirds live to some extent on the sap of certain trees is undoubtedly true, but that they could exist for any length of time on such food alone is very questionable. They are particularly fond of the sap of the sugar maple, and only slightly less so of that of a few other species of trees. They are also fond of the nectar secreted in many flowers. While stationed at the former cavalry depot at St. Louis, Missouri, in 1873-74, I occupied a set of quarters that were completely overrun with large trumpet vines. When these were in bloom, the place fairly swarmed with Ruby-throats. They were exceedingly inquisitive, and often poised themselves before an open window and looked in my rooms full of curiosity, their bright little eyes sparkling like black beads. I have caught several, while busily engaged sipping nectar in these large, showy flowers, by simply placing my hand over them, and while so imprisoned they never moved, and feigned death, but as soon as I opened my hand they were off like a flash. 

 

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Passage adapted from "Ruby-throated Hummingbird" from Issue 3 of Life Histories of North American Birds, From the Parrots to the Grackles, with Special Reference to Their Breeding Habits and Eggs by Charles Bendire (1895)

Image adapted from Giltsch, Adolf, Lithographer, and Ernst Haeckel. Trochilidae. - Kolibris. [Leipzig und Wien: Verlag des Bibliographischen Instituts, 1904] Image. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <https://www.loc.gov/item/2015648985>.

 

Which of the following best describes the passage?

Possible Answers:

An argumentative essay about why the Ruby-throated Hummingbird is endangered and should be conserved

A general description of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds

Instructions on how to attract Hummingbirds to a garden

A comparison of several different types of Hummingbirds

A description of the author’s firsthand experience of interacting with Ruby-throated Hummingbirds

Correct answer:

A general description of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds

Explanation:

The passage is titled "The Ruby-Throated Hummingbird," and it consists of three labeled sections: "Geographical Range and Migration," "Appearance and Behavior," and "What Do They Eat?" The passage only mentions one type of hummingbird, the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, so the correct answer cannot be that its purpose is to compare different types of hummingbirds. While the author relates evidence that involves observing Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in a garden and describes seeing them feed from flowers, the point of the passage is not to provide "instructions on how to attract Hummingbirds to a garden." While the author does provide some firsthand evidence (in the last paragraph), the majority of the passage does not consist of this, so the correct answer is not "a description of the author’s firsthand experience of interacting with Ruby-throated Hummingbirds." Finally, there is no mention about whether the Ruby-throated Hummingbird is endangered, and the author does not argue that it should be conserved. The passage is best described as "a general description of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds." You can arrive at this answer either by considering the title of the passage and the titles of its major sections, or by eliminating the incorrect answer choices.

Example Question #2 : Reading

Adapted from “In Cowboy Land” in An Autobiography by Theodore Roosevelt (1913)

Though I had previously made a trip into the then Territory of Dakota, beyond the Red River, it was not until 1883 that I went to the Little Missouri, and there took hold of two cattle ranches, the Chimney Butte and the Elkhorn.

It was still the Wild West in those days, the Far West, the West of Owen Wister's stories and Frederic Remington's drawings. That land of the West has gone now, "gone, gone with lost Atlantis," gone to the isle of ghosts and of strange dead memories. It was a land of vast silent spaces, of lonely rivers, and of plains where the wild game stared at the passing horseman. It was a land of scattered ranches, of herds of long-horned cattle, and of reckless riders who unmoved looked in the eyes of life or of death. In that land we led a free and hardy life, with horse and with rifle. We knew toil and hardship and hunger and thirst; and we saw men die violent deaths as they worked among the horses and cattle, or fought in evil feuds with one another; but we felt the beat of hardy life in our veins, and ours was the glory of work and the joy of living.

I first reached the Little Missouri on a Northern Pacific train about three in the morning of a cool September day in 1883. Next day I walked over to the abandoned army post, and, after some hours among the gray log shacks, a ranchman who had driven into the station agreed to take me out to his ranch, the Chimney Butte ranch, where he was living with his brother and their partner.

The ranch was a log structure with a dirt roof, a corral for the horses near by, and a chicken-house jabbed against the rear of the ranch house. Inside there was only one room, with a table, three or four chairs, a cooking-stove, and three bunks. The owners were Sylvane and Joe Ferris and William J. Merrifield. There was a fourth man, George Meyer, who also worked for me later. That evening we all played old sledge round the table, and at one period the game was interrupted by a frightful squawking outside which told us that a bobcat had made a raid on the chicken-house.

After a buffalo hunt with my original friend, Joe Ferris, I entered into partnership with Merrifield and Sylvane Ferris, and we started a cow ranch, with the maltese cross brand—always known as "maltee cross," by the way, as the general impression along the Little Missouri was that "maltese" must be a plural. Twenty-nine years later my four friends of that night were delegates to the First Progressive National Convention at Chicago. They were among my most constant companions for the few years next succeeding the evening when the bobcat interrupted the game of old sledge. I lived and worked with them on the ranch, and with them and many others like them on the round-up.

I do not believe there ever was any life more attractive to a vigorous young fellow than life on a cattle ranch in those days. It was a fine, healthy life, too; it taught a man self-reliance, hardihood, and the value of instant decision—in short, the virtues that ought to come from life in the open country. I enjoyed the life to the full.

In this passage, Roosevelt __________.

Possible Answers:

argues that the reader should move to the western U.S.

lists ways in which he helped preserve the environment as President

discusses how he came to be the President of the United States

explains why his political opponents are wrong about a certain issue

describes the western U.S. and his time spent living there

Correct answer:

describes the western U.S. and his time spent living there

Explanation:

What does this passage discuss? In the first paragraph, Roosevelt talks about his travels in the West. In the second paragraph, he describes the West of that era as the "Wild West" in poetic terms. Then, he switches to narrating his first few days in the area, describing the ranch at which he stayed and worked, and talking about what he eventually did in the West (investing in a cattle ranch). He concludes by talking about how he really enjoyed the western lifestyle.

Roosevelt never mentions his political opponents, so "explains why his political opponents are wrong about a certain issue" cannot be correct. He never talks about his time as President and he doesn't talk about ways in which he helped preserve the environment, so neither "lists ways in which he helped preserve the environment as President" nor "discusses how he came to be the President of the United States" are correct, either. While he does talk about the West, this is a descriptive passage, not an argumentative one, so "argues that the reader should move to the western U.S." is not correct. The correct answer is that Roosevelt "describes the western U.S. and his time spent living there." This reflects the descriptive nature of the passage and the focus of its content.

Example Question #1 : Reading

Adapted from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) (1876)

Saturday morning was come, and all the summer world was bright and fresh, and brimming with life. Tom appeared on the sidewalk with a bucket of whitewash and a long-handled brush. He surveyed the fence, and all gladness left him and a deep melancholy settled down upon his spirit. Thirty yards of board fence nine feet high. Life to him seemed hollow, and existence but a burden. Sighing, he dipped his brush and passed it along the topmost plank; repeated the operation; did it again; compared the insignificant whitewashed streak with the far-reaching continent of unwhitewashed fence, and sat down on a tree-box discouraged.

He began to think of the fun he had planned for this day, and his sorrows multiplied. Soon the boys would come tripping along on all sorts of delicious expeditions, and they would make a world of fun of him for having to work—the very thought of it burnt him like fire. At this dark and hopeless moment an inspiration burst upon him! Nothing less than a great, magnificent inspiration.

He took up his brush and went tranquilly to work. Ben Rogers hove in sight presently—the very boy, of all boys, whose ridicule he had been dreading. Ben’s gait was the hop-skip-and-jump—proof enough that his heart was light and his anticipations high. He was eating an apple, and giving a long, melodious whoop, at intervals, followed by a deep-toned ding-dong-dong, ding-dong-dong, for he was personating a steamboat. As he drew near, he slackened speed, took the middle of the street, leaned far over to star-board and rounded to ponderously and with laborious pomp and circumstance—for he was personating the Big Missouri, and considered himself to be drawing nine feet of water. He was boat and captain and engine-bells combined, so he had to imagine himself standing on his own hurricane-deck giving the orders and executing them:

“Stop her, sir! Ting-a-ling-ling!” The headway ran almost out, and he drew up slowly toward the sidewalk.

Tom went on whitewashing—paid no attention to the steamboat. Ben stared a moment and then said: “Hi-yiYou’re up a stump, ain’t you!”

No answer. Tom surveyed his last touch with the eye of an artist, then he gave his brush another gentle sweep and surveyed the result, as before. Ben ranged up alongside of him. Tom’s mouth watered for the apple, but he stuck to his work. Ben said:

“Hello, old chap, you got to work, hey?”

Tom wheeled suddenly and said:

“Why, it’s you, Ben! I warn’t noticing.”

“Say—I’m going in a-swimming, I am. Don’t you wish you could? But of course you’d druther work—wouldn’t you? Course you would!”

Tom contemplated the boy a bit, and said:

“What do you call work?”

“Why, ain’t that work?”

Tom resumed his whitewashing, and answered carelessly:

“Well, maybe it is, and maybe it ain’t. All I know, is, it suits Tom Sawyer.”

“Oh come, now, you don’t mean to let on that you like it?”

The brush continued to move.

“Like it? Well, I don’t see why I oughtn’t to like it. Does a boy get a chance to whitewash a fence every day?”

That put the thing in a new light. Ben stopped nibbling his apple. Tom swept his brush daintily back and forth—stepped back to note the effect—added a touch here and there—criticized the effect again—Ben watching every move and getting more and more interested, more and more absorbed. Presently he said:

“Say, Tom, let me whitewash a little.”

Tom considered, was about to consent; but he altered his mind:

“No—no—I reckon it wouldn’t hardly do, Ben. You see, Aunt Polly’s awful particular about this fence—right here on the street, you know—but if it was the back fence I wouldn’t mind and she wouldn’t. Yes, she’s awful particular about this fence; it’s got to be done very careful; I reckon there ain’t one boy in a thousand, maybe two thousand, that can do it the way it’s got to be done.”

“No—is that so? Oh come, now—lemme, just try. Only just a little—I’d let you, if you was me, Tom.”

“Ben, I’d like to; but Aunt Polly—well, Jim wanted to do it, but she wouldn’t let him; Sid wanted to do it, and she wouldn’t let Sid. Now don’t you see how I’m fixed? If you was to tackle this fence and anything was to happen to it—”

“Oh, shucks, I’ll be just as careful. Now lemme try. Say—I’ll give you the core of my apple.”

“Well, here—No, Ben, now don’t. I’m afeard—”

“I’ll give you all of it!”

Tom gave up the brush with reluctance in his face, but alacrity in his heart. And while the late steamer Big Missouri worked and sweated in the sun, the retired artist sat on a barrel in the shade close by, dangled his legs, munched his apple, and planned the slaughter of more innocents. There was no lack of material; boys happened along every little while; they came to jeer, but remained to whitewash. By the time Ben was tired, Tom had traded the next chance to Billy Fisher for a kite, in good repair; and when he played out, Johnny Miller bought in for a dead rat and a string to swing it with—and so on, and so on, hour after hour. And when the middle of the afternoon came, from being a poor poverty-stricken boy in the morning, Tom was literally rolling in wealth. And when the middle of the afternoon came, from being a poor poverty-stricken boy in the morning, Tom was literally rolling in wealth. He had besides the things before mentioned, twelve marbles, a piece of blue bottle-glass to look through, a spool cannon, a key that wouldn't unlock anything, a fragment of chalk, a glass stopper of a decanter, a tin soldier, a couple of tadpoles, six fire-crackers, a kitten with only one eye, a brass door-knob, a dog-collar—but no dog—the handle of a knife, four pieces of orange-peel, and a dilapidated old window sash.

He had had a nice, good, idle time all the while—plenty of company—and the fence had three coats of whitewash on it! If he hadn’t run out of whitewash he would have bankrupted every boy in the village.

What personality traits of Tom’s does this scene showcase?

Possible Answers:

His sense of humor and his friendliness

His attention to detail and his stubbornness

His curiosity and desire to learn

His laziness and his cleverness

His shyness and his intelligence

Correct answer:

His laziness and his cleverness

Explanation:

Let's consider exactly what happens in this scene before we try to figure out what its events tell us about the main character, Tom Sawyer. Tom shows up to paint a fence on a Saturday. He has to work and he'd rather not. As he's contemplating having to work all day, he gets some sort of great idea. Then, Ben walks by, pretending to be a steamboat. Ben makes fun of Tom for having to work, but Tom ignores him. When Tom does notice Ben, he pretends that he's really interested in painting the fence. Tom suggests that it's not work and he enjoys it. This gets Ben interested in painting the fence. Tom refuses to let Ben paint the fence, saying that it has to be done in a very particular way. Ben offers Tom his apple to let him paint the fence, and Tom accepts, eventually getting many other people to paint the fence for him and accumulating a great deal of items from them for allowing them to do so.

What does this tell us about Tom? He doesn't want to work, and he gets the other kids to do his work for him by convincing them that it's fun to paint the fence. The passage in this way shows Tom to be both lazy (he doesn't want to work) and clever (since he convinces other people to do his work for him).

Example Question #2 : Reading

Adapted from “The Thief and the Innkeeper” in Aesop’s Fables (1867, trans. Townsend)

A thief hired a room in a tavern and stayed a while in the hope of stealing something which should enable him to pay his reckoning. When he had waited some days in vain, he saw the Innkeeper dressed in a new and handsome coat and sitting before his door. The Thief sat down beside him and talked with him. As the conversation began to flag, the Thief yawned terribly and at the same time howled like a wolf. The Innkeeper said, "Why do you howl so fearfully?" "I will tell you," said the Thief, "but first let me ask you to hold my clothes, or I shall tear them to pieces. I know not, sir, when I got this habit of yawning, nor whether these attacks of howling were inflicted on me as a judgment for my crimes, or for any other cause; but this I do know, that when I yawn for the third time, I actually turn into a wolf and attack men." With this speech he commenced a second fit of yawning and again howled like a wolf, as he had at first. The Innkeeper, hearing his tale and believing what he said, became greatly alarmed and, rising from his seat, attempted to run away. The Thief laid hold of his coat and entreated him to stop, saying, "Pray wait, sir, and hold my clothes, or I shall tear them to pieces in my fury, when I turn into a wolf." At the same moment he yawned the third time and set up a terrible howl. The Innkeeper, frightened lest he should be attacked, left his new coat in the Thief's hand and ran as fast as he could into the inn for safety. The Thief made off with the coat and did not return again to the inn.

This fable has a moral that is included at the end of it. Which of the following morals from Aesop fables can you infer is the one associated with this fable?

Possible Answers:

“Every tale is not to be believed.”

“Better poverty without care, than riches with.”

“Everyone is more or less master of his own fate.”

“Avoid a remedy that is worse than the disease.”

“Self-help is the best help.” 

Correct answer:

“Every tale is not to be believed.”

Explanation:

We can immediately ignore a few answer choices because they don't have anything to do with what happens in the story at all. "Self-help is the best help" doesn't work as the moral of this fable because while the thief helps himself, it's not contrasted against anyone who's not helping him- or herself or who is having someone else do all the work for him or her. "Better poverty without care, than riches with" doesn't work with the events of the fable because the thief sets out to steal a valuable thing, the Innkeeper's fancy coat, and does, and that's where the fable ends. We're not shown anything that helps us come to this particular conclusion. "Avoid a remedy that is worse than the disease" doesn't work either for the story. This moral suggests that just because you don't want to go with one that is slightly bad doesn't mean you should go with one that will turn out to be way worse. "Everyone is master of his own fate" doesn't relate to the story events either.

The best answer choice (and the actual moral of the fable) is “Every tale is not to be believed.” This fits with the events of the fable because the Innkeeper loses his coat because he believes the thief's made-up story.

The incorrect answer choices are morals from other Aesop fables:

“Self-help is the best help.” - "Hercules and the Wagoner"

“Better poverty without care, than riches with.” - "The Fir-Tree and the Bramble"

“Avoid a remedy that is worse than the disease.” - "The Hawk, the Kite, and the Pigeons"

“Everyone is more or less master of his own fate.” - “The Traveler and Fortune"

All fable morals adapted from Aesop’s Fables (1867, trans. Townsend)

Example Question #1 : Reading

Use the following poem to answer related questions.

Mother to Son By Langston Hughes (1922)

Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor—
Bare.
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’s,
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.
So boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps
’Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now—
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

Which of the following describes a major theme from this piece of poetry?

Possible Answers:

Coming from somewhere that is run-down will make it impossible to achieve your goals

It is easy to achieve your goals when you have a crystal staircase

We will face difficulties and dangers in life but we must keep working towards our goal

Life is hard so there is no use trying to pursue something bigger than ourselves

Correct answer:

We will face difficulties and dangers in life but we must keep working towards our goal

Explanation:

The speaker of the poem is a mother speaking to her son and giving him advice. She describes the difficult life that she has led and describes her journey as a staircase that is torn up and bare. She goes on to compare what she has lived to that of a “crystal stair” which can be interpreted as an easier life. She encourages her son to follow in her footsteps and keep climbing and not to fall off the path towards a better life or a goal. The poem has a theme of motivation and positivity.

Example Question #1 : Reading To Determine Main Idea Or Theme

Use the following poem to answer related questions.

Mother to Son By Langston Hughes (1922)

Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor—
Bare.
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’s,
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.
So boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps
’Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now—
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

Which line(s) of the poem best supports the theme of the poem?

Possible Answers:

For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,

Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

And reachin’ landin’s,
And turnin’ corners,

It’s had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,

Correct answer:

For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,

Explanation:

These lines from the poem support that the mother is determined and encouraging her son to keep pursuing his dreams. She tells him that she is still climbing and moving forward and that he should do the same. She has a motivated and positive attitude towards the hard work that will be required.

Example Question #2 : Reading To Determine Main Idea Or Theme

Young Enterprise Services (YES) is a program created to encourage entrepreneurship in 14- to 18-year-olds who have already shown a clear ability for starting businesses. The program started in 2002, has provided loans, grants, and counseling—in the form of workshops and individual meetings with entrepreneurs—to over 7500 young people. The future of YES, however, is now at risk.

One complaint is that the funds that YES distributes have disproportionately gone to young people from low-income families. Though no one has claimed that any of the recipients of YES funds have been undeserving, several families have brought lawsuits claiming that their requests for funding were rejected because of the families’ high levels of income.

Another challenge has been the task of making sure that a young person, not his or her family, is receiving the funding. The rules state that the business plan must be created by the youth and that any profits in excess of $1,000 be placed in a bank account. The rules say that the money can only be used for education, investment in the business, and little else. There have been cases of parents or even a neighbor using the money for their business.

On the other hand, YES has had some real success stories. A 14-year-old girl in Texas used the knowledge and funding she received through the program to connect with a distributor who now carries her line of custom-designed cell phone covers. Two brothers in Alaska have developed an online travel service for young people vacationing with their families. Both of these businesses are doing well and earning money. Unfortunately, these and other successes have received little media coverage. This is a shame, but one that can be fixed.

What is the main idea of this text?

Possible Answers:

Young Enterprise Services (YES) is a program that funds business ideas for young entrepreneurs and has had successes but also has had some recent problems.

Young Enterprise Services (YES) is a beneficial program that funds business ideas for young entrepreneurs and has been overwhelmingly a positive success.

Young Enterprise Services (YES) is a program that is intended to fund business ideas for young entrepreneurs but has not been able to do so because of recent problems.

Young Enterprise Services (YES) is a scam that was supposed to fund business ideas for young entrepreneurs but was shut down due to legal issues.

Correct answer:

Young Enterprise Services (YES) is a program that funds business ideas for young entrepreneurs and has had successes but also has had some recent problems.

Explanation:

This text is about YES and the intention to fund young business owners. The passage mentions both the successful aspects of the program as well as the challenges the program has faced.

Example Question #1 : Reading To Determine Main Idea Or Theme

Young Enterprise Services (YES) is a program created to encourage entrepreneurship in 14- to 18-year-olds who have already shown a clear ability for starting businesses. The program started in 2002, has provided loans, grants, and counseling—in the form of workshops and individual meetings with entrepreneurs—to over 7500 young people. The future of YES, however, is now at risk.

One complaint is that the funds that YES distributes have disproportionately gone to young people from low-income families. Though no one has claimed that any of the recipients of YES funds have been undeserving, several families have brought lawsuits claiming that their requests for funding were rejected because of the families’ high levels of income.

Another challenge has been the task of making sure that a young person, not his or her family, is receiving the funding. The rules state that the business plan must be created by the youth and that any profits in excess of $1,000 be placed in a bank account. The rules say that the money can only be used for education, investment in the business, and little else. There have been cases of parents or even a neighbor using the money for their business.

On the other hand, YES has had some real success stories. A 14-year-old girl in Texas used the knowledge and funding she received through the program to connect with a distributor who now carries her line of custom-designed cell phone covers. Two brothers in Alaska have developed an online travel service for young people vacationing with their families. Both of these businesses are doing well and earning money. Unfortunately, these and other successes have received little media coverage. This is a shame, but one that can be fixed.

Which of the following excerpts best conveys the main idea of the text?

Possible Answers:

Young Enterprise Services (YES) is a program created to encourage entrepreneurship in 14- to 18-year-olds who have already shown a clear ability for starting businesses. The program started in 2002, has provided loans, grants, and counseling—in the form of workshops and individual meetings with entrepreneurs—to over 7500 young people.

Young Enterprise Services (YES) is a program created to encourage entrepreneurship in 14- to 18-year-olds who have already shown a clear ability for starting businesses.

Young Enterprise Services (YES) is a program created to encourage entrepreneurship in 14- to 18-year-olds who have already shown a clear ability for starting businesses. Though no one has claimed that any of the recipients of YES funds have been undeserving, several families have brought lawsuits claiming that their requests for funding were rejected because of the families’ high levels of income. There have been cases of parents or even a neighbor using the money for their business.

Young Enterprise Services (YES) is a program created to encourage entrepreneurship in 14- to 18-year-olds who have already shown a clear ability for starting businesses. The future of YES, however, is now at risk. One complaint is that the funds that YES distributes have disproportionately gone to young people from low-income families. Another challenge has been the task of making sure that a young person, not his or her family, is receiving the funding. On the other hand, YES has had some real success stories.

Correct answer:

Young Enterprise Services (YES) is a program created to encourage entrepreneurship in 14- to 18-year-olds who have already shown a clear ability for starting businesses. The future of YES, however, is now at risk. One complaint is that the funds that YES distributes have disproportionately gone to young people from low-income families. Another challenge has been the task of making sure that a young person, not his or her family, is receiving the funding. On the other hand, YES has had some real success stories.

Explanation:

The main idea is Young Enterprise Services (YES) is a program that funds business ideas for young entrepreneurs and has had successes but also has had some recent problems. These sentences highlight both the positives and negatives that the program has experienced.

 

Example Question #1 : Reading

When I was seven, my father brought home from a business trip a wooden boomerang painted with images of the Australian flag. All summer long I carried that gift with me. I was fascinated by this piece of a continent completely on the other side of the world. Despite promises that if I threw it would immediately return, I had no intention of throwing it, only carrying and admiring it. What if it became stuck in a tree or carried away by a stiff wind? There would go my connection to the magical land of kangaroos, barrier reefs, and untold other pieces of wonder.

As I walk the shores of Bondi Beach or watch the tourists purchase kangaroo-themed apparel in my adopted hometown of Sydney, I often think back to that boomerang and the world to which it opened my eyes. As an airline pilot, I am fortunate to live out my childhood dream – inspired by that boomerang – of exploring faraway lands. Whenever I do, I bring home a trinket for my young daughter such that she might be similarly struck by wanderlust.

Which of the following describes a theme from this passage?

Possible Answers:

Though your hometown may be great, there is always somewhere better.

A gift during your childhood can determine your career as an adult.

Australia is one of the best places to move to.

A simple gesture can stay with you and change your life forever.

Correct answer:

A simple gesture can stay with you and change your life forever.

Explanation:

The simple gesture of a souvenir from a business trip inspired the author to dream of foreign lands, new places and inspired a desire to travel. As an adult, the author still has that feeling of wonder and excitement. He or she is passing it down to their own child with a simple gesture of a trinket from his or her travels.

Example Question #1 : Reading To Determine Main Idea Or Theme

When I was seven, my father brought home from a business trip a wooden boomerang painted with images of the Australian flag. All summer long I carried that gift with me. I was fascinated by this piece of a continent completely on the other side of the world. Despite promises that if I threw it would immediately return, I had no intention of throwing it, only carrying and admiring it. What if it became stuck in a tree or carried away by a stiff wind? There would go my connection to the magical land of kangaroos, barrier reefs, and untold other pieces of wonder.

As I walk the shores of Bondi Beach or watch the tourists purchase kangaroo-themed apparel in my adopted hometown of Sydney, I often think back to that boomerang and the world to which it opened my eyes. As an airline pilot, I am fortunate to live out my childhood dream – inspired by that boomerang – of exploring faraway lands. Whenever I do, I bring home a trinket for my young daughter such that she might be similarly struck by wanderlust.

What is the main idea of this passage?

Possible Answers:

An airline pilot moved to Australia after being adopted. He or she had received a boomerang as a child so it was destiny to end up on Bondi Beach. The author’s child is growing up in Australia and receives similar presents.

A boomerang received as a gift during childhood opened up the author’s imagination to wonder about mystical places and people. As the author grew up that sense of awe about the world stayed present and is being passed on through generations in a similar way.

A gift of a boomerang created an obsession with Australia in a young child’s mind. The child was entranced by this land and dreamed of moving there. The dream came to fruition and now the author has lost interest in the country.

A young girl is receiving presents from her parent’s travels because her parent doesn’t want to be forgotten. His or her father lived in Australia and living so far apart caused a rift in the relationship.

Correct answer:

A boomerang received as a gift during childhood opened up the author’s imagination to wonder about mystical places and people. As the author grew up that sense of awe about the world stayed present and is being passed on through generations in a similar way.

Explanation:

This accurately summarizes the main idea of the passage and uses details from throughout to build upon the answer. The author treasured the boomerang and it created dreams and hopes of traveling and seeing the world. He or she is now passing that sense of wonder on to their own child by sharing trinkets collected around the world.

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