Test: Common Core: 6th Grade English Language Arts

1.

What is the theme of this passage?

Paying Attention Pays Off

Jackson and his family were excited to be camping for the first time. They had never been to Yellowstone National Park, and they had been anticipating this trip all year. His father packed up the car, his mother made sure they had their maps, and he and his little sister Aly hopped in the back seat of their minivan ready to go. It only took about 15 minutes until Aly got on his nerves, so he put his earbuds in so he could watch videos on his phone. He must have fallen asleep because he woke up a few hours later and saw the large brown sign with white writing across the front, reading “Yellowstone National Park.” They had arrived.

They got all checked in and found their home for the next three days, campsite number 35. Dad set up the tents, and Mom consulted her itinerary for all of the upcoming activities and excursions. After they got settled in, it was time for a safety training class with the park ranger. The ranger went through what visitors should do if they encountered a dangerous wild animal, got lost, ran out of supplies, or fell into the fast-moving river. Jackson looked from side to side at his family and realized he was the only one paying attention! His mom was looking at her list, Aly was dozing off, and his father’s eyes were glazed over as he stared into the woods. He hoped they wouldn’t need to use any of these skills!

That night, after his mother and father were all tucked into their sleeping bags, Jackson and Aly snuck out of their tent to look at the stars. It was a quaint evening until Jackson heard grunting and banging coming from the campsite. He peeked around a tree with his flashlight and saw a juvenile bear pawing at the coolers and trash cans. Aly started to shout and tried to take off running. Jackson covered her mouth and reminded her that the ranger said not to scream or run away if confronted by bears. She nodded, and they stood still behind the tree and out of sight. The bear grew frustrated with the coolers and trash cans because Jackson had secured them with bungee cords, just as the ranger recommended. The bear padded off into the woods, and they snuck back to their tents exhausted. As Jackson laid in his sleeping bag, he smiled to himself, thinking about how lucky they were that he had paid attention in the ranger’s safety class. 

National parks are no place for families to vacation; they are too dangerous.

Having fun is more important than worrying about small things.

Not all family members need to like a vacation destination.

Listening and paying attention are good habits to have and may come in handy later.

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