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Worksheets and No Prep Teaching Resources
Reading Comprehension Worksheets
Peace, Friendship, and Goodwill Week
|edHelper's suggested reading level:||grades 6 to 8|
|Flesch-Kincaid grade level:||5.45|
By Brenda B. Covert
1 If it hadn't been for the extra credit offered, the boys would not have attended the workshop to promote peace, friendship, and goodwill in their community. It had taken a little arm-twisting by their teachers and parents before each one had agreed to come. Those four boys entered the large, sunny room and looked suspiciously at the adults and other students who had already gathered there.
2 All the workshop participants sat at a round table. Paul slipped into a wooden chair and leaned back, his arms folded across his chest. He looked around at the others from beneath heavy lids. It was like a meeting of the United Nations. This isn't going to work, he thought. He briefly made eye contact with the swarthy teen sitting across from him, but after an uncomfortable moment, each looked past the other to study the pale yellow walls adorned with posters promoting world peace.
3 After the introductions had been made, the boys had a clearer idea of their differences. Paul glanced back at Hakeem. He was a devout Muslim. Since Paul was a committed Christian, there was no way they could be friends. Then there was Jacob in his blue and red striped shirt. He was Jewish. Paul didn't mind him so much, but he imagined that Jacob and Hakeem would be natural enemies. Finally, among all the others sat Sigmund, a vocal atheist. In Paul's opinion, Sigmund's long nose quivered with antagonism. With a heavy sigh, Paul wished he were on the basketball court with his friends instead of being here with this group. He leaned his head back and closed his eyes. What a waste of time.
4 "Now that we've covered your major differences," the heavyset host said, "let's see if we can discover your similarities. That is the first step in understanding each other. How are you all alike?"
5 "We're all guys," Paul remarked during the silence that followed the question.
6 Hakeem snickered.
7 The host, Mr. Edmunds, seemed content to wait for the boys to respond properly. The boys looked uncertainly at each other.
8 "Um . . . I like pizza," Jacob offered shyly. Around the table, boys nodded in agreement. Ice cream, soft drinks, nachos, and other favorite foods gave them something in common.
9 "I guess a lot of us like sports," Sigmund remarked thoughtfully. Yes, that was certainly true. Some of the boys smiled at each other.
10 "All right, nobody laugh," said Hakeem as he looked defiantly at Paul, "but I love my family."
11 Paul felt ashamed that he hadn't thought of that answer first. All the boys agreed that they loved their families. It made perfect sense that they would have that in common.
12 "I get angry at injustice!" Paul blurted out.
13 Hakeem, Jacob, and some of the others looked stunned that a white kid would say something like that. That offended Paul. What made them think that he would be in favor of injustice? They had a heated discussion about perceived injustices that each one had experienced or witnessed. Some of the African-American youths in attendance felt that blacks owned the market on injustice because of the history of slavery. However, Jacob reminded them of the Holocaust, where six million men, women, and children were killed simply because they were Jews. Hakeem shared stories of prejudice against his family because of an imagined link to Afghan and Iraqi terrorists. "We aren't terrorists," he exclaimed angrily, "yet we are treated like criminals when we have done nothing wrong!"
14 Paul told of religious persecution that targeted Christians worldwide, and Sigmund explained how his family encountered anger and discrimination for their choice to believe in humanism rather than a creator.
Paragraphs 15 to 34:
For the complete story with questions: click here for printable
English Reading Comprehension: Differences
French Reading Comprehension: Les différences
Spanish Reading Comprehension: Diferencias
German Reading Comprehension: Unterschiede
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