Test Yourself: Reading, Age 17
The following multiple-choice questions were included in the 2008 long-term trend reading assessment at age 9. In a multiple choice question, one or more introductory sentences are followed by a list of response options that include the correct answer and several incorrect alternatives.
INSTRUCTIONS: Answer the questions below, then click submit at the bottom of the page.
READING PASSAGE FULL TEXT
I Start to Work
Addie, New York, Lower East Side District, 1900
My father made only four dollars a week and there were six children, so my mother took in work. She would get bundles of unfinished pants from this factory. There would be maybe twenty-five, thirty pants to a bundle. And she would bring them home and finish them, and she would keep my sister and me out of school to help. When she started this, I was eight years old.
All day we would sit in the kitchen and sew. We would turn up the bottoms and sew them, and we would put a lining in the waist and sew that. The next morning she would take the bundle back and get another one. I would go to school maybe once, twice a week.
Jess, Western Nebraska, 1906-1910
Starting when I was fourteen, I spent every summer working on farms. I packed my suitcase and took a train and would be gone for three months.
Every morning I got the team ready. Then the farmer would drive a binder through his wheat and cut it and bind it into bundles. And I would follow behind and stack the bundles on end in shocks so they wouldn’t get wet. When the shocking was over, I’d help with the threshing. And when that was done, the summer was gone.
Martha, Philadelphia, 1903
When I was twelve years old my mother came to me, and she said I had to leave school and get a job. We needed the money. So I got a job makin’ buttonholes in vests.
It was like nothin’. Just work. Start at seven, work till six, six days a week. I got three cents for every two buttonholes, and I made them by hand. Oh, you had to make an awful lot. The first week I made two hundred and sixty-five, and they gave me four dollars.
Joe, Northern Maine, 1895-1899
The first year I worked in the woods I was fifteen years old. This logging camp was twenty-five, thirty miles from the nearest town.
There was about eighty of us in that camp, and we all slept in log cabins. On each side there’d be bunks and in the middle there’d be a stove and a pile of wood. And they had a cook’s room and an eatin’ room and that sort of thing.
At night, we’d get together in the eatin’ room. And some would play the mouth harp (harmonica) and maybe some would sing or step dance or tell stories. And there’d always be some clown carrying on–like me. Just in fun, I’d go over and throw a dipper of water on somebody. Well, that would always start a roughhouse.
But you had to do things like that to keep your spirits up. Takin’ to the woods that way all winter, you worked hard and you never got to town. That first winter I was up there two months straight. When I was eighteen, I stayed five months and eight days before I came out.
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