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PSSA Reading Comprehension


									PSSA Reading Comprehension                    Name ______________________________
“Crossing Paths”
12 Points                                     Date ____________________ Per. ______

Directions: Read the following narrative about Eric’s experience on the Appalachian
Trail. Then answer questions 1 through 12. Remember to use the PSSA test-taking
strategies that we reviewed in class.

      Skim the questions before reading.
      Highlight or underline important information as you are reading.
      Concentrate and stay focused when reading.
      Reread passages if you lose focus.
      Analyze the questions: Are they fact, inference, analysis?
      Use the process of elimination when answering multiple choice questions.
          o 2 wrong answers
          o 1 distracter
          o 1 correct answer

       Eric was weary after three weeks on the Appalachian Trail. For several summers
since graduation, he and his childhood friend Brian had reunited for an invigorating,
challenging hike along a different segment of the trail. This year, they had walked one of
the highest parts of the trail along the border of Tennessee and North Carolina.
       Despite the plan that neither would leave the other, Eric was camping alone this
last evening. That morning Brian had left the trail to hike to Gatlinburg, Tennessee, to
meet his family; and the next morning Eric would meet his father at the point where the
trail crossed Junction Parkway at U.S. 441.
       Although the boys often made new friends on the trail, Eric was startled by two
figures edging out of the dusky woods. They wore crude leather shirts that hung to their
knees over leather leggings, and one wore a colorful turban over long black hair. One
young man knelt gracefully to take a tin of beans that Eric offered and examined it
carefully. A beautiful silver chain laced with brightly colored beads and small orange-
and-black feathers dangled from his neck.
       The other youth bent toward Eric, who prepared to give him a high-five, but the
reddish-haired boy jumped backward as if he thought Eric meant to strike him. “Name’s
Jesse,” he said warily. “That’s Dancing in the Rain. He’s Cherokee.”
         Eric had only two cans of beans. He pulled the tabbed lid on Dancing in the
Rain’s can. In the closing darkness, he could barely see the boy’s face as he scooped the
food out with his fingers. Eric opened the other tin for Jesse.
         The two guests stretched out on blankets. Sensing Eric’s curiosity, Jesse began to
tell about himself. In Vermont, he had been forced into apprenticeship with a tanner, who
made him work from sunup to sundown. “Hated it,” Jesse said, “so I headed down to
Virginia. But the Tories tried to force me to fight for King George, so I lit out again; I
met up with Dancing in the Rain, and he and I have been traveling together ever since.
I’m looking to find some Whigs and fight against the Tories.”
         “Tories?” asked Eric.
         “British loyalists!” Jesse spat out impatiently. “You know, those that are against
the revolution.” Jesse continued, “Dancing in the Rain is looking to join up with
Dragging Canoe. Settlers swindled the Cherokee people out of thousands of acres of their
hunting grounds. Dragging Canoe is a Cherokee leader who is fighting to get the land
         Groggy and very confused, Eric began to nod off, vaguely agreeing to set off with
his new friends in the morning. But the thought of fighting Jesse’s or Dancing in the
Rain’s battle troubled his dreams, and he awoke to see Jesse out under the starlight, his
blanket folded over his shoulder. “I worry that Dancing in the Rain and I could end up
enemies,” Jesse whispered, “so tell him to take care.” He slipped into the forest, whose
purple shadows welcomed him.
         Eric awakened, alone, at daybreak. He sighed deeply. His mysterious companions
had, obviously, turned out to be the inhabitants of a rather peculiar dream. He gathered
his gear and an hour later was sliding onto the soft seat of his father’s car.
         At home Eric unloaded his backpack. He pulled out two unopened cans of beans.
Then, as he reached into a side pocket, his fingers touched something sleek and soft. His
heart leapt as he pulled out an orange-and-black feather!
1. In this story, the term Whigs refers to colonists who—
       a. were persecuted for their religious beliefs
       b. were loyal to the British crown
       c. began to settle America’s interior
       d. wanted independence from Britain

2. What is one effect of having a third person narrator tell this story?
     a. It gives the reader a wider, more revealing perspective.
     b. It allows the reader to discount what the narrator says.
     c. It tells us what Dancing in the Rain thinks.
     d. It robs Brian of an important role he might have played.

3. Which of the following quotations from the story is the BEST example of sensory
       a. “Eric was weary after three weeks. . .”
       b. “silver chain laced with brightly colored beads”
       c. “The two guests stretched out on blankets.”
       d. “made him work from sunup to sundown”

4. Which words from the story BEST create a mysterious tone or mood?
     a. Eric was camping alone.
     b. figures edging out of the dusky woods
     c. The other youth bent toward Eric.
     d. Sensing Eric’s curiosity, Jesse began to tell about himself.

5. The author holds the reader’s attention at the end of the story by—
      a. resolving whether Eric’s guests were real or imaginary
      b. suggesting that Eric will see Jesse and Dancing in the Rain again
      c. giving mixed evidence about whether Eric was dreaming
      d. revealing that Eric is living back in the late 1700s

6. Which of the following BEST describes the relationship between Jesse and
   Dancing in the Rain?
      a. They met by accident but have become friends.
      b. They are on opposite sides of the American Revolution.
      c. They are united in their alienation from their families.
      d. They share a mutual distrust of authority.

7. The author uses Jesse’s statement in paragraph six and eight to—
      a. create a sense of foreboding and alarm
      b. help develop the characters
      c. add irony to the writing
      d. give hints about what will happen later in the plot
8. Which of the following is a theme expressed in Jesse’s statements?
     a. the need for solitude
     b. personal responsibility
     c. people’s conflict with nature
     d. a desire to be free

9. What literary device does the author use in the words “the forest, whose purple
   shadows welcomed him”?
      a. simile
      b. irony
      c. archetype
      d. personification

10. Which of the following is MOST responsible for engaging the reader’s interest?
      a. a remote setting on a famous hiking trail
      b. the author’s use of Colonial and other historical references
      c. the descriptions of the characters’ appearances and actions
      d. the discussion of political parties and potential battles

11. To find a map to go with this story, the BEST term to use in searching the Internet
    would be—
       a. American Indians
       b. Colonial history
       c. Vermont
       d. Appalachian Trail

12. What characteristic of this narrative is typical of many American short stories?
      a. a surprise ending
      b. a realist plot
      c. the absence of dialogue
      d. the lack of description

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