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501 Reading Comprehension Questions, 3rd Edition

501 Reading Comprehension Questions, 3rd Edition

Product Summery


Are you having trouble with reading comprehension questions on tests? Do you want to know how to improve your reading ability or pass placement tests in school or work? If so, then this book is for you. Read on to find out why.

Maybe you already like to read and want to use this book to sharpen your skills for an important test. If so, that’s fine. In fact, you can skip this part of the Introduction—or skip the Introduction entirely—and go straight to the questions.

But maybe you’re one of the millions of people who have trouble with reading, especially with reading carefully while reading quickly. If so, this Introduction will give you some direction.

First, know that you’re not alone. It’s a fact that some people relate more easily to numbers or to working with their hands. Still, no other general skill is used more regularly—in work, play, and just plain living—than reading. The good news is that reading well is a skill that can be developed with practice. This book will help, but something else will help even more: If you’re serious about developing your reading comprehension skills, go to the library or a bookstore and pick out books on subjects you find fascinating.

For instance, if your interests are in skydiving, biking, golf, scuba diving, race cars, camping, woodworking, or even the stock market, use that as a starting point, and choose a book. The subject will undoubtedly draw you in because you are already interested. Begin to read. You will find that as you focus on the subject matter, you will already know some of the information. But chances are you will discover something new as you read, and you can connect this with your prior knowledge. Eventually, your store of information becomes quite admirable. Repeat the process over and over again. As you do, you will improve your reading comprehension skills, and it won’t even seem like a chore.

A Look at Our Book

The first five sections cover the basics—from vocabulary to topic sentences. 501 Reading Comprehension Questions, 3rd Edition begins with vocabulary because that’s what you need to read—the essential building blocks. You will find vocabulary questions that test your ability to find definitions and context clues. Next, the analogy questions take you a step further. When answering analogy questions, you will learn to develop your ability to compare and contrast, find similarities and differences, and relate parts to whole pieces. Just in case you’re wondering why this is important, you should know that the skills you develop from these short exercises in word play will assist you when you are reading longer passages.

As the book progresses, you will be asked to read short, interesting paragraphs to find main ideas and topic sentences. Once you are comfortable with these basic skills, proceed to the passages in the last five sections. This is where you will use your skills to tackle longer passages.

The last five sections begin with one- to two-paragraph passages. Questions following these passages ask you to identify details and facts, choose the main idea, make inferences, or analyze and interpret the text. The passages, both fiction and nonfiction, get longer as you progress through the book, and they all have varied subjects.

Some are about computers, geology, or geography, while others are about poems, philosophy, literature, or art. You will even find some charts and graphs. To make sure you pay close attention, you may want to take notes as you read. This technique of interacting with the text is good to use anytime you read or when you take a test that includes reading comprehension.

The answers to every question are at the back of the book. Each answer is fully explained, so if you have trouble with a particular question, you will be able to figure out how to arrive at the correct answer.

How to Use Our Book

This book is best used to build your critical reading and thinking skills, but you might want to support it with some other LearningExpress Skill Builders Practice books. When it comes to perfecting your reading comprehension, don’t ignore any of the other language skills. You will find Writing Skills Success in 20 Minutes a Day, Vocabulary and Spelling Success in 20 Minutes a Day, 501 Logic and Reasoning Problems, and 1001 Vocabulary and Spelling Questions to be indispensable guides.

In any case, the more you use the language and understand the building blocks, the easier and faster you will breeze through those reading comprehension passages that you find on most tests.

Working on Your Own

If you are working alone to brush up on the basics and prepare for a test in connection with a job or school, you will want to develop a time schedule and know your learning style. Since everyone reads differently, the number of words or pages you can cover in a given time period may be more or less than one section of this book. That’s OK. Just spend 20 minutes—more or less—reading the material and going through the exercises. Don’t worry about how much material you’re covering. It’s important that you’re practicing, and chances are that your speed will improve as you go through the book. Your job is to find your pace.

Then, know your learning style. Do you learn best in a quiet room, or do you need music in the background? Whatever the case may be, find the location that best suits you. Do you need to take notes to remember facts and details? Have a pen, pencil, highlighter, and notebook ready. Are you at your best early in the morning or late at night? Pick the best time, get comfortable, and begin.

Tutoring Others

501 Reading Comprehension Questions, 3rd Edition will work well in combination with almost any basic reading or English text. You will probably find it most helpful to give your student(s) a brief lesson on the topic (main idea, fact/detail, inference, etc.), and then have them spend the remainder of the class or session reading the passages and answering the questions. When you finish, take some time for a brief review session.

Stress the importance of learning by doing. Carry a book into class and talk about what you’ve read so far. Let them know that reading is enjoyable, and they may just use you as a role model!

Suggested Reading List

This section wouldn’t be complete without a list of some great books to read. Reading about reading and answering test questions is fine, but the best way to improve your reading ability is to read. This list is compiled by category. Help yourself. Choose one from the list, pick it up at a local bookstore or library, open the cover, and enjoy.


  • Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
  • Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X
  • Black Boy by Richard Wright
  • The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank
  • Having Our Say by Sarah L. and Elizabeth Delany
  • The Heroic Slave by Frederick Douglass
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  • Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi

Coming of Age

  • The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  • The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
  • A Separate Peace by John Knowles


  • Agatha Christie’s murder mysteries
  • The “A is for...” series by Sue Grafton
  • The Client by John Grisham
  • Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  • The Shining by Stephen King
  • Watcher by Dean R. Koontz


  • The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • On a Pale Horse by Piers Anthony
  • Any Harry Potter book by J.K. Rowling

Historical/Social Issues

  • The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel
  • The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
  • Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  • Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  • Schindler’s List by Thomas Keneally
  • The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
  • White Teeth by Zadie Smith


  • Care of the Soul by Thomas Moore
  • The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
  • The Purpose-Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For by Rick Warren
  • A Simple Path by Mother Theresa
  • The Tao of Pooh and The Te of Piglet by Benjamin Hoff
  • The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche


  • Mythology by Edith Hamilton
  • The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell
  • American Indian Myths and Legends by Richard Erdoes and Alfonso Ortiz


  • The Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry: Second Edition edited by Richard Ellmann and Robert O’Clair

Science Fiction

  • 1984 by George Orwell
  • Fahrenheit 451 or The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
  • Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
  • The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin
  • This Perfect Day by Ira Levin
  • Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein


  • Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell
  • Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
  • The Lives of a Cell by Lewis Thomas
  • Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of all Time by Dava Sobel
  • Mortal Lessons by Richard Selzer

Short Stories

  • Any short story by Ernest Hemingway or O. Henry
  • Girls at War by Chinua Achebe
  • Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
  • The Stories of Eva Luna by Isabel Allende
  • Ten Top Stories edited by David A. Sohn


  • All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
  • Hiroshima by John Hersey
  • The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane

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