RHL School

Reading Comprehension
Volume 3, Number 22, February 23, 1998


A Story Starter:

. . . Mr. El sat on Stephen’s front center row desk. Speaking in a somewhat louder voice than usual, he addressed the class. “Before school ends today and you all go home for the weekend, I want to remind you about the math facts game we are having against Mrs. Plant’s fourth grade on Monday. Use the flash cards you made and drill, drill, drill! All I ask is that you know your multiplication facts perfectly by Monday!”
. . . Tiffany raised her hand.
. . . “Yes, Tifmeister,” Mr. El responded.
. . . “Are you going to be mad if we lose?”
. . . “Of course not. Remember, it’s not whether you win or lose that matters, it’s how you play the game. Oh, by the way, did I mention that if we win, I’ll treat you all to a big pizza party?”
. . . The class cheered. That is everyone but Laura. Mr. El noticed that she was reading a magazine instead of paying attention to the discussion. Mr. El strolled over to her desk and lifted the magazine from the startled girl’s hands.
. . . “Hmmm,” he said, “Teenage Today Magazine.”
. . . “Please don’t take my magazine away!” Laura pleaded.
. . . “That’s strange, last time I knew, you were ten years old. How quickly you’ve grown.” He looked at the cover, “It says that this issue features the ten coolest guys in the world. What page am I on?”
. . . “I’m sorry, Mr. El, you’re not in there.”
. . . “Are you sure?”
. . . “I’m positive.”
. . . Mr. El sighed, “I know what happened. I came in eleventh again.” He tossed the magazine onto Laura’s desk. “I hate it when that happens!”
. . . Laura quickly shoved the magazine into her desk.
. . . Mr. El returned to the front of the class. “Now where were we? Oh yes, the math game. “Know your facts and victory shall be ours! We are the best fourth grade in the world!”
. . . He turned to his left, “Dennis, how much is five times six?”
. . . “Thirty.”
. . . “Good man!” He looked to his right. “Heidi, how much is nine times seven?”
. . . “Sixty-three.”
. . . “You’re a treasure, Heidi!” Then Mr. El spoke to everyone. “We can win and each one of you can help.”
. . . The dismissal bell rang. With flash cards in hand, all the kids lined up to go home.
. . . Before you could say nine times nine, Monday afternoon had arrived.
. . . “In less than ten minutes,” Mr. El began, “Mrs. Plant and her class will walk through our door and the game will begin. Is everyone ready?”
. . . “Yes!” came back a chorus of voices.
. . . Chris spoke out, “Mrs. Plant’s kids were bragging in the lunchroom. They said they were going to destroy us!”
. . . Katey added, “And they said that Miss Joan was helping them practice during her break times.”
. . . Mr. El looked annoyed. “That will just make it all the sweeter when we win. One more thing. Remember that the other team gets two points if anyone talks out of turn or fools around. If a person did that in a close game, it could cause the other team to win when we should have won. I can think of a certain teacher who would not be happy with such a person. I can think of a certain teacher who’s filling out report cards next week.”
. . . There was a knock at the door. “That must be Mrs. Plant’s class,” Mr. El said.
. . . The door opened, but it wasn’t Mrs. Plant and her class. It was Miss Joan and her kindergartners.
. . . “I hope it’s OK if we watch your math game,” Miss Joan said in her sweetest voice.
. . . “Of course,” Mr. El said in the most pleasant voice he could manage. “By the way, I heard this crazy rumor that a certain kindergarten teacher was helping Mrs. Plant’s class prepare for this game.”
. . . “What a coincidence,” Miss Joan said, “I heard a crazy rumor that a certain fourth grade teacher was using bribery to get his kids to work harder.”
. . . Mr. El grinned. “Bribery, that word isn’t in my vocabulary,”
. . . Miss Joan smirked. “That’s BRI-BER-Y, spelled P-I-Z- Z-A.”

1. Do you think that Miss Joan approved of Mr. El offering a pizza party to his class as a reward for winning the game? Explain your answer.

2. Do you think it was a good idea? Why or why not?

3. Do you think that Mr. El approved of Miss Joan helping Mrs. Plant's class? Explain your answer.

4. Do you think Miss Joan did the right thing? Why or why not?

5. Now it's your turn to be the author. Write the rest of the story. Think of a good title.


Copyright 1998 RHL

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