RHL School

Reading Comprehension
Volume 4, Number 17, January 19, 1999

Fish Sticks

Mr. El was walking past the office toward his fourth grade classroom. He wanted to correct some papers before his kids were done with lunch. Suddenly, he heard Mr. Kay’s voice summoning him from the open door.
“Mr El, can I see you for a minute?” the principal called out.
Mr. El walked into the office and sat down in the big wooden rocking chair that Mr. Kay kept by his desk. Many a wayward child had sat in that chair. Mr. El hoped that he hadn’t done anything too wayward. “What’s up?” he asked.
Mr. Kay sat back in his chair, took a deep breath, and sighed. “I just got a call from Mrs. Cook. She’s very upset about today’s lunch count in her cafeteria.”
“Oh?” Mr. El replied innocently.
“It seems that about half of your students refused to have any of her fish sticks with their meals. She thinks you might have said something to them that made that happen.”
Mr. El gazed at the ceiling thoughtfully. “Maybe it was the worm thing,” he said.
“She said something about worms,” Mr. Kay responded, “but she was so angry, I couldn’t quite make it out.”
Mr. El looked surprised at her reaction. “I did just happen to mention, as a joke of course, that the fish sticks were really made of ground up earthworms. I explained that they were flavored with fish guts, breaded, and then fried in motor oil.”
“Apparently, a lot of your kids believed it was true,” Mr. Kay stated. “Mr. El, I’ll leave it to you to undo the damage.”
“Yes, Sir,” Mr. El promised as he rose and started for the door.
“And what was that thing about maggots?” Mr. Kay asked. “No, wait. Don’t answer! I don’t want to know!”

1. Mrs. Cook was in charge of _______________.

a. the science department
b. food services
c. collecting bad jokes
d. reporting bad behavior to the principal

2. Mr. El was wrong if he thought that _______________.

a. all his kids would know he was just kidding about the fish sticks
b. the fish sticks were really healthy
c. things you say can make people angry
d. worms can be eaten

3. It’s quite likely that Mr. El _______________.

a. is Mrs. Cook’s favorite teacher
b. is not fond of the school’s fish sticks
c. likes to eat fried worms
d. never tries to make jokes

4. A serious moral to this story could be:

a. Never eat raw fish.
b. Don’t make a big deal about a silly joke.
c. Be careful what you say; people might just believe you.
d. Beware of principals with rocking chairs.

5. Mr. El will keep his promise to Mr. Kay by apologizing to Mrs. Cook, and telling his students _______________.

a. to consider whether or not someone is just kidding
b. not to talk to her anymore
c. that eating worms is better than eating anything else
d. that the ground worms were really fried in vegetable oil


Copyright 1999 RHL

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