GED Language Arts Reading Practice

(Worried about the new GED test? Don't be. The following sample questions are good until 2014, which is when the new test takes effect.)

Excerpt from: The Confessions of a Summer Colonist
by William Dean Howells

The cottages themselves are of several sorts, and some still exist in the earlier stages of mutation from the fishermen's and farmers' houses which formed their germ. But these are now mostly lent as lodgings to bachelors and other single or semi-detached folks who go for their meals to the neighboring hotels or boarding-houses. The hotels are each the centre of this sort of centripetal life, as well as the homes of their own scores or hundreds of inmates. A single boarding-house gathers about it half a dozen dependent cottages which it cares for, and feeds at its table; and even where the cottages have kitchens and all the housekeeping facilities, their inmates sometimes prefer to dine at the hotels. By far the greater number of cottagers, however, keep house, bringing their service with them from the cities, and settling in their summer homes for three or four or five months.

The houses conform more or less to one type: a picturesque structure of colonial pattern, shingled to the ground, and stained or left to take a weather-stain of grayish brown, with cavernous verandas, and dormer- windowed roofs covering ten or twelve rooms. Within they are, if not elaborately finished, elaborately fitted up, with a constant regard to health in the plumbing and drainage. The water is brought in a system of pipes from a lake five miles away, and as it is only for summer use the pipes are not buried from the frost, but wander along the surface, through the ferns and brambles of the tough little sea-side knolls on which the cottages are perched, and climb the old tumbling stone walls of the original pastures before diving into the cemented basements.

1. In these paragraphs the author is attempting to:

A. excite the reader
B. set the scene
C. create a climax
D. examine his feelings

2. The author's attitude towards the summer cottages seems to be:

A. energetic and anxious
B. dismal and unnerving
C. irritated and unhappy
D. detached and indifferent

3. From where do the summer cottages draw their water supply?

A. the ocean
B. a nearby river
C. an underground well
D. a lake five miles away

4. Where are the water pipes located in relation to the land?

A. buried underground
B. hidden from view by rocks and sand
C. running along the surface
D. elevated 3 feet above the ground

5. The author explains that the cottages were originally built and inhabited by:

A. Native Americans
B. fishermen and farmers
C. English settlers
D. traveling merchants

Love Not
by Caroline Elizabeth Sheridan

Love not, love not, ye hapless sons of clay!
Hope's gayest wreaths are made of earthly flowers,--
Things that are made to fade and fall away
Ere they have blossomed for a few short hours.
Love not!

Love not! the thing ye love may change;
The rosy lip may cease to smile on you,
The kindly-beaming eye grow cold and strange,
The heart still warmly beat, yet not be true.
Love not!

Love not! the thing you love may die,--
May perish from the gay and gladsome earth;
The silent stars, the blue and smiling sky,
Beam o'er its grave, as once upon its birth.
Love not!

Love not! O warning vainly said
In present hours as in years gone by!
Love flings a halo round the dear one's head,
Faultless, immortal, till they change or die.
Love not!

6. Which of the following best expresses the author's attitude towards love?

A. Love is a joyful and fulfilling emotion.
B. One should do anything to find their true love.
C. True love is the greatest joy a person can know,
D. Love is a burden that is not worth the effort.

7. Which of these occurrences does the author not warn about in her poem?

A. the death of a lover
B. a lover changes for the worse
C. a lover is disloyal
D. a lover becomes wealthy

8. What does the author mean when she writes, "Love not! O warning vainly said In present hours as in years gone by!"?

A. She means that warning people about love has never and will never stop them from loving.
B. She means that once you love someone, you will always love them.
C. She means that only arrogant people can fall in love.
D. She means that the act of loving someone cannot stop them from leaving.

9. If the author were to retitle the poem, which would be a suitable choice?

A. Love is a Joyous Wonder
B. The Disappointment of Love
C. Contentment in Love
D. Love Has Found me

10. To what is the author comparing a loved one in the line, "Love flings a halo round the dear one's head,"?

A. a wounded bird
B. a lost sheep
C. an angel
D. a king

11. What conclusion can be drawn about the speaker of the poem?

A. They have been hurt by the loss and/or dishonesty of a loved one.
B. They hope to fall in love again soon.
C. They are in a loving relationship.
D. They have never experienced a broken heart.

12. To what does the author compare love in the first stanza of the poem?

A. birds that will fly away
B. flowers that will fade away
C. saints that will be proven sinners
D. unsmiling lips

A Dead Man's Diary
by: Coulson Kernahan

Some years ago I became so seriously ill that I was pronounced dying, and, finally, dead. Dead to all intents and purposes I remained for two days, when, to the astonishment of the physicians, I exhibited symptoms of returning vitality, and in a week was convalescent.

Of the moments preceding my passing I recollect only that there came over me a strange and sudden sense of loss, as though some life-element had gone out from me. Of pain there was none, nor any mental anxiety.

I recollect only an ethereal lightness of limb, and a sense of soul-emancipation and peace, a sense of soul-emancipation such as one might feel were he to awaken on a sunny summer morning to find that sorrow and sin were gone from the world for ever, a peace ample and restful as the hallowed hush and awe of twilight, without the twilight's tender pain.

Then I seemed to be sinking slowly and steadily through still depths of sun-steeped, light-filled waters that sang in my ears with a sound like a sweet, sad sobbing and soaring of music, and through which there swam up to me, in watered vistas of light, scenes of sunny seas and shining shores where smiling isles stretched league beyond league afar.

And so life ebbed away, until there came a time when the outward and deathward-setting tide seemed to reach its climax, and when I felt myself swept shoreward and lifeward again on the inward-setting tide of that larger life into which I had died.

My next recollection is that the events of my past life were rising before me. The hands on the dial of time went back a score of years, and I was a young man of twenty-one, living in chambers off Holborn. One evening there burst over London a fearful thunderstorm, and hearing a knock at my door, I opened it, to find a beautiful girl named Dorothy, the daughter of the housekeeper, standing there. Terrified by the lightning, and finding herself alone, she begged to be allowed to remain until her mother's return.

The words had scarcely passed her lips before there came another blinding flash of lightning, followed almost instantaneously by a terrific crash of thunder. With a cry of passion and fear, she flung her arms around me, and the next moment I found myself pressing her to my heart and telling her, amid a score of burning kisses, that I loved her.

13. The author's description of death leads the reader to believe that:

A. it is an agonizing journey into oblivion
B. it is painless and easy
C. it is terrifying and painful
D. it is a cold and lonely process

14. In paragraphs four and five the author uses a metaphor to compare his experience to what?

A. riding in a car
B. being adrift in a vast body of water
C. playing jump rope
D. riding a roller coaster

15. The speaker claims to have kissed a young woman during a rainstorm. According to his story, when did this happen?

A. on his wedding day
B. the day before he died
C. when the speaker was 21 years old
D. after the speaker died

Taken from Games and Play for School Morale
arranged by: Anna Vaughn and Mel Sheppard

It is just as essential that the teacher who enters a schoolroom in September know how to play with children as to teach them. By no better means, perhaps, may the spirit of friendship and co-operation be so thoroughly strengthened and firmly established as through games.

The mental, moral and physical growth attained through participation in games cannot be overestimated. To listen to directions, to understand them thoroughly and to execute them exactly as given require alert attention and accurate motion.

To play fair, win honestly and accept defeat cheerfully, remembering at all times to be courteous to opponents, are invaluable lessons, and conducive to good citizenship.

Active games quicken the sense perceptions. Through them the dull, passive mind is aroused to an active interest in external things to which the hitherto inert body is forced to respond. As a result the child observes more closely, thinks more clearly and moves with greater ease.

To rhythmic games may be attributed the freedom of movement, graceful carriage and appreciation for and response to rhythm by which the child attempts to give expression to his inmost feelings.

By correlation with language, quiet games furnish a successful means for establishing correct habits of speech. Correlated with number, much valuable drill in the fundamental processes may be secured in a most delightful and informal way.

All children love to play, and, cosmopolitan as is the blend of our public schools today, in the recreation period is found an opportunity for universal expression not afforded in other activities of the day. Keenly sensitive to their surroundings, they are quick to catch the enthusiasm of their leader.

The child, timid and retiring of disposition, becomes a creature of initiative, while not infrequently the forward, self-assured child is given a much needed lesson in self-restraint. Through his skill displayed in playing games involving contest, a formerly unappreciated child compels the respect and admiration of his classmates, a tribute that may play no small part in influencing his course in after life.

16. The author of this document is attempting to convince teachers that:

A. children should be strictly disciplined
B. classes should be conducted in a formal manner
C. games are an important part of teaching children
D. games are useless tools when teaching

17. What does the author mean by this sentence, "Keenly sensitive to their surroundings, they are quick to catch the enthusiasm of their leader"?

A. Children's attitudes are reflective of the person leading them in an activity.
B. Young children are difficult to teach.
C. Children are not able to sense the attitudes of their teachers.
D. Children are unable to grasp complex ideas.

18. Which of these are lessons children learn when playing games?

A. Yelling at opponents will get you what you want.
B. Play fairly, honestly, and courteously.
C. Always cry when you lose.
D. Winning honestly is overrated.

19. Which of the following assertions is not made by the article?

A. Playing games with children who are shy can help them to learn to take more initiative.
B. Playing games with dominant children can teach them to exercise self-restraint.
C. Playing games with children who are usually shunned by their peers can help to earn the respect of their classmates.
D. Playing games with sick children will make them feel better.

20. What is the author's attitude towards children and games?

A. The author dislikes children and games.
B. The author is disappointed by children when they play games.
C. The author enjoys playing games with children.
D. The author dislikes games and has no patience with children.

Answer Key

Last Updated: 05/21/2014

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