Reading Grade 5 - 2010 Released Test

Reading Passages

Directions: Read the story and answer the questions that follow.

A Rescued Project

1 It was Monday morning, and Katie hurried down the hallway to her classroom. She was meeting her best friend, Sarah, to work on their science fair project. The two girls were excited because the project was going well.


2 Katie and Sarah were testing various plant foods on the same type of plant. Their teacher, Mr. Hollander, let them use a table in the back of the classroom as a science lab. Each morning before school, the girls measured the plants. In the afternoons they took turns watering the plants with different types of food mixtures.

3 When Katie opened the classroom door, she gasped at the sight of their four plants. They had been standing tall on Friday afternoon, but now they drooped dangerously low. Katie touched the soil in the pots and discovered that it was almost dry. “Oh, no!” she said to herself. “Sarah must have forgotten to water them on Friday!” She was staring at the plants in horror when Sarah came into the classroom.

4 Sarah saw the distress on Katie’s face and felt awful when she noticed the condition of the plants. “I’m so sorry, Katie. I was in a hurry to get to softball practice Friday afternoon, and I forgot to water the plants,” Sarah said as she dropped her gym bag on the floor and walked over to the plants.

5 Katie held in the harsh words she felt. She did not want to be angry with Sarah. They had been friends since second grade, and whenever they worked on a project together, Sarah always had good ideas. Sometimes she was not responsible, though. Last week, for example, Sarah had misplaced their project journal. Katie helped Sarah retrace her steps that day. The girls had a big laugh when they found the journal in her gym bag, buried under Sarah’s softball uniform.

6 Katie sighed. She knew Sarah regretted overlooking the plants on Friday. “What do we do now?” Katie asked as she touched one of the sagging leaves. “Do you think our project is ruined?”

7 “Let’s try to save the project,” Sarah suggested with new hope. “Maybe Mr. Hollander can help.” Almost as if he had heard them mention his name, their teacher entered the room.

8 “Good morning,” he said as he walked to where the girls were standing. “What happened here? It looks like someone forgot to water the plants before the weekend.”

9 “I’m the one who forgot, Mr. Hollander,” admitted Sarah. “Is there anything we can do?” Their teacher looked thoughtful as he felt the soil in the pots.

10 “The soil is still damp, so the plants are not completely out of water,” he informed them. “Go ahead and water them now. By the end of the day you should be able to tell if any permanent damage has been done.”

11 The girls smiled at each other with new enthusiasm. They quickly combined the different plant foods with water and carefully poured the mixtures into each of the pots. Throughout the day they eyed the plants hopefully. Slowly the sagging leaves perked up, and by the afternoon the plants looked healthy again.

12 Before going home, Sarah and Katie measured the plants. Sarah then pointed to a piece of paper under the clear plastic pocket of her binder. She had listed the days she was responsible for watering the plants. “Now I won’t forget,” she said.

13 With a sigh of relief, Katie patted Sarah on the back and teased, “Clever idea, Sarah!”


Directions: Read the article and answer the questions that follow.

Shades of History

1 Trees are an important part of American history. All 50 states in America have official state trees, but many people do not know how or why these trees were chosen. Each state has its own special story about how its official state tree was selected.

How It All Began
2 Texas was the first state to have a state tree. Texans made the pecan tree their official state tree in 1919. When people in other states heard about this decision, they decided to have official state trees too. The people of Connecticut chose the white oak tree in honor of their famous Charter Oak, which was used to hide the colony’s charter from the English in 1687. The official state tree of Massachusetts is the elm tree, chosen to honor the Sons of Liberty who would often meet under an elm tree to discuss plans to rebel against British rule over the American colonies.

The Choice Is Clear
3 The choices in Connecticut and Massachusetts were easy to make, but how did other states choose their trees? The people in Maine and Minnesota picked conifer trees because the trees are used for lumber and shipbuilding, important industries in the two states. Maine chose the white pine, and Minnesota chose the red pine. The people of Alaska named the Sitka spruce as their official state tree. It provided a lightweight wood that served many purposes. Hawaii is the only state that chose a tree that was not native to its own state. The people of Hawaii chose the candlenut tree, which originally came from southeastern Asia. The paste of candlenut kernels was once used to make candles. That is why it is called the candlenut tree. Virginia chose the flowering dogwood as its tree. The flowering dogwood blooms in the spring and grows throughout the state.

Let the Students Decide
4 Mississippi and West Virginia had a unique way of picking their official state trees. They asked schoolchildren to vote for the tree they liked best. In Mississippi, the children voted for the magnolia tree. The popular sugar maple was chosen by children in West Virginia.

Being a Part of History
5 The next time you enjoy the shade of a tree, it might just be an official tree of the state you are in or a tree that helped build America. In many ways, you could be standing in the shades of history.

Directions: Read the story and answer the questions that follow.

As Easy as 1, 2, 3

1 “Uno, dos, tres . . .” James counted out loud the number of pages in his history report. His older brother, Matt, sat across the kitchen table from him.

2 “What are you doing now, James?” asked Matt, slightly annoyed by James’s loud voice. “I’m trying to study for my math test. I can’t concentrate if you keep talking,” Matt complained.

3 “I need to count the number of pages in my history report. We need to have at least five pages about the American Revolution. So far I only have three.”

4 “Why do you have to count out loud? Why does it have to be in Spanish?” Matt asked, even more upset than before.

5 “I’m counting in Spanish because we’re learning our numbers in Spanish class. My Spanish teacher, Mr. Folley, said that we should practice out loud. Speaking to others instead of reading to ourselves will help us with our pronunciation.” James had always wanted to learn Spanish, and Mr. Folley helped him realize the importance of knowing a second language.

6 “I’m going to another room,” Matt said as he picked up his books and walked away.

7 “Okay, but you’ll be sorry when the day comes that I know Spanish and you don’t,” James joked as his brother let the kitchen door shut behind him.

8 A few weeks later, James and Matt visited the local grocery store. While they were there, Matt saw a sign written in Spanish. Matt quickly ran to the sign and covered the words written in English.

9 “James,” Matt yelled to his brother. “Come here. I have something I want you to read.” James walked to where his brother was standing and saw the sign. “Do you know what this sign says?” Matt asked, expecting James to stare at the sign with a look of confusion. To Matt’s surprise, James read the sign out loud.

10 “The sign says, ‘Hello. Welcome to our store,’” James said. Matt was surprised that his brother could read the words. He knew that James had been practicing Spanish, but he did not realize that his brother was advancing that quickly. Only a few weeks ago James was practicing simple numbers in Spanish. Now he was translating entire sentences.

11 “I can also read that sign over there,” James said, pointing to a sign warning customers about the wet floor. James continued reading signs and some food labels, stumbling over only a few words here and there.

12 “Well, James,” Matt said as they walked out of the store. “I’m impressed by how quickly you are learning to speak Spanish.”

13 “Spanish is easy, Matt, and fun to learn,” James replied, beaming with confidence after hearing his brother’s compliment. “You should practice with me. We could both speak Spanish at home.”

14 Matt thought about James’s comment. “A new student from Mexico joined my math class last week, and he asked if I could help him study for an upcoming quiz. Maybe I could invite him home for dinner. I could help him with his math homework, and he could help us with our Spanish. How does that sound?”

15 “That’s a great idea!” James exclaimed. He couldn’t wait to tell Mr. Folley about his brother’s new plan.


Directions: Read the article and answer the questions that follow.

Monticello: A Mountaintop Treasure

1 Thomas Jefferson was a man of many achievements. He served as governor of Virginia, representative of America’s government to France, vice president to President John Adams, and the third President of the United States. One of his greatest achievements, however, was designing and building his farm and plantation home, Monticello, located on a mountaintop near Charlottesville, Virginia.

2 Although Thomas Jefferson was an accomplished man, many people do not know that he was a talented gardener who devoted much of his time to caring for the land around his plantation home. It was here that Jefferson kept a diary to record his advancements in growing flowers, plants, fruits, and vegetables. His daughters and granddaughters even took part in this special hobby that was so dear to him. Today, the area is visited by thousands of people each year, but to truly appreciate the beauty of the stunning gardens and thriving trees, one must go back in history to learn about how this land gained the color and richness it boasts today.

3 Monticello was more than a house to Jefferson. It was also a working farm and plantation covering 5,000 acres. There were flower gardens, fruit and vegetable gardens, and fields. The two orchards grew 170 types of fruit, and the vegetable garden grew 250 kinds of vegetables and herbs. Monticello also was an experimental laboratory. Jefferson brought seeds and plants back from his travels. He even tried to grow broccoli from Italy and peppers from Mexico. In addition, Jefferson was one of the first Americans to practice a new method of farming. Every seven years he grew a different crop in a certain field. By changing the crops to different fields, Jefferson kept the soil fresh. First he grew wheat, then Indian corn, peas or potatoes, and clover.

4 Not only did Jefferson want a working farm, but he also enjoyed the beauty of the land. In the spring of 1808, Jefferson designed a winding walk bordered with colorful flowers from North America and Europe. This walkway circled the West Lawn and was the front area of the home. It was somewhat of an open garden, which was modeled after English gardens Jefferson had visited. In 1812 Jefferson decided to divide the walkway into different sections. A different type of flower grew in each section. Throughout the years, the flower gardens were cared for by his daughters and granddaughters.

5 Along with the attractive winding walk, 20 oval flower beds of beautiful, rich colors surrounded the home. Jefferson first began to plan for the flower beds in 1807, drawing a sketch of where they would be planted. Each bed contained a different flower, creating a diversity of plant life on the grounds. Some of the types of flowers planted that year were twinleaf, Columbian lily, and the Cardinal flower.

6 Thomas Jefferson lived the last 17 years of his life at his treasured home. There, he often entertained visitors, showing them the variety of plant life on the grounds of Monticello. Jefferson let everyone know that his home was his happiness.