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Analyzing Informational Texts (Grade 7)

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Analyzing Informational Texts

The raisin business in America was born by accident. It happened in 1873 in the San Joaquin Valley of California. Many farmers raised grapes in this valley. That year, just before the grape harvest, there was a heat wave. It was one of the worst heat waves ever known. It was so hot the grapes dried on the vines. When they were picked, California had its first raisin crop.

People were surprised to find how good raisins were. Everybody wanted more. So the San Joaquin farmers went into the raisin business. Today, of course, they do not let the grapes dry on the vines. They treat them with much more care.

In late August the grapes start to ripen. They are tested often for sweetness. The growers wait until the sugar content is twenty-one percent. Then they know the grapes are ripe enough to be picked.

Skilled workers come to the vineyards. They pick the bunches of grapes by hand. The workers fill their flat pans with grapes. They gently empty the pans onto squares of paper. These squares lie between the long rows of vines. They sit in the sun.

Here the grapes stay while the sun does its work. It may take two weeks or longer. The grapes are first dried on one side. When they have reached the right color, they are turned to dry on the other side. The grapes are dried until only fifteen percent of the moisture is left. Then they have turned into raisins.

The raisins are rolled up in the paper on which they have dried. Trucks take them from the fields. They are poured into big boxes called sweatboxes. Each box holds one hundred and sixty pounds of raisins. Here, any raisins that are a bit too dry take moisture from those that have a bit too much. After a while they are all just moist enough.

The big boxes are trucked next to the packaging plant. They are emptied onto a conveyor belt that shakes the raisins gently. This knocks them from their stems. A blast of air whisks the stems away. The water bath is next. Then the plump brown raisins have a last inspection. They are again checked for moisture and sugar. Then they go on a belt to packing machines. Here they are poured into packages, which are automatically weighed and sealed. The raisins are now ready for market.

What is the main idea of this passage?
  1. The process of raisin development requires multiple steps.
  2. California has been the leader in American raisin development.
  3. Raisins on the grocery store shelf undergo a brief fermentation process.
When you want to hang the American flag over the middle of a street, suspend it vertically with the blue field, called the union, to the north and east-west street. When the flag is displayed with another banner from crossed staffs, the American flag is on the right. Place the staff of the American flag in front of the other staff. Raise the flag quickly and lower it slowly and respectfully. When flying the flag at half-mast, hoist it to the top of the pole for a moment before lowering it to mid-pole. When flying the American flag with banners from states or cities, raise the nation's banner first and lower it last. Never allow the flag to touch the ground.

What is the main idea of this passage?
  1. The Flag should be flown differently depending on the circumstances.
  2. The Flag has fifty stars on it.
  3. Flying the Flag inappropriately is against the law.
  4. Citizens like to fly the flag for many different occasions.
What question should you ask yourself to find the main idea of a passage or paragraph?
  1. What is happening in this paragraph?
  2. What is going on in this paragraph?
  3. Who or what is the paragraph talking about?
  4. What is the most important point the author wants me to understand?
Read the descriptions of each item and determine the author's purpose in writing it (to entertain, persuade, or inform).

1. The story of a young athlete who takes steroids and his life and future fall apart.

2. A medical report describing the effects of steroids on the human body.
  1. entertain, persuade
  2. persuade, inform
  3. entertain, inform
  4. inform, entertain
Skin Miracle's amazing Wrinkle Remover Cream will make you look younger in thirty days or less. This remarkable cream has special ingredients to make your wrinkles disappear. The cost for a thirty day supply is $25.99. You'll be amazed at what you see!

The author's purpose is to:
  1. Persuade
  2. Inform
  3. Entertain
  4. Describe
Read the passage below:

Do you ever wonder how you taste things? You owe your sense of taste to your taste buds. We have nine thousand taste buds just on the tongue alone. There are also taste buds on the roof of your mouth. You even have taste buds on the back of your throat.

What does the author want you to learn when he wrote this passage?
  1. why we can taste only sweet things
  2. that we taste through our nose
  3. where taste buds are found
  4. without taste buds life would be boring
Read the passage below:

Were you born after 1985? If so, how long do you expect to live? Most people born after 1985 can expect to live more than 70 years. Of course, this is just a guess based on past records. By the way, females can expect to live about six years longer than males. That's taken from past records too!

What does this passage mostly about?
  1. why people live to be 70
  2. how long you might expect to live
  3. about the health of females
  4. past records give you information
You've probably heard people telling you not to take illegal drugs since you were a little kid. You probably have high hopes and big dreams for your future. If everyone else has these similar hopes and dreams, how is it possible that someone smart and ambitious abuses drugs?

Unfortunately, our society is filled with mixed messages. On one hand, you might see the commercial encouraging you to keep away from drugs of abuse. The next minute you might be watching a movie where the character thinks drugs are cool. Using illegal drugs, though, is downright dangerous. They can have permanent, negative effects on your body. Most are addictive. Illegal drugs are a huge force in car crashes and crimes. If people share needles, they can contract hepatitis B or HIV. A person can overdose, or take too much of a drug, and get sick or even die. People using illegal drugs can use poor judgment, thereby causing many other problems to occur.

IT IS NEVER WORTH THE RISK TO TAKE ILLEGAL DRUGS. So why do some people start? Some want to experiment and try something new. Some feel depressed or bored. Some people like high-risk situations. Some think drugs will help solve their problems. Many experience peer pressure.

The problem with all these reasons is that once a person starts it is hard to stop. He might like the feeling, but the more he uses, the more he feels he must take. In reality, drug abuse negatively affects his life.

Drug abuse affects the individual. Drug abuse affects the family. Drug abuse affects society. You've already learned the individual risks - health problems, accidents, and violence. For a few minutes of feeling "high," an individual risks everything - college, a job, and a future. Also, it is a crime just to process illegal drugs.

Drug abuse is a problem for families. What do you think the first thing a family loses when drugs are involved? Trust is. Teenagers, and other abusers, often have to lie to hide their problem. Very often they steal money from family members in order to obtain the drugs. A person that is abusing drugs often reacts strangely to situations, withdraws from loved ones, breaks rules, changes friends, or dresses differently. At least twenty-five percent of family violence is connected to drugs.

Drug abuse affects society. Very often a person who uses illegal drugs needs medical attention. That healthcare is often paid for by the government, which is ultimately furnished by a working person's paycheck. Drug abuse is also connected to crime. Sixty-four billion dollars was spent dealing with drug-related crime in 1995. There are so many cases that many states now have their own drug courts. Of course, there is no way to estimate the costs of someone who is a victim of a drug abuser.

So, now you know why people start taking drugs. You also know that drug abuse ultimately affects everyone. It is important, therefore, to say no to drugs. How can you do that?

Get involved with others who are drug free. Stay active or volunteer. Stay away from those who use drugs so you won't feel pressured. If you are pressured anyway, say no anyway. Only you can protect your future. A true friend won't force you to do something that might hurt you. Say no firmly. Leave the situation to buy yourself time. Be specific about why you don't do drugs and what would happen if you did. Suggest something else to do. If all else fails, leave.

Live drug free. Even though you might feel pressured, you will help yourself protect your future.
Twenty five percent of violence is connected to drugs.
  1. True
  2. False
What is the first thing a family loses when drug abuse is involved?
  1. Pet
  2. House
  3. Money
  4. Trust
Which is not a smart thing to do when a person feels pressure to take illegal drugs?
  1. take a small amount and hope the side effects are small.
  2. say no firmly.
  3. excuse yourself from the situation.
  4. be specific about why you do not want to do drugs.

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