Free Resources for Students and Teachers of English as a Foreign Language in China - by Paul Sparks

Read and write messages for me!

 About Me
 World News
 ICQ Chat
 Contact Me





Now Watch TV Online for free with my new site -

Click Here to return to the previous page


Paul Sparks, Sino-Canadian International College, Guangxi University, Online English Lesson Plans, Lesson Material and Ideas for Semester 2 Reading Lessons...



Reading: Speed Reading Practice

Lesson Objectives: To practice and increase rate of reading.


Instructions: Read the following text using various methods of speed reading to increase your reading rate.

Reading Rate: "The Choking Dog"

"Come on, come on, move it, idiot!"

Joanne beat impatiently on the steering wheel of her Mercedes sports car. How stupid to get caught up in the rush hour! She had planned to leave work early this afternoon, at three o'clock, to give herself a chance to relax and have a bath before going out to a meeting of her local tennis club. But just at ten to three a client had arrived, and it was two hours before she had finished dealing with the man. When she came out of her office, all the other staff in the Highlight Advertising Agency had already left. Now she was stuck in a traffic jam in central Birmingham at 5:30, and at 6:30 she was expected to be chairing a meeting of the tennis club. There would be no time for any hot bath.

Ahead of her, the traffic was moving at last, and she swung quickly out into the centre lane to turn right, and raced the last half-mile through the quiet suburban streets to her house. Pulling up on the driveway, she leapt out of the car and ran for the house. As she opened the door, she nearly tripped over Sheba, who was standing behind it.

"Hey, Sheba, hello," she said, bending down to stroke the large alsatian dog's head, "I've got no time for you now, but I'll take you out as soon as I get back from the tennis club."

It was then that she noticed something worrying about the dog. Sheba seemed to be coughing or choking, her stomach pumping repeatedly as if she was trying to vomit something up. She was obviously in real discomfort and could hardly breathe; her sad eyes gazed up at Joanne helplessly.

"Oh damn, this is all I need now," said Joanne to herself, dropping her briefcase and bending down to take a closer look, "a sick dog, today of all days!" On closer examination, Sheba did look very sick, and Joanne realised she would have to take her down to the vet immediately. Luckily, the vet's surgery was only a few streets away, and Joanne quickly loaded the dog, still coughing and choking, into her car for the short drive.

When she got there, the surgery was just about to close for the day. Luckily, Dr. Sterne had not left yet, and when he saw the state of Sheba, he brought her quickly into his office.

"It looks like something is stuck in her throat," said Dr. Sterne. It shouldn't take me too long to get it out."

"Listen, doctor, I'm really in a rush to get to a meeting -- can I leave her with you, and go and get changed? I'll be back in ten minutes to pick her up, then I'll take her on to the meeting with me. Is that OK?"

"Sure," said the doctor. "You get going. I'll see you in ten minutes."

Joanne jumped back into her car again, and made the quick trip round to her house in a couple of minutes. As she was once more entering the hallway, the phone on the table by the door began to ring. She picked it up, annoyed by this additional interruption to her plans.

"This is Dr. Sterne," said an anxious voice. "Is that you, Joanne?"

"Of course it's me," said Joanne, surprised at the sound of his voice, "no-one else lives here."

"I want you to get right out of that house immediately," said the doctor's voice. "Right now. I'm coming round right away, and the police will be there any time now. Wait outside for us." The phone went dead. Joanne stared at it. She was confused, but she was also a little frightened by the obvious fear in the voice of the doctor. She replaced the receiver, then quickly backed out of the door and ran into the street.

At that moment, a police car with its lights flashing swung round the corner and screeched to a stop outside the house. Two policemen got out. After briefly checking that she was the owner of the house, they ran into the house through the still open door, without explaining anything. Joanne was by now completely confused and very frightened. Then the doctor arrived.

"Where's Sheba? Is she OK?" shouted Joanne, running over to his car.

"She's fine, Joanne. I extracted the thing which was choking her, and she's OK now."

"Well what's this all about? Why are the police in my house?"

Just then, the two policemen reappeared from the house, half-carrying a white-faced figure, a man in a dark grey sweater and jeans, who, it seemed, could hardly walk. There was blood all over him.

"My God," said Joanne, "how did he get in there? And how did you know he was there?"

"I think he must be a burglar," said the doctor. "I knew he was there because when I finally removed what was stuck in Sheba's throat, it turned out to be three human fingers. I don't think he's a very happy burglar."

Multiple-Choice Questions: 

Complete the following questions to check your understanding of the reading:

1. Where did Joanne work?

a) an advertising agency

b) a vet's surgery

c) a Mercedes dealer's office

d) the text does not say 

2. Why was she angry at the beginning of the story?

a) She was lost. 

b) She had lost a client at work. 

c) She was stuck in a traffic jam. 

d) Her dog was sick. 

3. Why did she take the dog to Dr. Sterne's surgery? 

a) It was time for Sheba's checkup. 

b) The dog couldn't breathe properly. 

c) She wanted to get her out of the house. 

d) The doctor had asked to see her. 

4. Why did she leave the dog at the surgery and drive home again? 

a) She wanted to catch a burglar. 

b) The dog was too sick to come home. 

c) The doctor wanted to keep her. 

d) Joanne wanted to change her clothes. 

5. How long did it take Joanne to drive home from the surgery? 

a) two minutes 

b) ten minutes 

c) an hour 

d) the text does not say 

6. What happened as she arrived home for the second time? 

a) The police arrived. 

b) The phone rang. 

c) The dog died. 

d) A burglar was just escaping. 

7. Why did the doctor tell her to get out of the house? 

a) There was a dangerous dog in there. 

b) It was on fire. 

c) He knew there was a burglar inside. 

d) He wanted to meet her outside.

8. Why did the burglar look very sick? 

a) The police had caught him, and he would probably have to go to prison. 

b) He had caught a disease from the dog. 

c) He hadn't found any valuable things to steal. 

d) The dog had bitten off his fingers. 

9. The story says that the dog "gazed up at Joanne helplessly". "Gazed" means 

a) stared 

b) cried 

c) barked 

d) laughed

10. A "vet's surgery" is probably 

a) a serious operation 

b) a minor operation 

c) an animal doctor's office 

d) a police station

Click Here to Return to Top of Page