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Study English: ESL Intermediate Story

Read this story and practice with reading comprehension questions.

The Monkeys


1. These monkeys lives at the San Diego Zoo. They are very comfortable hanging out in the tops of trees. To a human being, the tops of trees are precarious! People come to the zoo and watch as the monkeys move across high branches. Sometimes they make dramatic leaps from one tree to the other. Or, the leaps seem dramatic to people. To the monkeys, they are just moving around.

2. Monkeys come in many sizes. The smallest monkeys are 5-6 inches long and the largest monkeys are 3.3 feet long. The smallest monkeys weigh only 4-5 ounces while the largest monkeys can weigh 77 pounds. Monkeys eat fruit, leaves, nuts, eggs, flowers, leaves, insects and small animals. Monkeys are known for their elaborate thinking. They know about seasonal fruits, and they sometimes use sticks as tools to dig for insects.

3. Most monkeys are arboreal. That means they live in trees. All monkeys hold onto branches with their hands and feet. Only some monkeys have the kind of tail that can hold onto branches. The tail has ridges on the underside and is very flexible so that they can hold onto something as small as a twig. These tails help monkeys hold on tightly  while they collect food in trees, like fruit and nuts. Monkeys have very limber bodies and get into many positions while moving through the trees.

4. Scientists group monkeys by where they live. Old world monkeys like in Africa and Asia. New World monkeys live in Mexico, Central America and South America.

Answer the questions (answers are at the bottom of the page):

1. What could be a title for this story?

A. Arboreal Monkeys
B. Monkeys Eat Fruit
C. Monkeys Can Be Small or Large
D. Monkey Facts

2. Which details are included in this story?

A. monkeys eat fruit, monkeys live in trees, monkeys like people
B. monkeys live in Asia, Africa and South America, monkeys eat fruit
C. some monkeys can hold on with their tails, some monkeys are pets
D. monkeys like people, monnkeys are pets, monkeys help handicapped people

3. What is a FACT, not an opinion, from the story?

A. Monkeys are more limber than human beings.
B. Monkeys can be extremely small.
C. Most monkeys live in trees.
D. The smartest monkeys live on the ground.

4. What is an OPINION, not a fact, from the story?

A. Monkeys eat fruit, nuts, leaves and insects.
B. Scientiests put monkeys in 2 groups: Old World and New World.
C. The Old World monkeys live in Africa and Asia.
D. The monkeys at the San Diego Zoo are amazing.

5. How small are the smallest monkeys?

A. 3.3 inches long
B. 5-6 inches long
C. 4-5 inches long
D. 3.3 feet long

6. Match the words to the definitions:

tightly                      a. flexible
  precarious               b. with grip
              limber                      c. overly emotional
      dramatic                  d. complicated
     elaborate                 e. dangerous

(answers below)

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Answers: 1. d, 2. b, 3. c, 4. d, 5. b, 6. tightly: b, precarious: e, limber: a, dramatic: c, elaborate: d