English Reading Practice

Human Right Number 18:
Freedom of Thought

1. Watch the video at the top of the page.

2. Read the story "Freedom of Thought" just below it.

3. Do the exercise at the bottom of the page.

Here is the Freedom of Thought video. You can watch it in your own language at www.youthforhumanrights.org. (Simply click the word "language" at the top of their homepage.)



The Universal Declaration of Human Rights describes 30 basic rights that each person has, simply because he or she is human.

This is human right number 18 (the simplified version):

"18. Freedom of Thought. We all have the right to believe in what we want to believe, to have a religion, or to change it if we want."

Now read the short story about this important human right.

Freedom of Thought  

Madeline finishes her marketing exam with a sigh. She passes it in and walks out of the classroom.

Her friend Abe says to her, "Why so sad? Did your test not go well?"

Madeline smiles, "No, It is not that. I just know that my answer to the essay question does not match the professor's answer."

Abe looks confused. "Well, if you know what answer the professor wants, why not just give it to him?"

Madeline smiles sadly, "Because I do not agree with him. I could not bring myself to write something I do not believe. Do not worry, my theory has plenty of evidence to support it. My essay is good. My answer is correct. It is just a different answer than the one he teaches."

Abe nods. "Oh, I think I understand. I am just surprised that you risk a bad grade to stand up for your idea."

Madeline smiles again, "I know, crazy, right?"

A few days later, the professor hands the exams back to the students. Madeline is shocked to see an A on her test.

After class, she approaches her professor. "Thank you for the A," she says.

He smiles, "You do not have to thank me. You earn your grades, and your work deserves an A."

"Okay," she says, "I am just surprised. I know that my answer to the essay question does not match your philosophy."

"True," he agrees, "but you have the right to your own ideas. You have freedom of thought. Trust me – your work deserves an A, even if we disagree on everything!"

"Wow, thanks," Madeline says and walks away, happy and determined to always stand up for her ideas.


And now, practice:

Exercise 01

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