English Reading Practice

Moral Story Number 6:
Set a Good Example

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

2. Read the story "Set a Good Example" just below it.

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

Here is the Set a Good Example video. You can watch it in your own language at The Way to Happiness Foundation. (Simply click the word "language" at the top right corner of that page.) 

The Way to Happiness is a common sense guide to better living which has been distributed to more than 100 million people in over 100 languages. It describes 21 principles to a better quality of life.

Principle number 6 is "Set a Good Example."

Now read the short story about this important principle.

Set a Good Example

In a small town lives an old man named Mr. Benson. He lives alone. He has a big scar on his face that makes him look a little scary. No one talks to him, and no one helps him carry his things up the difficult stairs to his home. 

Mr. Benson does not have any friends. He is not married. But one day, a new family moves into the neighborhood. They are a nice couple, Mr. and Mrs. Clarence, and their children, Amanda and David. They move into the building where Mr. Benson lives.

The other people who live in the building welcome the new family. They say hello to Amanda and David, but they tell them not to talk to Mr. Benson. "He is a scary old man. He has no friends and he has a strange scar."

Amanda, David, and their parents think this is very silly advice. When they see Mr. Benson in the hallway or in the street outside their building, they always say hello with a smile and ask how he is feeling today.

Mr. Benson is very happy to see them. He tells them they are always welcome in his home. He gives Amanda and David some delicious cupcakes to eat.

Mr. and Mrs. Clarence always help Mr. Benson with his groceries, and Amanda and David like to sit and drink tea with him. He tells wonderful stories! He was once a very famous chef, and he makes the most delicious desserts in the whole world, in Amanda's opinion. 

One evening, all the neighbors in the building hear laughter and the sounds of cups and plates and silverware in Mr. Benson's apartment. They are very confused! It sounds like a delightful dinner. They all wonder why they are not invited. 

The next day, Mrs. Clarence talks to her neighbors. "You really must get to know Mr. Benson. He is so funny! And he is a fantastic chef. He told us the amazing story of his scar. He had an accident when he was helping his parents on their farm."

The neighbors all feel very silly. They do not know anything about Mr. Benson. They all start to follow the examples the Clarences gave them.

Soon, they all enjoy Mr. Benson's delicious cakes every weekend at their potluck dinners. Everyone brings something to these weekly dinners, and they share their food and their time with each other. What they love most of all are Mr. Benson's funny stories!

As they watch Amanda and David play and laugh with Mr. Benson, the neighbors all see that there was nothing to be afraid of. They were not kind to the old man, and he is really a good person. Everyone in the building is happier because of the good example the Clarence family set for them. They all live better together now, and Mr. Benson does not feel lonely anymore because he is now part of the community.  

And now, practice:


Vocabulary Questions

1. What does "set an example" mean?

a) to explain to someone how to do something

b) to learn how to do something

c) to use your actions to show good behavior

d) to tell others what they are doing wrong

2. What does "potluck" mean?

a) a meal shared by lots of people where everyone contributes something

b) a big party with lots of food to celebrate an event

c) a special traditional meal to celebrate a national holiday

d) a time to say thank you for the good food we eat

3. What does "get to know" mean?

a) to talk about someone

b) to ask other people about someone

c) to get something from someone

d) to spend time with someone and learn about him or her

Grammar Questions

1. No one talks ________ him.

a) to

b) by

c) for

d) from

2. They ________ know anything about Mr. Benson.

a) does not

b) do not

c) are not

d) is not

3. Mr. Benson does not feel lonely ________.

a) already

b) still

c) yet

d) anymore

Comprehension Questions

1. Why do the neighbors stay away from Mr. Benson?
2. What do Amanda and her parents think about this?
3. In your opinion, can the examples you set change other people's ideas or behaviors?

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