English Reading Practice
In the Beginning
The United States as we know it today is a very young country. It was
founded in 1776. "Founded" means that it became a new country.
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In 1776 there were already a lot of people living in the United States.
Many of these people were British or had British ancestors (people in
their family like a parent or grandparent).
When they arrived in the United States, they met the Native Americans.
The Native Americans were people who already lived in the United
States. Native Americans belonged to many different tribes (small group
of people who live together) and spoke many different languages. They
helped the British find food and wood to build their houses.
Today, Americans celebrate this friendship between the
British and Native American each Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is a
holiday in November when all Americans get together with family and
friends and share a big meal. The meal always has turkey, which is a
bird that the Native Americans and British ate many years ago. This is
a special day when Americans think about how thankful they are for
their family, friends, and everything they have in their lives.
After the United States was founded, more and more people began coming
to the country. Soon, there was not enough room in the cities for
everyone. People decided that they would explore the land out to the
west. "Explore" means go and visit.
In the 1800s, President Thomas
Jefferson sent two men named Lewis and Clark to explore the western
part of the United States. Lewis and Clark had an amazing journey
(trip) and came back with stories of plains (flat, grassy areas),
mountains, deserts, and another ocean.
They said that people could live
in the west. So, new immigrants to the United States began to settle
the West. An "immigrant" is a person from another country who goes to
live in a new country. As more and more people arrived, they moved
further and further west.
They found farm land, new kinds of animals,
and many more Native American tribes. They also found gold in the land
that is now California. From 1848-1855, people moved west quickly to
try to find their own gold. This was called the California Gold Rush.
Connecting the Country
By the late 1800s and early 1900s, there were many people living in
both the eastern and western United States. People wanted to make it
easy to travel and transport (move) food and materials from one coast
to the other. This is when the railroads were built.
connected big cities in the east like New York and Philadelphia to big
cities in the west like San Francisco. Railroads changed the United
States and made it into the country it is today.
Today, most Americans
fly or drive around the country when they want to travel. But the
railroads are still an important way for food and materials to move
around the country.
The United States has grown a lot since the first settlers arrived.
Those first people had no idea that the country they founded would
become so large and be home to so many different people.
And now, practice:
The United States - Exercises
1. What does "founded" mean?
a) When something is lost
b) When something is bought
c) When something becomes a new country
d) When something becomes an old country
2. What is an "immigrant"?
a) A person who is born in
b) A person who travels to a country but doesn't stay
c) A person who never leaves their own country
d) A person who travels to a new country and stays to live there
3. What are "plains"?
a) flat, grassy areas
1. The Native Americans ________ the British find food and
wood to build their houses.
c) had helped
d) will help
2. Soon, there was not enough room ________ the cities for
3) To connect the east and west, the railroads ________ built.
c) had been
d) will be
1. When was the United States founded?
2. What holiday is celebrated in November to remember the British and
3. What helped connect the east and west coasts of the United States?