Reading Comprehension Text and Exercises

Los Angeles

The City of Angels

Los Angeles is the largest city in the Western United States and the second-largest in the country after New York City. It is the cultural and economic center of southern California. Los Angeles is famous around the world for being the home of Hollywood movies.     

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The name Los Angeles means "The Angels" in Spanish. This city was founded by the Spanish in the 18th century.

Its full name at this time was "El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de los Angeles de Porciuncula". This translates as "The Town of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels of Porziuncola". The Porziuncola is a famous church in Italy which was the birthplace of the Franciscan movement. "Our Lady" refers to the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus Christ.      

Reading Comprehension Text and Exercises, Los Angeles

A Brief History of Los Angeles

  • Before Europeans arrived on the Western coast of North America, the area was home to a number of different Native American tribes. These included the Tongva and the Chumash.

    In 1542, this area became part of the Spanish Empire after being discovered by the explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo. However no Spaniards lived in the area for over 200 years after this date.
  • In 1769 the Spanish soldier Gaspar de Portola and the Catholic priest Juan Crespi reached the present site of Los Angeles. By 1781, a group of forty-four settlers had established the town. The town remained very small until 1821. In this year it became a part of the newly independent state of Mexico.

    Los Angeles was chosen as the new capital of the Mexican state of Alta California. This encouraged more people to move to the town. It became an important center for political life in the area.
  • The Mexican-American war was fought between 1946 and 1848. Control over California, including Los Angeles, passed to the United States after the signing of the Treaty of Cahuenga. Los Angeles was connected to the rest of the United States by the Southern Pacific Transcontinental Railroad in 1876.

    In 1892, oil was discovered near the city. This led to many people moving to Los Angeles in order to work in the new oil industry. By the early 1920s, California was the largest producer of oil in the United States.  
  • The 1920s was also an important time in the history of the film industry in Los Angeles. At this time, more than 80% of the world's films were being made in the Hollywood neighborhood of the city.

    By 1930, the city's population had grown to over 1 million. In 1932, Los Angeles hosted the Summer Olympic Games.
  • During the Second World War (1939-1945), Los Angeles was a big center for building ships and airplanes. In 1969, the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) became the birthplace of the internet.
    The city hosted the Summer Olympic Games once more in 1984, and is scheduled to do so again in 2028.

    The city suffered a serious earthquake in 1994 which caused millions of dollars of damage. However it quickly recovered and is now one of the wealthiest cities in the world.

Santa Monica Beach

Santa Monica Beach is the best-known stretch of coastline in Los Angeles. It is famous for being a place where many of California's famous "beautiful people" come. A special part of the beach known as "Muscle Beach" has equipment for exercising and lifting weights and is usually full of very fit young men and women.

The Beach is also home to Santa Monica Pier. This is one of Los Angeles' most famous seaside attractions. The pier was built on Santa Monica Beach over 100 years ago to act as a destination for entertainment and dining. Its attractions include a large amusement park called Pacific Park and a major aquarium which is home to sharks, octopuses, and stingray.

Hollywood Walk of Fame

The Hollywood Walk of Fame is one the most famous and most photographed streets in Los Angeles. It is made up of more than 2,600 Hollywood Stars which are embedded in the sidewalks along Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street.

These stars contain the names of people who have achieved success in Hollywood. These include famous actors, musicians, film directors, and even some fictional characters. The Walk of Fame is a popular attraction for tourists exploring Hollywood, with over 10 million visitors per year.

Universal Studios

Universal Studios is one of the oldest and best-known movie studios and theme parks in Los Angeles. Known as "the Entertainment Capital of L.A.", it offers visitors the chance to take a tour of real-life movie sets as well as enjoy some exciting theme park rides. The Studios have been open to paying visitors since as early as 1915.

A more and more people attended these tours, extra attractions were created to keep people entertained, which were themed on famous movies filmed in the studios. One of Universal Studios' most popular sections contains rides and attractions based on the Harry Potter book and movie series.

California Science Center

California Science Center is located in Exposition Park in the south of the city. It is one of the best and most entertaining places to learn about science in the whole of the United States.

The museum is the home of some amazing exhibits such as the Space Shuttle Endeavor which carried astronauts into space between 1992 and 2011. It also contains sections which tell the story of life on earth from prehistoric times to the present day. Its collection of airplanes and spacecraft are among the largest in the world.

An Authentic Los Angeles Dish

Meat eaters are recommended to try one of Los Angeles' most distinctive dishes, the French Dip Sandwich. According to a popular story, this dish was invented in the early 20th century. A French chef accidentally dropped an L.A. police officer's beef sandwich in juices which were left over during from cooking the meat.

The police officer liked the sandwich so much that it became a regular part of the menu. It can now be found being served in restaurants and diners across the city.

Comprehension Exercises

Vocabulary Questions

  1. What does "priest" mean?
    1. a religious leader in the Catholic Church
    2. a king or emperor
    3. a soldier or warrior

  2. What does "established" mean?
    1. shut down or closed
    2. founded or started
    3. maintained or kept running

  3. What does "equipment" mean?
    1. a pile of rocks or stones
    2. a group of young men
    3. a kit or collection of items used for a particular purpose 

  4. What does "embedded" mean?
    1. to tear something into two equal halves
    2. to place something inside another thing
    3. to create something new from old materials

  5. What does "fictional" mean?
    1. creating tension or difficulty
    2. not existing in real life
    3. spoken or talked about

Collocation Questions

  1. Los Angeles is ___________ referred to by its initials, L.A.
    1. persistently
    2. commonly
    3. miserably

  2. The city was ___________ built by Spanish settlers in the late 18th century.
    1. leading
    2. primary
    3. first

  3. The town came under the ___________ of the United States as a result of the signing of the Treaty of Cahuenga at the end of the Mexican-American War.
    1. statute
    2. law
    3. rule

  4. The Southern Pacific Transcontinental Railroad ___________ Los Angeles in 1876.
    1. reached
    2. stretched
    3. gestured

  1. The city has ___________ the Summer Olympic Games twice already, with a third Games scheduled to take place in Los Angeles in 2028.
    1. provided hospitality
    2. hosted
    3. guested

  1. Muscle Beach is a place that is popular with young men and women who ___________ exercising in public.
    1. enjoy
    2. revel
    3. delight

  1. The internet was ___________ at the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1969.
    1. dreamt up
    2. conceived
    3. invented

  2. Over 2,600 ___________ have their names written into the sidewalk on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
    1. notables
    2. celebrities
    3. figures

  3. Paying visitors have been able to tour Universal Film Studios for ___________ 100 years.
    1. over
    2. above
    3. beyond

  4. The Space Shuttle Endeavor went out of ___________ in 2011 and is now one of the California Science Center's most popular attractions.
    1. service
    2. provision
    3. examination

Wh Questions

  1. What is Universal Studios' nickname?
    1. The Economic Capital of L.A.
    2. The Environmental Capital of L.A.
    3. The Entertainment Capital of L.A.

  2. Why did Los Angeles attract so many new residents in the early 20th century?
    1. because of the discovery of oil nearby
    2. because of the discovery of silver nearby
    3. because of the discovery of natural gas nearby

  3. Where was the internet first invented?
    1. Los Angeles Technology Park
    2. California Science Center
    3. The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

  4. How many times has Los Angeles hosted the Olympic Games?
    1. one
    2. two
    3. three

  1. When was the city hit by a serious earthquake?
    1. 1984
    2. 1994
    3. 1904

Evaluating Statements

  1. Based on the information in this lesson, which statement is true?
    1. Santa Monica Pier is a popular place for tourists and locals to enjoy their leisure time.
    2. Santa Monica Pier is a place that is reserved for fishing.

  2. Based on the information in this lesson, which statement is false?
    1. Over 10 million visitors come to see the Hollywood Walk of Fame every year.
    2. Over 100 million visitors come to see the Hollywood Walk of Fame every year.

True or False?

  1. Based on the information in this lesson, is the following statement true or false?

    "The recipe for the French Dip Sandwich was invented in France and brought to Los Angeles by a French police officer."
    1. True
    2. False

  2. Based on the information in this lesson, is the following statement true or false?

    "There is an aquarium on Santa Monica pier which contains sharks, octopuses, and stingray".
    1. True
    2. False

Answer Key

1. A | 2. B | 3. C | 4. B | 5. B | 6. B | 7. C | 8. C | 9. A | 10. B | 11. A | 12. C | 13. B | 14. A | 15. A | 16. C | 17. A | 18. C | 19. B | 20. B | 21. A | 22. B | 23. B | 24. A

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