English Reading Practice
Russia is the largest
in the world. It stretches from Europe to the Pacific Ocean in Asia.
Russia is so large that it has nine different time zones. A "time zone"
is an area in which all the countries have the same time on their
The people in Russia are called Russians
and the language they speak is called Russian
Russian has its own special alphabet and symbols that it uses for each
letter. This special alphabet is called Cyrillic
. Unlike the
English alphabet which has 26 letters, the Russian alphabet has 33.
Russian language is the eighth most spoken language in the world. This
is probably because of how large Russia is and how much Russia’s
history influenced the countries around it.
(kings, queens, emperors, and empresses) spent a lot of time trying to
expand (grow) Russia and make it a big country. Over time, they
succeeded. One of the most successful empresses was Catherine the Great.
Catharine the Great, Russia's most famous ruler
Catherine the Great was born in Prussia in 1729. Prussia
is an area
that is now part of Germany. This means that Empress Catherine was
married Peter the Third and became Empress when he became Emperor.
After only a few months, Catherine was able to overthrow Peter and take
power herself. "Overthrow" means to remove from power.
Catherine became Empress of Russia in 1762 and reigned (ruled) until
1796. She is the longest-ruling female leader of Russia.
her rule, Empress Catherine worked to expand Russia. Through wars and
political agreements, she was able to add 200,000 square miles to the
land that already belonged to Russia. Most of this land was to the west
and south of Russia. In addition to adding land, under Empress
Catherine’s rule Russia’s first government currency (money) was
printed. This money was called rubles
Catherine was very interested in art, literature, economics, and
politics and spent a lot of her time making Russia a powerful country
in these fields.
She wrote many books herself and invited many of the famous authors,
artists, and scientists of her time to Russia.
Catherine also changed the way that the government in Russia worked by
creating many small provinces (states). Each province had its own
government that reported to (worked under) the Empress. This model of
government is what we see in many countries, such as the United States,
Education was also very important to Empress Catherine.
During her rule, she worked with many experts to try to change the
education system in Russia.
She developed different kinds of
schools and began a school system in which everyone, not just nobility
(people related to the royal family) could get an education. She opened
a school for girls as well as schools for serfs (people who worked on
of the changes that Empress Catherine made in Russia during her rule
have already been changed. Despite this, Empress Catherine remains one
of the most powerful and most famous rulers Russia has ever had.
And now, practice:
Russia - Exercises
1. What does "expand" mean?
2. What does "reign" mean?
a) create money for a
b) speak the language of a country
c) live in a country
d) rule a country
3. What does "serf" mean?
a) someone who works in a
b) someone who works on a farm
c) someone who works on a boat
d) someone who works in the government
1. Russia stretches ________ Europe ________ the
Pacific Ocean in Asia.
a) in ... out
b) up .... under
c) from ... to
d) above .... below
2. Education ________ also very important
to Empress Catherine.
c) has been
d) will be
3. Empress Catherine remains one of ________ most powerful and
most famous rulers Russia has ever had.
1. What country was Empress Catherine actually born in?
2. What was one way that Empress Catherine made Russia bigger?
3. What were two topics that Empress Catherine was interested in?