English Reading Practice


Spain is a country in Europe. It borders France to the north, Portugal to the west, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south and east.

Spain has many different and interesting places to visit. Tourists have visited cities such as Madrid and Barcelona for decades to see the museums and parks there. A "decade" is 10 years.

People have travelled to the southern coast of Spain to go on vacation to the beach for many years as well. They have also stopped in Granada to see the famous Alhambra palace along their travels.

In addition to many tourists visiting Spain, many Spaniards, people from Spain, have travelled around the world. In fact, Spain has had a history of exploration for a very long time. "Exploration" means finding new places and things.

Throughout its history, Spain has been one of the most active countries in exploring the world. This was especially true in the 1400s and 1500s. During this time, Spain was responsible for exploring much of South and Central America.


There have been many famous explorers who travelled from Spain. One of these explorers was named Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca. He explored North and South America in the 1500s. Although he began as an explorer, during his travels, he became a healer (doctor), trader, and diplomat. A "diplomat" is a person who works with native people in a country to keep peace.

Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca

Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca was born in Spain in 1490. In 1527, he joined an expedition (trip) to the New World. The "New World" was what Europeans called the Americas.

In 1528, he landed in what is now called Texas in North America. For many years, he stayed in Texas. During this time, he became a trader between the Native American tribes. This means that he bought and sold items from one tribe to another. He sold items such as shells, beans, animal skins, and beads.

He also learned to be a healer. A "healer" is someone who helps sick people get better. Many of the Native Americans liked Cabeza de Vaca because he was able to bring them items they could not find at home and he was able to heal their sick family members.


After a few years living in Texas, Cabeza de Vaca decided it was time to go back to Spain. With the help of many Native American tribes whom he befriended (made friends with), he travelled to Mexico, where he knew that he would find other people from Spain who could help him get home. He sailed back to Spain in 1537.

Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca left Spain again in 1540 to sail to Paraguay in South America. During that trip, he used the skills he had learned in Texas to befriend the native people and keep peace with them. This was very different from other explorers at the time who were not nice to native people.


Cabeza de Vaca became well known not only as a Spanish explorer, but also as a man who believed in honesty and respect. When he met people from new lands, he was always honest with them. This made him a successful explorer and also made him a lot of friends. 

And now, practice:

Spain - Exercises

Vocabulary Questions

1. What does "decade" mean?

a) 5 years

b) 10 years

c) 20 years

d) 30 years

2. What does "explorer" mean?

a) a person who travels to find new places

b) a person who learns how to be a healer

c) a person who sails on a ship

d) a person who lives in Spain

3. What does "healer" mean?

a) a person who makes people sick

b) a person who makes people sad

a) a person who makes people happy

b) a person who makes people healthy

Grammar Questions

1. People have travelled to _________ southern coast of Spain to go on vacation to _________ beach for many years as well.

a) a...the

b) the...a

c) a...a

d) the...the

2. Throughout its history, Spain _________ one of the most active countries in exploring the world

a) is

b) was

c) has been

d) will be

3. There have been many famous explorers who travelled _________ Spain.

a) from

b) at

c) on

d) of

Comprehension Questions

1. What area of the world did Spain explore a lot of?


2. What skills did Cabeza de Vaca learn while he was in Texas?


3. What made Cabeza de Vaca so different from other explorers of his time?


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