English Reading Practice

The United States

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.

Click Here for Step-by-Step Rules, Stories and Exercises to Practice All English Tenses

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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.

Native Americans

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.

friendship between the British and Native American

Moving West

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.

Moving West

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.

The railroads 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

Vocabulary Questions

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 a country

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

b) mountain

c) deserts

d) oceans

Grammar Questions

1. The Native Americans ________ the British find food and wood to build their houses.

a) help

b) helped

c) had helped

d) will help

2. Soon, there was not enough room ________ the cities for everyone.

a) in

b) at

c) on

d) by

3) To connect the east and west, the railroads ________ built.

a) was

b) were

c) had been

d) will be

Comprehension Questions

1. When was the United States founded?


2. What holiday is celebrated in November to remember the British and Native Americans?


3. What helped connect the east and west coasts of the United States?


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