English Reading Practice

The United Kingdom

The United Kingdom is a country in Northern Europe. It is actually a country made up of four different countries: England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.


This is why the full name of the United Kingdom is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The United Kingdom has been a very important country in the world since the 1600s. It was especially powerful in the 19th and 20th centuries when it had colonies around the world. "Colonies" are countries that are ruled by another country.

When the United Kingdom was at its largest, it ruled one-fifth of the world's population. Today, the United Kingdom does not have many colonies. It is, however, still a very influential country in the world.

Throughout history, the people of the United Kingdom have been leaders in many areas. They have made important contributions to literature, philosophy, science, and math. A "contribution" is something you give, usually ideas or money.

Perhaps the most important area of contribution was to the Industrial Revolution.

 The Industrial Revolution

The Industrial Revolution

The Industrial Revolution occurred between 1760 and 1840. "Occurred" means happened or took place. This was a period of time in which manufacturing, or making things, changed from being done by hand to being done by machine.

For example, before the Industrial Revolution, clothes used to be sewn by hand. After the Industrial Revolution, clothes were sewn by machine.

Making clothing and other products by machine was very important because it meant that more items could be made in a shorter amount of time.

For the sellers, the people who sold the items, this was good because it meant that they had more to sell. For the consumers, the people who bought the items, it meant that the items cost less for them to buy.

Making things with machines also created jobs. People were needed to run the machines, to fix the machines, and to build the machines. Because of this, during the Industrial Revolution, many more people were employed than ever before. "Employed" means having a job.

The economy boomed (became bigger very fast) and people and countries had more money and items than ever before. People also had more food and better housing than they had in the past.

The Industrial Revolution began in the United Kingdom and spread throughout the world. First, it spread to the rest of Europe and then to the United States and Asia. Each of these countries benefited from the use of machines in manufacturing. "Benefited" means to have good things happen because of something else. 


Many historians have said that the Industrial Revolution is one of the most important events in history. The invention of machines and the use of them in factories allowed for more people to have items they would never have been able to afford before. It also helped people have better food, jobs, and lives.

And now, practice:

The United Kingdom - Exercises

Vocabulary Questions

1. What does "contribution" mean?

a) something you take

b) something you give

c) something someones gives you

d) something someone takes from you

2. What does "employed" mean?

a) have a job

b) not have a job

c) have a home

d) not have a home

3. What does "benefitted" mean?

a) ignored

b) have bad things happen

a) have good things happen

b) made something

Grammar Questions

1. This is why _______ full name of the United Kingdom is _______ United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

a) a...a

b) the...the

c) a...the

d) the...a

2. The United Kingdom _______ a very important country in the world since the 1400s.

a) is

b) was

c) has been

d) will be

3. This was a period of time in which manufacturing changed from being done by hand to being done _______ machine.

a) in

b) by

c) on

d) of

Comprehension Questions

1. How many countries make up the United Kingdom?


2. What was the big change that happened in the Industrial Revolution?


3. What did people have more of because of the Industrial Revolution?


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