English Tuition Centre Comprehension

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2019 Henry Park Pri 6 SA2 Comprehension

(download pdf version here Vocabulary List Idioms Pri 6 SA2 2019 Henry Park Comprehension)

This following passage is from 2019 Henry Park Pri 6 SA2 Preliminary Examinations. For the comprehension section, we train our students with the following:

At eduKate (Singapore) Tuition Centre, we have a supplementary section that we go through with our English students, including reading along the passage and have extra information that will help our students to understand the passage better.

To be used in conjuction with the actual comprehension, we have included vocabulary, idioms and information related to the passage before having our students attempt the comprehension section.

Comprehension Passage

My greatest ambition was to be a comics artist. My classmates often walked past me, glanced over my shoulders and asked, “Can you make a living out of it?”

I was the only person in my class who wanted to be a comics artist. The rest wanted to be astronomers, business tycoons, mathematicians or doctors. They had their heads in the clouds.

It was not until Friday night when I completed my first full-length, original six-page comic strip. I did not have any idea what to do with it though. Just doing it made me happy. However, I still read and checked through it sixty times over the weekend before finally pronouncing it ‘Not too bad’.

That would have been the end of it, except I happened to mention to Micheal Lazarus, the only classmate who was interested in my ambition that I had drawn a comic strip. He told me that there was a magazine, Boy Magazine, in Sydney I could send it to. So, when I got home, I rolled my comics up in brown paper, addressed it and put it in my schoolbag where I would not forget to mail it. Lazarus had embedded the idea in my mind.

I hardly slept all night. What kept me awake was the magazine I was sending my comic to, Boy Magazine. I had never liked it because it had the sneaky policy of printing stories, with only one illustration at the top of the page to trick readers into buying the magazine. Did I want my comics to appear in a magazine which printed mainly stories? An awful prospect!

At 2 a.m., I decided no and at 3 a.m., it was a yes. At 4 a.m., it was no again but just before falling asleep, I saw Lazarus’ face and he said, ‘Publish it!’ That decided it.

My father was quite the scoffer and would walk past my room every evening and look in to say, “Morris? They sent you the money yet?” When the letter did arrive from Boy Magazine, did he change his tune? Not one bit. “I don’t see a cheque,” he said. “Show me the letter.”

It read, “ We are very interested in your comic strip and would like you to call Miss Gordon to make an appointment to see the editor.”

An appointment? If they wanted it, there’d be a cheque,” he mocked.

I called Miss Gordon from a public phone and not from home. I did not want my father around for obvious reasons.

And what day and time will most convenient for you, Mr Lurie?” she asked.

Oh, any day at all,” I shouted.

Next Thursday at 10 a.m.?” she asked.

Perfect! I’ll be there!” I yelled and hung up with a crash.

 It had not occured to me to tell her I had to take a day off from school to see the editor. I would have to find an excuse to be away for a day from school. I also had to find out how to get to Boy’s Magazine by train alone and it was a big worry for my mother unlike my father’s concern about receiving the cheque.

I had yet another problem. What to wear? My school uniform was out of the question because it just was not right for a business appointment. My only suit was a year old and too short. My father offered to lend me his suit but he was shorter than me and twice my weight. So, I decided to wear my suit after all.

Now, as the day of my appointment drew closer, a great question had to be answered. For my father had been right. If all they wanted to do was to buy my comic strip, they would have sent a cheque. So, there must be something else. A full-time job as a comics artist at Boy Magazine! It had to be that!

Adapted from my Greatest Ambition by Morris Lurie.

Supplementary for Teachers/Tutors/Parents.

Welcome to eduKate (Singapore) Tuition Centre. The following are guides that will help students to ease themselves into answering the comprehension section.

Vocabulary

  1. ambition

  2. glanced

  3. astronomer

  4. tycoon

  5. full-length

  6. original

  7. pronouncing

  8. embedded

  9. sneaky

  10. policy

  11. illustration

  12. prospect

  13. scoffer

  14. tune

  15. appointment

  16. cheque

  17. mocked

  18. obvious

  19. convenient

  20. editor

  21. full-time

Idioms related to this passage:

  • blessing in disguise” used when author’s ambition is different from others.

  • a dime a dozen” used when everyone else’s ambition are the same.

  • birds of a feather flock together” used for author and friend Lazarus.

  • bite the bullet” used when author decided to send the comic to Boy Magazine.

  • break a leg” used when author was about to go for his appointment.

  • hit the sack” used when the author went to bed.

  • no pain, no gain” author missed school, took a train for his appointment.

  • so far, so good” used when Miss Gordon set an appointment with the author.

  • rain on someone’s paraded” used when author’s father asked for a cheque.

  • head in the clouds” as is in passage.

Interesting things to teach your child/student related to this passage.

1. Morris Lurie was an Australian writer (30 October 1938-8 October 2014).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morris_Lurie

Lurie was born in 1948 to Arie and Esther Lurie (Jewish emigrants from Poland) at the Royal Women’s Hospital in Carlton, a suburb of Melbourne.[1]He was schooled at Elwood Central School, Prahran Technical School and Melbourne High School, and then studied architecture at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology before working in advertising.

His first novel was the comic Rappaport (Hodder and Stoughton, 1966) and focused on a day in the life of a young Melbourne antique dealer and his immature friend, Friedlander. The characters, transplanted to London, were further chronicled in Rappaport’s Revenge (1973). Lurie’s self-exile from Australia to Europe, the UK and Northern Africa provides much of the material for his fiction. His second novel was The London Jungle Adventures of Charlie Hope (Hodder and Stoughton, 1968). Flying Home (1978) was named by the National Book Council as one of the ten best Australian books of the decade. Subsequent novels are Seven Books for Grossman (1983)—really a novella parodying the styles of various authors— and Madness (1991), about a writer dealing with a mentally unstable girlfriend.

Lurie is best known for his short stories. In 2000 he wrote an instructional guide When and How to Write Short Stories and What They Are. His stories have been published in many prestigious magazines, including The New YorkerThe Virginia QuarterlyPunchThe TimesThe Telegraph MagazineTransatlantic ReviewIslandMeanjinOverlandQuadrant and Westerly.

In his 2008 novel, To Light Attained, Lurie deals with the subject of suicide.[2] A review of the novel described it as “a father’s anguish in words”.[3]

Lurie succumbed to cancer on 8 October 2014, at the Wantirna Hospice.[4]

4. Disney bought Marvel Comics for $4 billion and has made more than $18 billion at the global box office. (July 2019 https://www.cnbc.com/2019/07/21/disney-has- made-more-than-18-billion-from-marvel-films-since-2012.html)

3. Avengers: Endgame has surpassed Avatar’s record as the highest-grossing movie of all time. Marvel Studios re-released Endgame in theaters with several extra minutes of footage in July to boost this effort, bringing the movie’s total to $2.79 billion. James Cameron’s 2009 film Avatar raked in $2.788 billion. (July 2019 https://time.com/5523398/highest-grossing-marvel-movies/)

4. World’s most expensive comic book sold for US$3.2 million. An original copy of the Action Comics #1 that initially cost 10 cents and introduced Earth to Superman became the world’s most expensive comic book Sunday when it raked in $3.2 million on eBay. When Darren Adams decided to put his incredibly rare, nearly pristine copy of the debut issue of the Man of Steel up for auction on eBay, he generously started the bid at 99 cents. Less than two hours later, the price had risen faster than a speeding bullet, past US$1.5 million. (https://nypost.com/2014/08/25/worlds-most-expensive-comic-book-sells-for-3-2m/)

5. Singapore’s very own comic artists. Sonny Liew. Johnny Lau. Yeo Hui Xuan. Troy Chin. Wee Tian Beng. Lee Chee Chew.(https://www.timeout.com/singapore/art/the-best-comic-book-artists-in- singapore-right-now)

Answers

71) their heads in the clouds

72)

false- Unlike the others, the narrator’s friend Micheal Lazarus was interested in his ambitions.

true- The narrator completed his full length comic strip, did not know what to do with it and was happy finishing it.

true- the narrator checked it sixty times before saying  “Not too bad”

73) 3, 1, 2.

74) i) to post/send his completed comic strip to “Boy Magazine” in Sydney ii) the comic strip that he put in an envelop to send to ‘Boy Magazine’ iii) Miss Gordon

75) 1pt- sneaker policy of printing stories instead of full comic strips, with one illustration to trick readers to buy the magazine. 1 pt- did not want his comics in a magazine which printed mainly stories.

76) His father did not change his negative attitude/opinion towards the author and continued asking for the cheque.

77)

father- interested in receiving the cheque form ‘Boy Magazine’

mother- the narrator reaching the location of ‘Boy Magazine’ by train alone

78) 1pt- narrator had to find an excuse to get away from school for one day. 1pt- to find out what should his attire be for the interview

79) excited, puzzled.

80) Yes. 1pt- Boy Magazine did not send a cheque to buy his comic strip and ended the story. 1pt-instead, they asked for an appointment that the author believes is an offer for a full-time job.

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