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Reading Practice: Stories with Reading Comprehension Questions

Shillong, India


1. This is Shillong, India. Shillong is a city in the northeastern region. The northeast is a little different from mainland India. If you look at a map, you can see that it is far from the rest of the country. Shillong is in a region called Meghalaya (say meg-uh-LIE-yuh). Meghalaya means "home of the clouds." Maybe you know of the Himalayas, the famous, celebrated mountains. Himalaya means "home of the snow."

2.  Khasi (say KAH-see) is the name of a people that lives in Shillong. The people are Khasi and the language is called Khasi. The native trees are called Khasi trees and the dogs are Khasi dogs. There used to be a Khasi religion too, though only some people practice it now. The Khasis believed that long ago people could travel easily between heaven and earth using a ladder that went to the sky. When they became greedy, the ladder was taken away and they were stuck on earth. However, some of their leaders learned that they could get instructions from God by sacrificing a chicken and reading a message from its insides.

3. Now most people in Shillong are Christian, though most people in India are Hindu.Welsh missionaries went to Shillong over a hundred years ago. They were critical of the local, Khasi religion.The Welsh missionaries wanted everyone to become Christian. One man actually learned the local language, Khasi, and created a translation of the bible in six months! The Khasis did not mind becoming Christian because they thought the religions were not that different. Both were about sacrifice and a separation from heaven.

4. Shillong is also unique because many people live according to a matrilineal (say ma-tri-LIN-ee-yul) culture. There are almost no matrilineal cultures still active in the world today. In a matrilineal culture, the family name and most of the money is passed to a daughter in the family. In Shillong, this is the youngest daughter. The people became matrilineal because of a war that happened long ago in ancient times. All of the men had to go to the battle, and as they were leaving, they felt worried about their families. They decided to give the family names  and property to the women in case they did not come back. They did come back, but the culture remained matrilineal.

5. In 2010, there was a lot of excitement in Shillong. The Shillong Chamber choir won a big TV show called India's Got Talent. They did many brilliant performances that everyone liked. They also performed for President Obama when he visited India. Everyone loves music in Shillong. It is commonplace for people to get together and sing. They even go caroling, from house to house, during the Christmas season.

Answer the Questions:

1. What does Meghalaya mean?

A. home of the snow

B. home of the clouds

C. home of Shillong


2. If you were born in Shillong, whose last name would you have?

A. your father's and mother's last name

B. your father's last name

C. your mother's last name


3. What is the extraordinary thing that one missionary did?

A. he learned a language in six months

B. he translated a bible in six months

C. all of the above

4. Which statement is an OPINION, not a fact?

A. In a matrilineal culture, the family name and money is passed to a daughter.

B. The Shillong Chamber Choir came in first place on a TV show.

C. The Khasi people had a local religion before the missionaries came.

D. The Khasi religion was not very different from Christianity.

5. Match the words to their definitions:

ancient                                 a. famous
brilliant                                b. very good, excellent
celebrated                            c. very old
commonplace                        d. having a serious opinion
critical                                  e. normal

6. Which is the correct order of events?

A. the men came back, there was a war, the people became matrilineal

B. there was a war, the men came back, the people became matrilineal

C. there was a war, the people became matrilineal, the men came back

D. the people became matrilineal, there was a war, the men came back

(answers below)

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1. B, 2. C, 3. C, 4. D, 5. ancient: c, brilliant: b, celebrated: a, commonplace: e, critical: d, 6. C