‘Comprehension’ means ‘understanding’. When you learn to read, you first need to recognise words and understand what they mean. You learn to answer ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘when’, ‘where’, ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions. But comprehending what you’re reading goes beyond basic questions. ‘Why’, for example, is not always straightforward. Sometimes an author only gives you hints and clues about what is happening and why characters behave the way they do.

Try this reading quiz to test your comprehension skills.

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1. Robyn gingerly lifted the edge of the tea towel, took a deep breath, then peered at the contents of the bowl. Which word best describes how Robyn feels?      


2. Robyn gingerly lifted the edge of the tea towel. Which of the following would express the opposite meaning?      
3. A pungent odour seeped from beneath the tea towel, making her eyes water. What does 'pungent' mean?      
4. Which one of the following words is NOT a synonym for 'odour'?      
5. After a moment or two, Robyn gathered her courage enough to examine the source of the odour. What does 'gathered her courage' mean?      
6. 'Gathered her courage' is an example of …….      
7. Green liquid oozed from beneath the misshapen lumps which had once been potatoes and carrots. What is the effect of the phrase 'which had once been'?      
8. What does 'misshapen' mean?      
9. 'James,' Robyn shouted, 'could you please warn me next time you're planning to turn your stew into a science experiment?' What is the effect of this sentence?      
10. Which of the following would create an entirely different effect compared to the sentence in question nine?      

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