English Reading Exercises for A1 – In the middle of nowhere

1. Match the words from box A with words from box B to make collocations. Use the collocations to complete the text below.



basic     daily     free

next-door     sandy


beaches     island     life

neighbour     supplies


1) _____. went on holiday last summer to a 2) _____. in the middle of the ocean. She sent me a photo of the beautiful, long, 3) _____. According to her, 4) _____. is not difficult for the people who live on the island. They don’t have much to do and have lots of 5) _____. They can buy all their 6) _____. in a little shop on the island.

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1) next-door neighbour   2) tropical island   3) sandy beaches

4) daily life   5) free time   6) basic supplies

2. Read the text. What caused the situation in Staylittle to become worse recently? Circle the correct answer.

a a satellite dish

b a newspaper article

c a storm

A village without phones

The UK is not a big country, and it certainly is not a poor country. So you probably think communications are very good and everybody can use the internet and mobile phones. But this is not true. In some remote parts of the country, communications are very bad.

Staylittle is a village in the centre of Wales. In 1965, a journalist wrote about the village in a newspaper. He said, ‘it is miles from anywhere’. 1) ________ That was a long time ago, but communications in the village have not changed very much. You cannot use a mobile phone in Staylittle because there is no signal. There are also problems with the telephone lines. When the villagers make phone calls, they often hear other people’s conversations at the same time!

The people who live there are tired of these problems. ‘You need good telephone lines these days,’ said one woman. ‘Last month I tried to buy something online. 2) ________ That was because I couldn’t give them a phone number.’ Other people have stopped using their phones completely. They’ve started writing letters to friends and relatives instead, just like in the past.

The British government is spending money to improve internet connections in remote parts of the country. For this reason, most of the people in Staylittle hope that communications will get better soon. 3) ________ A few days ago, there was a bad storm in the area. Because of this, most of the telephone lines to Staylittle have stopped working completely. Now the village has only got one telephone, in the post office.

A few houses in the village have internet access. 4) ________ However, it isn’t a good idea to use email in an emergency. ‘Imagine there’s a fire,’ said one man. ‘You can’t email the fire station and hope that they read it. You need to phone them!’

Show answers

c a storm

Reading Strategy

To check if a sentence fits a gap, think about any words in the sentence which refer back to people, things, places or situations / events / ideas mentioned in the sentences before the gap. Check that the reference makes sense.

3. Read the Reading Strategy. Then match the gaps in the text (1-4) with the sentences below (A-F). Use the underlined words to help you. There are two extra sentences.

a Their owners can get online and send emails

b Now they can get online easily using their mobile phones.

c He also complained that the telephone lines in the village did not work well.

d But in fact they have become worse recently.

e That was bad news for the villagers.

f Unfortunately, the company refused to bring it here.

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1) C  2)3)4) A

The two extra sentences are b and e .

4. Look at the sentences you matched with gaps 1-4 in exercise 2. What do the underlined words in those sentences refer to?

1) _______ refers to ________

2) _______ refers to ________

3) _______ refers to ________

4) _______ refers to ________

Show answers

1) He, the journalist

2) here, the village

3) they, communications in the village

4) Their, the houses

Extra exercises


When you don’t know the meaning of a word, look at the words before and after it to see what information they give you about it. This will help you guess the meaning of the word.

1. Read the Strategy above. Then look at the words in bold in the text. Read the sentences containing the words and match the words to the definitions below.

1) a young person who is learning a job ________.

2) a thing that you press to turn something on and off ________.

3) something that you usually lie on or under when you sleep ________.

4) a bed made of cloth or rope that you hang up at two ends ________.

Show answers

1) apprentice   2) switch   3) sheets   4) hammock

2. Read the text and choose the correct answer (A-D).

Unusual homes


Brazilian artists Tiago Primo and his brother Gabriel live on a climbing wall on the side of a building in Rio de Janeiro. There aren’t any stairs or a lift, so they have to climb from one ‘room’ to the next. The ‘house’ has got a hammock to sleep in instead of a bed, but the brothers have to use the bathroom in the art gallery next door.


Another artist, Moussa Kalo, designed the Crocodile House in Abidjan, capital of the Ivory Coast. He built it with the help of his apprentice , Thierry Atta, who wanted to become an artist like him. The house looks like a large crocodile, but there’s enough space inside for a bedroom. Mr Kalo died before it was finished, but Thierry completed it, and then went to live there.


Czech builder Bohumil Lhota isn’t an artist, but people say that his house is a work of art. The 73-year-old was bored with building ordinary houses, so he designed a new place in a village to the north of Prague. Mr Lhota’s house turns around, so that he can choose the view that he wants. He can also move it up and down by pushing a switch .


Liu Lingchao’s house also moves, but that is because he is carrying it. The house is made of bamboo, pieces of plastic and bed sheets , and it weighs around 60 kg. Mr Liu collects used water bottles on the road and sells them at the next town he gets to. He travels all over southern China and he carries everything he needs with him.

1) How do the Primo brothers move around their house?

a They take the lift.

b They go up the stairs.

c They use the climbing wall.

d They stand on the bed.

2) Why is the house in Abidjan called the Crocodile House?

a A crocodile killed the man who built it.

b A lot of crocodiles live there.

c There’s a painting of a crocodile on the walls.

d It’s in the shape of a crocodile.

3) Why did Mr Lhota design a house that turns?

a He wanted to build something different.

b He didn’t like the view from his window.

c He had more time when he retired.

d He entered an art competition.

4) Why does Liu Lingchao carry his house around with him?

a He doesn’t like being in crowds.

b Because it weighs 60 kg.

c He prefers to be outside.

d He doesn’t work in one place.

5) What do all of the houses in the text have in common?

a They were all built by artists.

b They don’t look like other houses.

c They are all in big cities.

d They all move.

Show answers

1) C   2) D   3) A   4) D   5) B