English Reading Exercises for A2 – Inventions that save lives

1. Complete the sentences with nouns formed from the verbs and adjectives below in brackets.

1) The Hubble telescope can measure the ________ (move) of distant galaxies.

2) The city centre was destroyed in the war. The ________ (reconstruct) took many years.

3) Hard disk recorders allow us to make ________ (record) of TV programmes.

4) Many men hope doctors will invent a cure for ________ (bald).

5) The aeroplane is a wonderful ________ (invent).

6) That’s a lovely flower ________ (arrange).

7) Beethoven suffered from ________ (deaf) during the last 25 years of his life.

8) Before the ________ (discover) of American in 1492, many people thought the Earth was flat.

Show answers

1) movement   2) reconstruction   3) recordings

4) baldness   5) invention   6) arrangement   7) deafness

8) discovery

2. Read the texts and match two of the inventions with the photos (A-B).


1) Hippo-Roller, photo _____________

Many women and children in Africa spend between three and nine hours a day carrying water to their homes. They use 20-litre plastic buckets, which they carry on their heads. The buckets are very heave and often cause back and neck injuries. So engineers Pettie Petzer and Johan Jonker designed a ‘rolling wheel’ which can carry ninety litres of water and is much easier to move. 33,000 ‘Hippo-Rollers’ have been made and delivered to remote villages in Africa. The results are good: women have more time to look after their families, the children have more time at school, and there are fewer injuries.

2) LifeStraw, photo _____________

There are 780 million people in the world who don’t have clean safe drinking water. This fact led the Swiss company Vestergaard to invent a special kind of straw that allows people to drink dirty water without getting ill. The LifeStraw is a long thin tube that cleans the water as it passes through into somebody’s mouth. LifeStraw is very light and can clean up to 1,000 litres of water before you need to replace it. LifeStraw was used to help people after the Haiti earthquake, and floods in Pakistan and Thailand.

3) AidPod, photo _____________

When Simon Berry was travelling in Zambia, he noticed that he could buy Coca-Cola in the remotest villages. But in these same villages the people had no medicines and, because of that, one in five children were dying before their fifth birthday. He had an idea. ‘Why don’t they bring medicines when they deliver the Coca-Cola?’ So he invented the AidPod, a triangular packet of medicines that fits between the bottles in a crate of Coca-Cola. Berry has experimented with a number of designs for his AidPod and is testing his ideas in Zambia. If his plan works, he hopes to do the same thing in other African countries, and save thousands of lives.

Show answers

2) LifeStraw, Photo B

3) AidPod, Photo A

Reading Strategy

Sometimes, true / false tasks include a third option: the text does not say. Choose the third option if the text does not contain enough information to clearly say if the sentence is true of false. Do not use your own knowledge (or guesswork) to fill any information gaps!

3. Read the Reading Strategy. Then decide if the sentences below are true (T), false (F) or ‘does not say’ (DNS).

1) Carrying water on your head can cause neck injuries.

 T        F        DNS

2) With the Hippo-Roller people can carry more water than with a normal bucket.

 T        F        DNS

3) The LifeStraw is made from natural materials.

 T        F        DNS

4) The LifeStraw never stops working.

 T        F        DNS

5) The Coca-Cola company worked with Simon Berry to design the AidPod.

 T        F        DNS

6) The AidPod is used successfully in many different countries.

     T        F        DNS

Show answers

your own answer

A 3   B 1, 2   C 1   D 1   E 3   F 1, 3   G 2

Extra exercises


When you are answering questions about specific information, remember that you will always find the information in a specific part of the text. It helps to underline the parts of the text that give you the information so that you can check your answers at the end.

1. Read the Strategy. Then read the first main paragraph of the text and the first question. Choose the correct option and underline the part of the text where you find the answer. Why are the other options wrong?

Show answers

B is correct : ‘I think it was the meal I had on the journey across.’

a : Mark was ill on the first day he arrived.

c : The doctor thinks this, but Mark doesn’t agree.

d : Mark didn’t eat anything at the station.

2. Now read the whole text. Choose the correct answers (A-D).

Mark Harris is a research scientist at Rothera Research Station, on Adelaide Island in the Antarctic. We asked Mark what were the best and the worst things about living in the Antarctic.

‘The best thing about being here is the wonderful view,’ Mark said. ‘On first day, I was unlucky because I was ill and had to spend a few days in bed. The station’s doctor thought I’d eaten something bad at home, or in the station canteen, but I didn’t even go to the canteen. I think it was the meal I had on the journey across – it didn’t taste right to me. And so I was pretty miserable at the beginning. But then I lay in bed during those first days and watched icebergs drifting past window. It was amazing! In summer, I like to be outside as much as possible. One of jobs is to fly around with other scientists in a helicopter making observations and checking on experiments. We fly over the most fantastic places. Our pilots are really skilled. They can land anywhere – even on glaciers!’

‘I try not to think about the bad things, but there are some, of course. I like the food – it’s actually really good – but we don’t have fresh fruit and vegetables. I often think about the countryside: the green grass, the trees, and the flowers. I always look forward to seeing it again. But Rothera is great because there’s always someone to talk to if you’re feeling unhappy, and someone will always help you with a difficult task. But at the same time people understand when you want to be alone.’

‘There’s always plenty to do as well. You might think that living in the middle of so much snow is boring, but it isn’t at all. On good days I like to ski and snowboard, and watch the wildlife. I play badminton and table tennis at the station, and some nights I go to the gym, so fitness isn’t a problem. We have video nights and games nights, and we even have cookery and woodwork lessons. I’ve actually learned some great new skills since I’ve been here. I’ve also had two holidays, camping. Of course, I’d like to have may friends and family with me, and I always think about that, but that can’t happen for a while. I have to be patient. All in all, being at Rothera is a great experience.’

1) Mark thinks he ate something bad ___

a a few days after he arrived at the station.

b during his trip to the station.

c before he left home.

d on the day he arrived at the station.

2) During the summer months, Mark ___

a files a small plane.

b travels across the island.

c works alone.

d spends his time inside the station.

3) Mark sometimes feels bad because he ___

a dislikes the meals at the station.

b never has time alone.

c misses the countryside.

d finds the work difficult.

4) Mark would like to ___

a see his family more often.

b have a holiday on the island.

c learn some new skills.

d have more opportunity to get fit.

5) The purpose of the article is to ___

a advertise jobs for scientists in the Antarctic.

b make people aware of the problems in the Antarctic.

c explain how to become a scientist in the Antarctic.

d describe everyday life for a scientist in the Antarctic.

Show answers

1) B   2) B   3) C   4) A   5) D

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