English Reading Exercises for B2 – The history of the shopping mall

1. Match the words below with the definitions.

brand      commercial      consumer      endorsement      jingle      launch      logo      slogan

1) A short song or slogan that is used in TV and radio adverts. ______________

2) A symbol used by a company to identify its products. ______________

3) The act of saying that you support or approve of somebody or something. ______________

4) A type of product made by a company with a particular name. ______________

5) An event to introduce something new. ______________

6) A short phrase that is easy to remember, often used to advertise a product. ______________

7) An advertisement that is broadcast on TV or radio. ______________

8) A person who buys goods or services. ______________

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1) jingle   2) logo   3) endorsement   4) brand   5) launch

6) slogan   7) commercial   8) consumer

2. Read the text. Find three ways in which shopping malls try to encourage people to spend their money.


It was on 22 March 1954 that the world’s first shopping mall, Northland, opened. Built in a suburb of Chicago, USA, the designer of Northland, Victor Gruen, told the press that it was the ‘shopping centre of the future’. Gruen was half-right, because although Northland was the world’s first purpose-built shopping centre, it was his next design, Southdale in Minnesota, that became the model that architects all over the world would copy. Opened two years after Northland, Southdale was the first shopping centre where the shops were enclosed in one enormous building, and shopping mall architects have followed Gruen’s model ever since. 1) __ .

However, if Victor Gruen invented the mall, businessman Alfred Taubman perfected it. Taubman took Gruen’s design and added a few rules to encourage consumers to spend as much money as possible. Taubman decided that shops should only occupy two floors. Furthermore, the escalators to move shoppers between the floors should always be at the two ends of the mall, forcing people to walk past all the shops on a floor. He also insisted on glass safety barriers on the first floor, allowing consumers to easily see the shops above and below them, and on opening up the front of shops completely by removing their big glass windows. 2) __ . Taubman also wanted shoppers to spend as much time as possible in the malls so they would spend more money. He suggested letting plenty of natural light into them by constructing huge glass ceilings. Taubman also installed artificial lights next to the glass ceilings, so that as daylight faded, the artificial light increased and shoppers were unaware of the passing of time. Holding different events every week and local festivals in the space inside the mall would bring in even more people. 3) __ .

Today, shopping malls have grown to the size of small towns and contain a lot of leisure facilities such as theme parks, artificial lakes and even ski slopes to attract customers. 4) __ . However, although shopping malls are carefully designed to make consumers part with as much of their money as possible, it is unlikely that they will notice. Many people see a visit to a shopping mall as a leisure activity and that is perhaps Taubman’s biggest legacy.

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(Possible answers)

The escalators to move shoppers between the floors are at two ends of a mall, forcing people to walk past all the shops on a floor. Glass safety barriers on the first floor allow consumers to easily see the shops above and below them. Open shop fronts, with their big glass windows removed, make it easier for people to enter them. Huge glass ceilings to let in as much natural light as possible and the use of artificial light makes shoppers unaware of the passing of time. Holding different events every week and local festivals in the space inside the mall brings in more people.

Reading Strategy

Read the missing sentences carefully before you match them with the gaps in the text. Look at the parts of the text before and after each gap, and try to find words that may link them to the sentences, for example synonyms, paraphrases, opposites or pronouns.

3. Read the Reading Strategy. Then read the text again. Match sentences A-F with gaps 1-4 in the text. There are two extra sentences.

a This took away a major obstacle between shoppers and the brands on sale inside.

b Despite that, if you spend a little time looking around the next mall you visit, you’ll see that Taubman’s ideas are still being put into practice.

c However, seldom do shoppers notice that the day seems to last longer in a shopping mall.

d The layout of a modern shopping mall is very similar to the layout of those first malls from nearly seventy years ago.

e Restaurants and cafés were placed at the end of the malls because they were only used at certain times of the day.

f The idea was to create a space that people would feel like spending a whole day in.

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1)2) A   3) F   4) B

Extra exercises


The questions in a multiple-matching task usually use different words to communicate the ideas in the texts. If you find the same words are used in the questions and the texts, it does not mean you have found the right answer.

1. Read the Strategy. Then read the text in exercise 2 and the question below. Skim the text and find the bold words from the question. Why is this paragraph not the right answer? What is the right answer?

In which paragraph does the author mention.

1) the typical duties performed in this line of work ?

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The words in bold are mentioned in paragraph C. However this is not the right answer as the question asks about ‘typical duties’, which are not mentioned here. The typical duties of the job are mentioned in paragraph B: ‘ job involves visiting five to ten stores a day and scoring them’ and ‘eight hours of visits and two hours filing reports’.

2. Read the text. Match paragraphs A-C with questions 1-6. Each paragraph matches two questions.

In which paragraph does the author mention ___

1) an extra received on top of the wages? _________

2) something that might give away the identity of the worker? _________

3) a trend which has changed employment prospects? _________

4) typical consumer behaviour? _________

5) the difficulty of finding a job in the field? _________

6) a good reason for doing the job? _________

A secret job in the retail trade

a I am in a supermarket, doing best to look like any other shopper browsing the shelves. opinion on this trip is to buy something I fancy from the bakery, which means I’ll have to interact with the person at the counter. I’m hoping to pass off the handwritten notes I’m carrying as a shopping list, because no one must know why I am here. I have to keep identity secret because I am a stery shopper.

b job involves visiting five to ten different stores a day and scoring them on, among other things, their appearance and cleanliness. With the €20 I am given to spend at each store, I purchase the obligatory item that enables me to assess the service I receive at the checkout. Adding the value of purchase to the €225 I make in a typical day of eight hours of visits and two hours filing reports, I earn more than enough to live on.

c However, assignments paying as well as mine are becoming few and far between due to the soaring demand in line of work. Retailers increasingly need to maintain standards so as to offer consumers a quality shopping experience and keep them from turning to the internet. However, to date, there are more than half a million stery shoppers registered in the UK, making competition for jobs very fierce. Today it isn’t only other shoppers I hide identity from; even friends and family don’t know who I work for.

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1) B  2)3)4)5) C  6) B

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