For previous Reading Practice lessons, follow the links below:
Reading Practice 1 | Short answer questions and headings
Reading Practice 2 | Matching sentence endings
Reading Practice 3 | Matching headings and sentence completion
Reading Practice 4 |True/False/Not given questions
Reading Practice 5 | Summary and sentence completion + T/F/NG questions
Reading Practice 6 | Matching headings and vocabulary practice
First, read the article.
The Life Cycle of Salmon
Salmon eggs are laid in freshwater streams typically at high latitudes. To lay her roe (eggs), the female salmon uses her tail to create a nest called a redd in the gravel of the river bed. The redd may sometimes contain up to 5,000 eggs of an orange or red colour. Constantly flowing cool water is needed to provide a consistent supply of oxygen to the developing embryos. When developed, the eggs hatch and sac fry, which are small fish with a stripe along each side, emerge and hide amongst the reeds. The juvenile salmon stay for six months to three years in their natal stream before becoming smolts which are distinguished by their bright, silvery colour. Only 10% of all salmon eggs are estimated to survive to this stage.
The salmon spend about one to five years (depending on the species) in the open ocean, where they gradually become mature. The adult salmon then return to the streams where they were born in order to breed. Atlantic salmon spend between one and four years at sea. Some species of salmon grow a hump on their back or bigger teeth before they start breeding. All change from the silvery blue of an ocean salmon to a darker colour. Salmon make amazing journeys. They migrate huge distances up rivers in their hundreds and thousands in order to breed. Swimming upstream to get to their birthplace where they can reproduce takes a huge amount of effort as the fish must swim against strong currents and rapids. Chinook and sockeye salmon from central Idaho, for example, travel over 1,400 km and climb nearly 2,100 m from the Pacific Ocean as they return to spawn. The condition of the fish tends to deteriorate the longer they remain in fresh water, and they then deteriorate further after they breed, when they are known as kelts. Mature Salmon typically die within a few days or weeks of breeding.
Freshwater streams and estuaries on the coast provide an important habitat for many salmon species. They feed on insects, and crustaceans while young, and primarily on other fish when older. Estuaries and their associated wetlands provide vital nursery areas for the salmon before their departure to the open ocean. Wetlands not only keep the estuary clean from pollutants, but also provide important feeding and hiding areas. As wetlands habitats are damaged or converted for human use, there has been a sharp decline in the number of salmon. This has led to some species of salmon becoming endangered and being protected by law in certain countries.
Exercise 1 | Vocabulary Matching
Exercise 2 | Vocabulary in Use
Exercise 3 | Flow Chart Questions
Step 1 – Decide what the purpose of the flow chart is. For example, does it ask questions or show the stages in a process?
Step 2 – Check the instructions carefully. Should you use words, letters or numbers? If with words, what are the maximum number of words you can use? Are they words that you must choose from the text?
Step 3 – Study the words that are given. These words provide clues as to what the missing word/words could be. Think about if you need to write nouns, verbs or adjectives. Match keywords in the flow chart with synonyms (words with similar meaning) in the text and scan carefully for the answer.
Step 4 – Make sure that the sentences in the flow chart are grammatically accurate after you have written your answer.
- We see the words ‘female’ and ‘create’ in both the text and question, which guides us to the answer nest or redd.
- The key word in this question is ‘juveniles’. We find the synonym in the text ‘fry’ or ‘small fish’. The text later goes on to say that they ‘emerge and hide amongst the reeds.
- We can match the key word ‘ocean’ in the question with the text, where it states that ‘The salmon spend about one to five years (depending on the species) in the open ocean, where they gradually become mature.’
- In the centre of paragraph 2 we read that salmon swim ‘upstream to get to their birthplace where they can reproduce…’ Birthplace is a synonym to ‘natal stream’ in the question, and the text mentions that here the salmon reproduce (breed and spawn are also accepted answers).
- We can match the keyword ‘die’ in both text and question. Before we see this word in the text, we read that ‘they deteriorate further after they breed.’ Notice that ‘reproduce’ in the question is a synonym of ‘breed’ in the text.