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WASL Sample Questions : Reading

The WASL Reading sample questions contains passages from following topics:

  • Prose Fiction
  • Humanities
  • Social Studies
  • Natural Science

Passage 1

After his father's death, writer Laurence Yep returned to San Francisco to look
for the apartment house where his family had lived, which also housed their
grocery store. It had been replaced by a two-story parking garage for a nearby college.

There were trees growing where the store door had been. I had to look at the
street signs on the corner to make sure I was in the right spot. Behind the trees
was a door of solid metal painted a battleship gray Stretching to either side were
concrete walls with metal grates bolted over the openings in the sides. The upper
story of the garage was open to the air but through the grates I could look into
the lower level. The gray, oil-stained concrete spread onward endlessly, having
replaced the red cement floor of our store. Lines marked parking places where my
parents had laid wooden planks to ease the ache and chill on their feet. Where
the old-fashioned glass store counter had been was a row of cars.

I looked past the steel I-beams that formed the columns and ceiling of the
garage, peering through the dimness in an attempt to locate where my father's
garden had been; but there was only an endless stretch of cars within the painted

We called it the garden though that was stretching the definition of the word
because it was only a small, narrow cement courtyard on the north side of our
apartment house. There was only a brief time during the day when the sun
could reach the tiny courtyard; but fuchsia bushes, which loved the shade,
grew as tall as trees from the dirt plot there. Next to it my father had fashioned
shelves from old hundred-pound rice cans and planks; and on these makeshift
shelves he had his miniature flower patches growing in old soda pop crates
from which he had removed the wooden dividers. He would go out periodically
to a wholesale nursery by the beach and load the car with boxes full of little
flowers and seedlings which he would lovingly transplant in his shadowy garden.

If you compared our crude little garden to your own backyards, you would
probably laugh; and yet the cats in the neighborhood loved my father's
garden almost as much as he did--to his great dismay The cats loved to
roll among the flowers, crushing what were just about the only green growing
things in the area. Other times, they ate them-perhaps as a source of greens.
Whatever the case, my father could have done without their destructive
displays of appreciation.

I don't know where my father came by his love of growing things. He had
come to San Francisco as a boy and, except for a brief time spent picking fruit,
had lived most of his life among cement, brick, and asphalt. I hadn't thought of
my father's garden in years; and yet it was the surest symbol of my father.
Somehow he could persuade flowers to grow within the old, yellow soda pop
crates though the sun seldom touched them; and he could coax green shoots out
of what seemed like lifeless sticks. His was the gift of renewal.
However, though I stared and stared, I could not quite figure out where it had
been. Everything looked the same; more concrete and more cars. Store, home and
garden had all been torn down and replaced by something as cold, massive and
impersonal as a prison. Even if I could have gone through the gate, there was
nothing for me inside there. If I wanted to return to that lost garden, I would
have to go back into my own memories.
Award-winning author Laurence Yep did return to his father's garden in his
memories. In 1991 he published The Lost Garden an autobiography in which he
tells of growing up in San Francisco and of coming to use his writing to celebrate
his family and his ethnic heritage.

Following are some WASL sample questions related to above passage:

  1. The author is searching for something as he looks through the window of a parking garage. What is he searching for?

    1. A particular car
    2. The red cement floor of an old store
    3. Reminders of the past
    4. Evidence of his father's financial success

  2. What kind of work did the author's father do?

    1. He was a professional gardener
    2. He worked in a parking garage.
    3. He owned a restaurant.
    4. He owned a store.

  3. What idea does the story suggest about the author's parents?

    1. They both worked hard to support their family
    2. They had encouraged their son to become a writer
    3. They had not wanted to see a parking garage replace their home.
    4. They had been farmers most of their lives.

  4. What do you know about the father's garden?

    1. It grew in spite of being neglected.
    2. The cats would eat all the plants before they grew
    3. It flourished in an unlikely spot.
    4. It didn't grow well because of lack of sun.

  5. Why are details about the neighborhood cats included in this story?

    1. To show how much the garden meant to the family.
    2. To show how important this garden was to the author's father.
    3. To show how had the author worked at helping his father.
    4. To show that the author's father loved animals as well as plants.

  6. Which sentence best tells the realization the author comes to when he sees the parking garage?

    1. His childhood experiences have left him sad and bitter.
    2. His family was very much like everyone else's.
    3. He cannot remember very much about his father.
    4. The past exists best in his memory


WASL Reading sample questions passage number : 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10
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