READING SELECTION A True Height (n./ high:adj.) By David Naster [1] “The greater the obstacle (is), the more glory (you get) in over coming it." (Moliere) [2] “When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.” (Charles A. Beard) (palm tree/ game hunting) [3] His palms were sweating. He needed a towel to dry his grip. A glass of ice water quenched his thirst but hardly cooled his intensity. The Astroturf he sat on was as hot (heated discussion) as the competition he faced today at the National Junior Olympics. The pole was set at 17 feet. That was three inches higher than his personal best. Michael Stone confronted (faced) the most challenging day of his pole-vaulting career. (job->career) [4] The stands were still filled with about 20, 000 people, even though the final race had ended an hour earlier. The pole vault is truly the glamour event of any track and field competition. It combines the grace of a gymnast with the strength of a body builder. It also has the element of flying, and the thought of flying as high as a two-story building is a mere (only) fantasy (dream) to anyone watching such an event. Today and now, it is not only Michael Stone's reality and dream -it is his quest (goal). [5] As long as Michael could remember he had always dreamed of flying. Michael's mother read him numerous stories about flying when he was growing up (in his childhood). Her stories were always ones that described the land from a bird's-eye view. Her excitement and passion for details made Michael's dreams full of color and beauty. Michael had this one recurring dream. He would be running down a country road. He could feel the rocks and chunks of dirt at his feet. As (when) he raced (ran) down the golden-lined wheat fields, he would always outrun (surpass) the locomotives passing by. It was at the exact moment he took a deep breath that he began to lift off the ground (took off). He would begin soaring like an eagle. [6] Where he flew would always coincide with his mother's stories. Wherever he flew was with a keen (sharp) eye for detail and the free spirit of his mother's love. His dad (daddy/ father), on the other hand (on the contrary), was not a dreamer. Bert Stone was a hard-core (practical/ pragmatic) realist. He believed in hard work and sweat. His motto: If you want something, work for it! (believe sb.= think what you say is true; believe in sth.=trust/ behold sth.) [7] From the age of 14, Michael did just that. He began a very careful and regimented (controlled/ disciplined) weightlifting program (project). He worked out every other day with weights, with some kind of running work on alternate days. The program was carefully monitored (supervised) by Michael's coach, trainer and father. Michael's dedication (devotion), determination and discipline were a coach's dream. Besides (In addition to) being an honor student and only child, Michael Stone continued to help his parents with their farm chores (task). Michael's persistence in striving (struggle) for perfection was not only his obsession (favor/ like) but his passion. [8] Mildred Stone, Michael's mother, wished he could relax a bit more and be that "free dreaming" little boy. On one occasion she attempted (tried) to talk to him and his father about this, but his dad quickly interrupted, smiled and said, "(If) You want something, work for it!" [9] All of Michael's vaults today seemed to be the reward for his hard work. If Michael Stone was surprised, thrilled (excited) or arrogant (proud) about clearing the bar at 17 feet, you couldn't tell. As soon as he landed on the inflated landing mat, and with the crowd on its feet, Michael
immediately began preparing for his next attempt at flight. He seemed oblivious of the fact he had just surpassed his personal best by three inches and that he was one of final two competitors in the pole-vaulting event at the National Junior Olympics. [10] When Michael cleared the bar at 17 feet 2 inches and 17 feet 4 inches, again he showed no emotion. Constant preparation and determination were his vision. As he lay on his back and heard the crowd groan, he knew the other vaulter had missed his final jump. He knew it was time for his final jump. Since the other vaulter had fewer misses (mistakes), Michael needed to clear this vault to win. A miss would get him second place (finish first/ come out first). Nothing to be ashamed of, but Michael would not allow himself the thought of not winning first place. [11] He rolled over and did his ritual of three finger-tipped push-ups along with three Marine-style push-ups. He found his pole, stood and stepped on the runway that led to the most challenging event of his I7-year-old life. [12] The runway felt different this time. It startled (surprised) him for a brief moment. Then it all hit him like a wet bale of hay. The bar was set at nine inches higher than his personal best. That's only one inch off the National record, he thought. The intensity of the moment filled his mind with anxiety. He began shaking the tension from his body. It wasn't working. He became more tense. Why was this happening to him now, he thought. He began to get (became) nervous. Afraid would be a more accurate description. What was he going to do? He had never experienced these feelings. Then out of nowhere, and from the deepest depths of his soul, he envisioned (saw) his mother. Why now? What was his mother doing in his thoughts at a time like this? It was simple. His mother always used to tell him when you felt tense, anxious or even scared (frightened), take deep breaths. [13] So he did. Along with (Together with) shaking the tension from his legs, he gently (slightly) laid (put) his pole at his feet. He began to stretch out his arms and upper body. The light breeze that was once there was now gone. He could feel a trickle of cold sweat running down his back. He carefully picked up his pole. He felt his heart pounding. He was sure the crowd did, too. The silence was deafening. When (suddenly) he heard the singing of some distant robins in flight, he knew it was his time to fly. [14] As he began sprinting down the runway, something felt wonderfully different, yet familiar. The surface below him felt like the country road he used to dream about. The rocks and chunks of dirt, the visions (sight) of the golden wheat fields seemed to fill his thoughts when he took a deep breath, it happened. He began to fly. His take-off was effortless. Michael Stone was now flying, just like in his childhood dreams. Only this time he knew he wasn't dreaming. This was real. Everything seemed to be moving in slow motion. The air around him was the purest and freshest he had ever sensed. Michael was soaring with the majesty (grace) of an eagle. [15] It was either the eruption of the people in the stands or the thump of his landing that brought Michael back to earth (reality). On his back with that wonderful hot sun on his face, he knew he could only envision (see) the smile on his mother's face. He knew his dad was probably smiling too, even laughing. Bert would always do that when he got (became) excited, smile and then sort of giggle. What he didn't know was that his dad was hugging his wife and crying. That's right: Bert "If You Want It, Work For It" Stone was crying like a baby in his wife's arms. He was crying harder than Mildred had ever seen before. She also knew he was crying the greatest tears of all: tears of pride. Michael was immediately swarmed with people hugging and congratulating him on the greatest accomplishment of his life. He later went on that day to clear 17 feet 6 inches: a National and International Junior Olympics record.
[16] With all the media attention, endorsement possibilities and swarming herds of heartfelt congratulations, Michael's life would never be the same (as before). It wasn't just because he won the National Junior Olympics and set a new world record. And it wasn't because he had just increased his personal best by 9 1/2 inches. It was simply because Michael Stone is blind. (1, 313 words) ABOUT THE AUTHOR David Naster is an American writer. This text is excerpted from A Third Serving of Chicken Soup for the Soul, New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Book. EXERCISES I. Reading Comprehension Answer the following questions or complete the following statements.
  1. How did Michael Stone feel when he confronted the most challenging day of his pole-vaulting career? A. Very intense. B. Extremely hot. C. Quite competent. D. Cool inside.
  2. According to the text, why does pole-vaulting attract so many people? A. Because it is the last event of the sports meeting. B. Because it is a combination of grace and strength. C. Because it is the quest of all young athletes. D. Because it is thought of as a flying dream coming true.
  3. According to the text, Michael's recurring colorful dream . A. was a reflection of what he was in the day B. reflected his desire to be a top pole-vaulting athlete C. originated from his mother's excitement and passion for details D. inspired him to strive for reaching his life's goal
  4. The sentence "Michael's dedication, determination and discipline was a coach's dream." probably means that . A. a coach's dream is realized in Michael's dedication, determination and discipline B. with dedication, determination and discipline, a coach can fulfill his dream C. a coach dreamed of being as dedicated, determined and disciplined as him D. his personal qualities made him an ideal athlete for any coach
  5. What was Michael's reaction after he had surpassed his best personal record? A. He wasn't aware of the fact. B. He didn't show any emotion. C. He tried his best to calm down. D. He was thrilled and arrogant.
  6. Michael developed a habit of . A. being oblivious of any success he had made B. not allowing himself to make any mistakes C. doing push-ups before stepping on the runway D. drinking a cup of ice water before competition
  7. It can be inferred that the National record was .
A. 17 feet and 934 inches B. 17 feet and 4 inches C. 17 feet and 634 inches D. 17 feet 7 inches
  8. How did Michael shake off his fear before he cleared the height for championship? A. He followed his mother's advice and took deep breaths. B. He heard his mother in the crowd and was encouraged. C. He relaxed for some time and stretched out his arms and upper body. D. He was greatly relieved by the singing of some distant robins in flight.
  9. What's the probable meaning of the word "regimented" in the sentence of "he began a very careful and regimented weightlifting program'? A. Long and tedious. B. Slow and hard. C. Planned and controlled. D. Intense and fast.
  10. What does the title "True Height" imply? A. It is the highest point that man can reach. B. This height had been a National record. C. The height has been Michael's life goal. D. It is an unusual height achieved by a blind. II. Vocabulary A. Read the following sentences and decide which of the four choices below each sentences is closest in meaning to the underlined word.
  1. He has got the key to the apartment eventually. And on the way home he could envision the smile on he wife's face. (This is key to the lock) A. foresee B. imagine C. memorize D. recall
  2. She opened the refrigerator and took a bottle of cold mineral water to quench her thirst. A. ease B. grip C. release D. query
  3. "Man's ingenuity (creativity) has outrun his intelligence." (Joseph Wood Krutch) A. outwitted B. excelled C. output D. exceed
  4. After that, the airhostess continued to demonstrate (show) how to inflate the life-jacket in an emergency. A. blow up B. take up C. break up D. make up
  5. The unsuccessful democratic candidate seemed oblivious of the fact that he stood for no chance in running for governor. A. preoccupied B. thrilled C. insensitive D. (be) unaware (of sth.)
  6. Most of the citizens in that country have already felt the pressure of soaring inflation because of the changes in economic policy after the financial crisis in Asia. A. rising B. roaring C. progressing D. amounting
  7. When men are most sure and arrogant, they are commonly most mistaken. A. polite B. obedient C. proud D. courteous
  8. This untutored mathematician had an obsession with numbers. A. imagination B. addiction C. hatred D. sense
  9. You should not be afraid to aim high in the quest for an improvement in your income. A. pursuit B. belief C. claim D. realization
  10. She was blinded by the glitter and the glamour of her own life. A. spectacle (spectacular) B. brilliance C. hardship D. defeat
B. Choose the best word or expression from the list given for each blank. Use each word or expression only once and make proper changes where necessary.
strive for swarm with
coincide with work out
glamour motto
ritual fantasy
persistence recurring

  1. It's to participate and support anything that encourages charities to strive for the highest standards.
  2. What the employee wants to know and understand does not necessarily coincide with what the organization needs him to know and understand.
  3. His prescription for success "If you want something, work for it" could be taken as a motto for rule.
  4. So many of our dreams, however, are mixtures of fact and fantasy that I do not feel any great reliance can be placed on what seem to be insights into our former lives when we are asleep.
  5. This highlights one of the recurring dilemmas in education, that is the difficulty of quantitatively measuring many of the des



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