Read the story and tell what happens to autumn leaves.

It was a beautiful, crisp fall day. The Cahans were out hiking in the woods. Aaron was enjoying the swishing noise his feet made as he dragged them through the thick layer of leaves that had fallen to the ground.

“I’m glad we don’t have to rake all these leaves,” he said to his sisters. “Where do you suppose they go when no one takes them up?”

Have you ever wondered what happens to the millions of leaves that fall from the trees each autumn? Aaron’s sisters, Ellen and Claire, are real nature lovers. They told him all about what happens to leaves when they fall.

At this time of year water can no longer flow to the leaves. A connection point between tubes that carry water to the leaves, and the leaves themselves, seals up. Without water leaves die and fall. If these leaves kept piling up year after year, we’d had a huge heap of leaves. The small plants, animals, and insects that live near the ground would be smothered. But, as you may have guessed, the leaves don’t lie on the ground forever. They become food for insects, other plants, and eventually for the very tree from which they fell.

Leaves contain many nutritious minerals – calcium, iron, phosphorus, and potassium, for example. As the leaves lie on the ground and become wet with rain, the bacteria in the soil use them for food. This is called decay. Some small insects eat the soft parts of dead leaves. All this breaks the leaves down, leaving the important minerals to seep slowly into the soil. When the spring rains come, this precious food is carried to the roots of nearby plants, which are now hungry after their long winter’s rest.

“See …”, Ellen told Aaron, “although the leaves ‘leave’ their tree, they give back something very important – food”.

“Why do we have to rake the leaves, then?” Aaron asked.

“They’d look too messy”, Claire answered.

“We could make a compost pile”, suggested Ellie. “You make a flat pile of leaves, grass, and other natural things and leave it. It will decay and turn into a kind of fertilizer. You can put it on the lawn or in the garden to help the grass and plants grow better.”

“A great idea”, Aaron declared.



the Cahans – Каханси 

to smother – задихнутис

nutritious – поживний

potassium – калій

decay – гниття

drag – тягнути                                           

to seep – всмоктуватись

to rake – згрібати граблям

root – корінь

flow – текти  

messy – безладно

to seal up – щільно закривати

precious – коштовний

to pile up – накопичуватися 

fertilizer – добриво

heap – купа                                                                  


Task 1. Multiple Choice Questions

Choose the one best answer A, B, C, D to each question.

1.The text is about … 

a. how the leaves turn to a kind of fertilizer

b. the process of raking the leaves.

c. Aaron and his sisters’ activity.

d. what happens to the leaves when they fall down.


2. Aaron and his sisters …

a. were working in the garden.

b. were walking in the park.

c. were gathering leaves in the forest.

d.were making a long walk in the country woods.


3. Aaron was in a cheerful spirit …

a. and liked the swishing noise of leaves.

b. because he was in the woods.

c. because it was his favourite season.

d. because he was with his sisters.


4. Claire and Ellen explained the mystery of leaves because …

a. they enjoyed the hiking.

b. they were interested in nature.

c. they often raked the leaves.

d. they watched the leaves falling.


5. The leaves fall and pile in huge heaps because …

a. water is cold in autumn.

b. they go bad.

c. they get wet.

d. they die.


6. The small plants, animals, and insects …

a. get water from the ground.

b. seep slowly into the soil.

c. are covered with the thick layer of leaves in autumn.

d. get away from under the leaves.


7. The leaves cannot lie on the ground forever because …

a. they contain many nutritious minerals.

b. they are eaten by the animals and insects.

c. they are blown away by the winds.

d. they decay.


8. The leaves decay when …

a. they are eaten by very small living things.

b. they are no longer on the trees.

c. they become wet with snow.

d. they dry under the sun and wind.


9. What is the precious food for small insects?

a. Bacteria in the soil.

b. Roots of nearby plants.

c. Soft parts of dead leaves.

d. Nutritious minerals.


10. We can get everything from the leaves except …

a. a lot of mess.

b. compost.

c. small plants.

d. dead leaves.

Task 2. Read the text again and then give the detailed answers to the questions.

  1. Why do you think Ellen and Claire were real nature lovers?
  2. What good idea came into Aaron’s mind?
  3. What are the typical activities for people in the city and in the country in autumn?