Reading Comprehension

Pre-Reading Activities

Answer the questions.

Do you know anything about the history of the English language?

Have you ever heard the legend about the Tower of Babel?

How many languages are spoken on the Earth?

What are the most widespread languages? Why?

Vocabulary List


heaven — не6o

bricks and mortar — цегла та цемент

invader — завойовник

to split up — розколоти, роз‘єднати

to blame — звинувачувати

mess — безладдя, xaoc

the Tower of Babel — Вавілонська башта

confusion — стовпотворіння, сум‘яття

to lack — не вистачати

load — вантаж, ноша



The people of Babylonia were rich and powerful. They were also happy. They loved each other and they enjoyed working together. But one thing was lacking. Men had only the Earth to enjoy. God had kept Heaven for himself and his angels.

The King of Babylonia decided that his people should have Heaven as well as Earth. So he ordered them to build a great tall tower. Six hundred thousand men began making bricks and mixing mortar and piling up a building higher. Every day men carried ricks and mortar up a stairway on the east side of the tower. Then they walked down another stairway on the west to get more loads. This went on for forty-two years until the Tower was twenty-seven miles high. It was so high that it took a man a whole year to carry bricks from the ground to the top.

Now the Tower had risen nearly to Heaven, and God saw that he would have to do something to keep the invaders out. Perhaps if he made it hard for people to cooperate, they would not be able to finish the Tower. To carry out his plan God sent seventy angels down to Earth. The angels had orders: first to take away the one language everybody understood, then to split the people up into groups, with each group speaking a new tongue of its own.

In no time the men who made bricks couldn’t talk to the men who carried them. And the men who carried bricks couldn’t say an understandable word to the men who laid the bricks. Everything was a mess, and everybody blamed everybody else for not understanding. People no longer talked about the Tower of Heaven.

Instead they talked about the Tower of Babel, which meant the Tower of Confusion. Work came to a dead stop. The builders went away carrying their new languages with them. That is how it happens that different tongues are spoken in different parts of the world.

Post-Reading Activities.

Fill in the gaps to complete the following questions with the verbs given below.

did, was, were, should, made, did, hadn’t, was

1) What thing _________ lacking in Babylonia?

2) What did the King of Babylonia decide that his people _________ have?

3) How high________ the Tower?

4) The Tower had risen nearly to Heaven, _________ it?

5) I wonder if the people _________ able to finish the Tower.

6) What _________ it hard for people to cooperate?

7) Whom _________ everybody blame for not understanding?

8) _________ God send angels to the Earth or _________ he give people orders?

Choose the correct answer to bring out the main ideas of the text.

1) What were the people of Babylonia lacking?

A. They had no heaven for themselves.

B. They were not rich and powerful.

C. There was no love between them.

2) What did the king order his people to do?

A. He ordered them to ask God to come to the Earth.

B. He decided to build a great tall tower.

C. He ordered them to work together.

3) What did God do to keep the invaders out?

A. He ruined the Tower.

B. He decided to take away the one language that everybody understood.

C. He made the people poor.

4) What did the people do when everything was a mess?

A. They went away carrying their new languages with them.

B. They continued all the same.

C. They blamed the king for the confusion.

Answer the following questions.

1) Did the people of Babylonia enjoy working together?

2) How many people began building the Tower?

3) How high was the Tower?

4) How long did it take a man to carry bricks from the ground to the top?

5) What orders did the seventy angels have?

6) Why did people stop talking about the Tower of Heaven?

7) What did they talk about?

8) Why are different languages spoken in different parts of the world?

9) What do you think of having one common international language on the Earth now?

10) Did you like the legend?  Why?