The Olympics | 6th-8th Grade Printable Reading Comprehension Activity
People all over the world watch the Olympic Games on TV, cheer on their nations’ athletes, and get into the spirit of friendly international competition. Yet how many people know how these games came about and why they were created? Why is there an Olympic torch? What does the flag with the colored rings represent? Looking back in time a few millennia can answer those questions.
The first Olympic Games in recorded history took place in 776 BC on the ancient plains of Olympia in southern Greece. Athletes competed in running, long jump, shot put, javelin, boxing, and equestrian events. These ancient games coincided with a religious festival and were dedicated to the Olympian gods. They continued for almost twelve centuries until Emperor Theodosius banned them in AD 393 due to their pagan nature. Though linked to the cult of Zeus, in reality, the aim of the games was more secular. The intent was to show off the physical strength of the youth and to encourage good relations among the city-states of Greece.
The Olympics as we know them today have a similar purpose. Their intent is to showcase the strength and talents of the world’s best athletes while bringing the countries of the world together.
That unity is the reason for the five interlocking rings on the Olympic flag. They represent the continents of North and South America, Asia, Europe, Africa, and Australia coming together.
It was about 1500 years after the last Olympics that the ancient games were revived. Baron Pierre de Coubertin, a Frenchman dedicated to the promotion of physical education, was inspired to create a modern Olympic Games after he visited the ancient Olympic site. Coubertin eventually won the support of an athletic organization in Paris. They gave him their approval to form an International Olympic Committee. It remains the governing body of today’s Olympic Games.
The first modern Olympic Games took place in Athens, Greece, in 1896. Since then, they have grown in size. What started in Athens with 43 events, 280 athletes, and 13 countries returned to Athens in 2004 with nearly 11,000 athletes representing 201 countries.
Each Olympics since 1896 has been numbered, even when no actual games took place. The games were cancelled three times due to global conflicts. They were not held in 1916 during World War I or in 1940 or 1944 during World War II.
Even the opening and closing ceremonies have grown in size and scope. The first opening ceremony was in 1908 at the London Olympics. Host cities have been trying to outdo each other ever since.
Interestingly, the Olympic torch was lit for the first time at the opening ceremony of the 1936 games in Germany. The ancient Greeks had a ritual fire for their games, but the idea of lighting a torch in Olympia and relaying it to the sight of the games actually belongs to Carl Diem. He was the chief organizer of the Berlin games. Hitler was skeptical of holding the games at first but became convinced that connecting the Third Reich to the grandeur of ancient Olympia was a good idea.
Because of the massive devastation of World War II, the torch was not lit again until the 1948 games in London. Although the tradition was created in Nazi Germany, a recent enemy, Britain embraced the idea of lighting a torch in Greece, relaying it to the games, and this time hailing it as a “relay of peace.” Symbolically, the first torchbearer in Greece laid down his weapons and removed his army uniform before grasping the blazing torch.
The games have continued uninterrupted since 1948. A minor change did take place in 1994 when the timing of the Summer and Winter Olympic Games was changed so that they would not be held in the same year. They are now held separately, alternating every two years.
The revival of this ancient tradition has become one of the world’s premier sporting events. It has served as a way to honor remarkable athleticism and to bring many nations together in the pursuit of something positive. The Olympic torch will most likely continue to be lit for some time to come.
History of the Olympics Reading Comprehension
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The Olympics have a rich and deep history, going all the way back to times of Ancient Greece. The first official Ancient Olympics started in 776 BCE, and was a competition between the city-states of Ancient Greece. There were many athletic (track, swimming, other endurance tests) and combat sports (wrestling, horse and chariot events). All conflicts between the city-states were supposed to be put aside to compete in the Olympics, and was known as the Olympic peace. The Olympic games took place at the sanctuary of Zeus in Olympia, Greece. The sanctuary of Zeus contained a 40-foot-tall statue of Zeus that was made by Phidias, who was known as the finest sculptor of the ancient world.
The Olympic Games of ancient times reached their peak between 6th and 5th century BCE, but declined slowly as the Roman empire took over. No one knows for certain when they ended, but 393 AD is what is commonly used as a date, when Theodosius I declared pagan cults and practices forbidden. Theodosius II furthered this by ordering the destruction of all Greek temples in 426 AD.
There have been several times that the Olympic games have been brought back throughout the ages. One of the earliest post-Greek times was the Cotswold Games, also known as the Cotswold Olimpick Games, which took place in Chipping Campden, England. Organized by Robert Dover from 1612 — 1642 AD, it was used in the 2012 Olympic Games to help London secure the spot for the Olympics.
In post revolution France, another attempt was made to revive the games. This start was called L’Olympiade de la République, and tried to mimic the ancient Olympic Games. It marked the first use of the metric system in the Olympics. The Wenlock Olympian Games started in 1850 and officially adopted the name in 1859. This is an event that continues today in Shropshire, England. The Wenlock Olympian Society was founded by William Penny Brookes in 1860. Another attempt was held in Liverpool, England between 1862 and 1867 called the Grand Olympic Festival. It was the most like the modern Olympics.
The Greeks became interested in reviving the Olympics after the Greek War of Independence. They were fighting off the Ottoman Empire, and was first thought of by Panagiotis Soutsos in the poem ‘Dialogue of the Dead’ (1833). It wasn’t until 1859 when Evangelos Zappas sponsored the first Olympic games between the Ottoman Empire and Greece that the first modern Greek games were held.
The Greeks restored the ancient Panathenaic Stadium just so they had a place to host all future games. In 1890, the International Olympic Committee was made by Baron Pierre de Coubertin. He built the ideas off Zappas work, and proposed for the first time, rotating locations of the Olympic games every 4 years. These were presented to the first Olympic Congress that was part of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and occurred between June 16th-23rd, 1894. The first president of the IOC was Greek writer Demetrius Vikelas.
In 1896, the first IOC hosted games took place in the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens. 14 nations including 241 athletes showed up and competed in 43 events. Zappas continued to have influence, leaving a trust to fund the Olympics for years to come, and was used heavily in the 1896 Games. George Averoff contributed as well to the remodeling and reconstruction of the stadium, as well as the Greek government. With the success of the Olympics, the second Olympics was secured. Though many Greeks objected to the Games being held elsewhere, the second Olympics were held in Paris.
There were some changes made to the Olympics in the coming years. Women could compete for the first time in the 1900 Paris Olympics, but it did not have a stadium. The 1904 St. Louis Olympics were mostly a joke because of 650 athletes that showed up, 580 were from the United States. The Games rebounded in 1906 when they went back to Athens, creating a much deeper interest in the games again. One of the biggest changes came in 1921. The decision was made to add the Winter Olympics. The first Winter Games were held in 1924 in Chamonix, France, and this became the first Winter Olympics. Except during times of war, the Olympics are held every two years, alternating between summer and winter.
1) Which of the following years did the Olympics first start?
A: 393 AD
B: 426 AD
C: 776 BCE
2) Which of the following is thought to have caused the end of the Ancient Olympics?
B: Theodosius I and II
C: Robert Dover
D: William Penny Brookes
3) What is the only other Olympic games to continue to this day not hosted by the IOC?
A: Grand Olympic Festival
B: Cotswold Olimpick Games
C: Greek Olympics
D: Wenlock Olympian Games
4) Which of the following had the original idea to bring back the Greek Olympics?
A: Panagiotis Soutsos
B: Evangelos Zappas
C: Demetrius Vikelas
D: George Averoff
5) When was the International Olympic Committee created?
6) Which of the following games were used to help London secure the 2012 Olympic location?
A: Grand Olympic Festival
B: Greek Olympics
C: Cotswold Olimpick Games
D: Wenlock Olympian Games
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History of the Olympics
10 cool games that will teach your child to read quickly and without errors
How to teach a child to read confidently, fluently, correctly? Interest and captivate! We offer a selection of games from the teacher, speed reading and memory development instructor Guzel Abdulova.
Gyuzel Abdulova, neuropsychologist, teacher, speed reading and memory development coach, head of the Eidos Intellectual Technology Center
These exciting games will not only arouse interest in reading, but also help develop memory, attention and the level of understanding of texts. Play — reading, read — playing!
What should be done? Invite the child to read his favorite poem several times, each time increasing the speed and power of the voice.
Purpose. The exercise significantly increases the speed of reading, improves reading technique and promotes the development of speech.
What should be done? We read the words, highlighting the last syllable, as if with a «foreign» accent. Reading text or columns of words. For example:
In a healthy body healthy mind.
Not the one who is RIGHT who is strong, but the one who is honest.
A tree is supported by roots, and a person is supported by friends.
And Vaska listens and eats.
Elbow is close, but you won’t bite
The cuckoo praises the rooster for praising the cuckoo.
Alone in the field is not a warrior.
Purpose. This exercise helps children get rid of the habit of swallowing endings. It is quite tedious, so we complete it for 30 seconds.
What should be done? The task is to read the text in the form of a person or animal, cartoon or literary character. Discuss with the child how Baba Yaga or a mouse, a hare or a wolf would read this text.
Purpose. The exercise improves the reading technique, helps to get the kid interested in reading, to show that it is fun and interesting.
What should be done? For this exercise, you need to match text with a large number of pictures. Cut the pictures and mix. The task of the child is to arrange the pictures in order to restore the sequence of events.
Option 1. Read the text and put the pictures in order.
Option 2. Tell a story from pictures. Then read the text and compare your version with the one proposed.
Purpose. The exercise contributes to the development of semantic reading and a deeper understanding of what is read.
What should be done? Cut the text into pieces-puzzles and mix. We invite the child to collect them and read the restored text.
Purpose. The exercise is quite difficult, and memory, attention, and thinking are involved. The skill of semantic reading is being improved. At first, you need to choose familiar texts, better — fairy tales.
“The word is lost”
What should be done? Read the text aloud, skipping words. The child must understand which word was missed.
Target . The exercise contributes to the development of attention, the formation of the skill of semantic guessing and a deeper understanding of what is read.
«First and last»
What should I do? The child reads the text, saying aloud only the first and last letters in the word. Then he should tell what he read about.
Purpose. The exercise trains concentration and quick switching of attention, teaches you to perform several actions at the same time: read, understand, memorize.
What should I do? Option 1. An adult reads the beginning of the word, and the child must find the «tail», that is, the end of this word. To do this, you need to quickly scan the entire text, find the word and read the ending.
Option 2. The adult reads the beginning of the sentence, and the child must find its ending.
Purpose. This is a good training for the skills of «scanning» the text with the eyes, concentration and semantic reading.
«Read and count»
What to do? The child must not only read and understand the text, but also count the words. Naturally, for starters, you need small texts — from 10-20 to 40-50 words.
Target. This exercise helps to develop attention and better understand the text.
«Shooting a movie»
What to do? Ask the child to imagine a movie based on the text. We help with leading questions, find out what he sees and feels when he reads. The task is not only to understand what the text is about, but also to hear sounds, feel smells, tastes, and experience the emotions of the characters. The child must answer your questions and retell the text.
Purpose. Develop figurative memory, speech, retelling skill. Thanks to the use of the method of co-sensation, children easily remember and tell the text with all the details, even come up with details.
G. Abdulova “We read after the ABC: we develop speed reading”
It is important to teach a child to read correctly. The book by an experienced neuropsychologist, speed reading trainer and head of the Superbrain School of Intellectual Development Gyuzel Abdulova contains interesting and fun exercises that will help a child learn to read fluently without mistakes and hesitations. And although this book is designed for children of primary school age, it will certainly be interesting for parents to study: try to quickly read the text upside down or find a few words in a whole sea of scattered letters.
See also :
5 games to develop memory
How to teach your child to read confidently: 5 tips for parents
«Secrets» and four more children’s games for the street
Photo: Prostock-studio Alexxndr, ra2studio, Luis Molinero/Shutterstock
From word to phrase | Mersibo
- For whom
«From word to phrase» — interactive games for the initial stage of learning to read. They will help at the stage of reading words and short phrases. In games, the child repeatedly reads words by syllables and letters, analyzes the syllabic composition of the word, reads short sentences and learns to understand what they read.
This is the third flash drive in the Read-Through series. This series contains flash drives with games for learning to read according to the classical method, adapted to modern children.
Games are divided into 4 blocks
- Perception of words to sound . The child learns to perceive words by ear and find them in the written version.
- Visual word search . The child looks for words in a chain of letters, learns to separate one word from another, makes words from syllables.
- Reading words . In games, the child develops the skill of reading words.
- Reading short phrases . The child composes and reads short phrases, correlates text with pictures, learns to retell.
Adaptation for the child
The complexity of tasks can vary depending on the level of development of the child.
Tasks are made in a playful way, which helps to interest the child and captivate him with reading.
For which specialists
- speech therapists,
For which classes
- individual and group lessons,
- with children from 5 years old.
For classes you will need a computer running Windows 8 or higher operating system.
At first glance, a simple game — you have to remember the name (call sign) of the main ranger and choose his name from a variety of words. But the words are very similar to the name of the hero, so the maximum attention is required from the child in order to successfully complete the game.
In the game, the child trains reading and counting skills at the same time. Each item has its own price. Correlating it with the purchase is the main goal of the game.
The child needs to memorize the word. After the letters of the word are scattered, they must be put in the correct order.
In the settings you need to select the degree of difficulty of the game, and then form words by putting syllables or letters in the desired sequence.
How to read this
In the settings you can choose the difficulty of the game. All the words «stuck together» into one word. To separate them, you need to click the mouse in the right place that separates the words.
After the words have scattered and turned into rows of letters, the child must find and select the word in the row of letters with a mouse click. It can be the names of products and objects. Based on the results of the choice of products, the child makes an original smoothie with the help of a «blender».