Reading for Thinking - Online Practice:
Drawing Conclusions

Copyright © 2005 Laraine Flemming.
General distribution outside the classroom and redistribution are strictly prohibited.

Directions: Click the appropriate button to identify the conclusion that can be drawn from each passage.


The Hmong refugees who fled their native Laos to come to the United States are one of America's immigrant success stories. During the Vietnam War, the Hmong, an ancient people of Chinese ancestry, aided the U.S. government in its fight against communism. When the Americans left Southeast Asia after the war, the Hmong were hunted by communists, so they began fleeing to the United States. According to Toyo Biddle, former head of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, responsible for overseeing the Hmong's transition during the 1980s, the Hmong initially had a hard time in the U. S: "When they arrived here, the Hmong were the least westernized, most unprepared for life in the United States of all the Southeast Asian refugee groups." In 1987, former Wyoming Republican senator Alan Simpson publicly declared that Hmong families were incapable of integrating themselves into American culture. Today, however, thousands of Hmong-American citizens have earned college degrees. In their homeland, most worked as farmers in isolated areas; in America, many are now physicians, lawyers, and university professors. Others have become shopping mall owners, ginseng producers, chicken farmers, and restaurateurs--more than 100 of them in the state of Michigan alone. Although the Hmong did not even have a written language until the 1950s, Hmong-Americans are now publishing short stories and poetry. The first Southeast Asian refugee to be elected to a state legislature in the United States was Mee Moua, a Hmong-American woman from Minnesota. (Source of information: Marc Kaufman, "American Odyssey," Smithsonian, September 2004, pp. 84-92)

From this passage, a reader might logically draw which conclusion?

a. Senator Alan Simpson was correct in his assessment of the Hmong.

b. Senator Alan Simpson badly underestimated the abilities of the Hmong.

c. The Hmong became loyal to the United States only after resettling there.

d. The Hmong could have prospered even if they had stayed in Laos.


In Ireland, South Africa, Bangladesh, Australia, China, and Taiwan, plastic grocery bags have been banned or now cost shoppers extra. In California at least, some cities are following suit. Mark Murray of Californians Against Waste says, "Folks take the free plastic bag for granted, [but] there is a dollar-and-cents impact." The bags litter city streets and jam recycling machines, forcing the city of San Francisco to spend $8.5 million per year, or 17 cents per plastic bag, for cleanup and other costs. As a result, the city wants to charge citizens a whopping 17-cent-per-bag tax to cover its expense, even though the California Grocers Association warns that the tax would add an extra dollar to every grocery bill. However, Californians Against Waste hopes that a hefty tax would encourage people to take along reusable bags when they go shopping. Environmentalists, too, want reusable bags. They say that plastic bags are polluting our oceans, choking marine life, and wasting oil (the main ingredient in many plastics). However, the plastics industry argues that eliminating the use of 50 million plastic bags would save only 2,100 barrels of oil. According to Rob Krebs of the American Plastics Council, that amount is only "equivalent to taking (roughly) 90 SUVs off the road, " (Source of information: Traci Watson, " S.F. Shoppers Might Be Sacked with 17-cent Tax on Grocery Bags," USA Today, November 23, 2004, p. 3A)

From this passage, a reader might logically draw which conclusion?

a. Members of Californians Against Waste very likely bring along reusable shopping bags when they shop for groceries.

b. The California Grocers Association strongly supports the proposal to tax plastic grocery bags.

c. Rob Krebs believes that SUVs should be banned from roads.

d. Californians Against Waste would never support a total ban on plastic grocery bags.


When America's founders created the Constitution, they specified in Article II, Section 1 that only a "natural born Citizen" at least 35 years old is eligible for the office of U.S. president. Why did they limit the presidency to only those actually born in this country? Their main motive appears to have been something akin to paranoia. Their brand-new country had just fought a war to gain independence from a foreign power. Consequently, the founders feared that a foreign-born president would be less inclined to discourage the invasion of foreign powers, particularly if the president had been born in England. Today, though, citizens like Jonathan Turley, professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University, argue in favor of eliminating what has become an illogical and, in some ways, un-American restriction. "The eligibility provision was written for a different people and a different time," says Turley. "It now strikes a decidedly xenophobic [having a generally unfavorable view of strangers] note in an otherwise inclusive document. More important, the exclusion is an insult to the [20 million] immigrants who built this nation." Turley asserts that length of citizenship along with proven intellect, loyalty, and service to one's country are much more important than one's place of birth. (Source of information: Jonathan Turley, "Amend It, But Not Just For Arnold," USA Today, November 23, 2004, p. 23A)

From this passage, a reader might logically draw which conclusion?

a. Jonathan Turley would probably favor a Constitutional amendment to modify the banning of foreign-born presidential candidates.

b. Jonathan Turley would probably strongly oppose a Constitutional amendment to modify the ban on foreign-born presidential candidates.

c. Jonathan Turley would probably agree that anyone who has lived in the United States for at least two years should be allowed to run for president.

d. Jonathan Turley would be likely to agree that America is still in danger of coming under foreign rule.


While 1.6 million Americans citizens in uniform were fighting the battles of World War II, ordinary citizens back on the "Homefront" were also making sacrifices. They were becoming, as President Franklin Roosevelt put it, "one great fighting force." By the end of January 1942, over 5-and-a-half million Americans were enrolled in civil defense programs, serving as auxiliary police, air raid wardens, and medical personnel. In addition, Americans accepted a rationing system that severely limited goods like meat, cheese, sugar, butter, coffee, shoes, and gasoline. They also conserved and recycled as much as possible. Raw materials were needed for war supplies and equipment, so ordinary citizens saved anything made of paper, tin and aluminum, holding drives to collect all three. Almost 20,000 households grew their own vegetables so that more farm produce would be available to feed the troops. When Roosevelt also asked Americans to pay more taxes to help finance the war, there were no major protests. Indeed, in 1944, the nation's wealthiest citizens paid a 94 percent tax on all income over $200,000 per year as a way of showing their support for the war. Despite higher taxes for everyone, people still bought war bonds and stamps to help the government finance the war effort. By July 1945, seven successful war bond drives had raised almost 61 billion dollars. (Source of information: Hillard E. Johnmeyer, "There's a War On! The One That Everyone Got Involved In,"

From this passage, a reader might logically draw which conclusion?

a. During World War II, Americans not at the front were generally frustrated and angry about their quality of life.

b. During World War II, Americans of all classes believed that making sacrifices was their patriotic duty.

c. Because he demanded so many sacrifices of U.S. citizens, Roosevelt was not a popular president.

d. Contrary to popular belief, World War II had little effect on the average American citizen.

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