STAAR Grade 7 Reading Practice Test Questions

Questions 1 – 5 pertain to the following passage:

Happily Never After

(1) The tragic story of two star-crossed lovers was first brought to attention in William Shakespeare’s play, Romeo and Juliet.

(2) The entire plot of the play is explained in the prologue. It is stated that there are two households of equal status in Verona, Italy. There is an ancient feud between the two families that has progressed into the younger generations, meaning the fight between the parents has now become the fight between the parents’ children. The narrator continues, saying, “A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life” and in doing so, end their parents’ feud. Romeo and Juliet, a child of each household, fall in love, but cannot live happily together because of the feud. The feud is ended, but it is an act that only the death of these children could make happen.

(3) The majority of stories that audiences enjoy have a happy ending. From childhood, people have grown up with the expectation of an ending that comes with the phrase, “And they lived happily ever after.” It is interesting that the story of Romeo and Juliet, a famous tragedy, has extreme popularity and interest among both storytellers and audiences. This raises the question of fascination with tragedy.

(4) In the last act of the play, Juliet has faked her death to escape marriage to another man. A message is supposed to be sent to Romeo explaining that she is alive with a plan for their escape. The message, however, does not reach Romeo. In his despair that he has lost his love, he comes to Juliet’s side, drinks poison, and dies. Moments later, Juliet wakes up to find Romeo dead. In her grief, she takes his dagger and kills herself.

(5) Within the prologue, the first moments of the play, the audience is told that the main characters die. It is an interesting way of storytelling. The plot has been ruined, and there is no suspense. The audience is told that Romeo and Juliet die, and in doing so, end their parents’ feud. The audience, however, remains, and watches the events take place, even though they know the ending and that it will not be happy.

(6) It is therefore logical to assume that audiences want to believe that a story will end happily, even though they are given evidence that it will not. Audiences will watch the entire play, hoping that something will be done so that the lovers can be saved. And yet, as the prologue stated, the message is not delivered, and the only way that Romeo and Juliet can be together is in death. Their deaths had to take place before the ancient feud would end.

(7) The theme of tragic love has been repeated throughout literary history, although perhaps not brought to the extreme of Romeo and Juliet. Although audiences enjoy stories with a happy ending, the popularity of tragic themes proves that audiences also enjoy stories that do not end happily. It is the hope for happiness that gives tragedies strength, and the hope that things will end differently.

1. Which of these sentences is an opinion?
  1. The feud is ended, but it is an act that only the death of their children could make happen
  2. Moments later, Juliet wakes up to find Romeo dead
  3. Audiences will watch the entire play, hoping that something will be done so that the lovers can be saved
  4. It is stated that there are two households of equal status in Verona, Italy
2. Paragraph 2 helps the reader to understand:
  1. The characters in Romeo and Juliet
  2. The conflict and plot in Romeo and Juliet
  3. The mood and tone in Romeo and Juliet
  4. The theme of Romeo and Juliet
3. Why does the author use the phrase, “And they lived happily ever after”?
  1. To explain that most audiences enjoy stories with a happy ending
  2. To explain the ending of Romeo and Juliet
  3. To explain why happy endings are not as good as tragic endings
  4. To explain how to end a story
4. Why does the author think that the prologue in Romeo and Juliet is “an interesting way of storytelling”?
  1. The prologue explains that the play is a tragedy
  2. The prologue explains how the story will end
  3. The prologue is very long
  4. The prologue asks the audience a question
5. Why, according to the prologue and author, are Romeo and Juliet’s deaths necessary?
  1. To make the play a tragedy
  2. To show the dangers of poison
  3. To end their parents’ feud 
  4. To earn more money and power

Questions 6 -10 pertain to the following passage:

Musically Inclined

(1) Gibson thought, at least, that it could have been worse. His parents could have named him Fender, given him the middle name Les Paul, or worse yet, Stratocaster. This was a small comfort to him as he reminded himself that he really never had a chance. It was not he who chose the music. He was born into it, and even named after one of the most famous guitars. It was like the music had found him.

(2) Gibson could not remember a time when he did not know how to play music. His mother was a singer when she was younger, and his father played the lead guitar in the band Mookie Harper. Growing up, he learned to read music at the same time he learned to read words. Music felt as natural to him as walking and was a big part of his life.

(3) There were many instruments in Gibson’s house, and over the years, he had learned how to play most of them. He started with a piano when he was very young, moved to the harmonica and drums when he was a bit older, and had just begun learning how to play the violin. But Gibson’s favorite instrument was the one he had been playing the longest: his father’s Gibson Les Paul guitar.

(4) At school, Gibson felt lonely most days. His family had just moved from Seattle, and the other kids at school thought it was weird that he carried a violin case to school for his fourth period music class. At his old school, he was in the school band, and had a lot of friends who enjoyed playing music with him.

(5) “Why would you play the violin?” Joe asked as he snickered in his chair. “Only girls play that. I bet it was the only thing you could learn,” he laughed. The rest of the class laughed behind him.

(6) Gibson sat in his chair and rolled his eyes. He thought that this kid obviously didn’t know anything about music, because the violin was one of the most challenging instruments to learn. He left the case on the floor by his chair and waited for his second period history class to begin.

(7) The teacher walked into the classroom pushing a cart. Gibson immediately sat up in his chair. He knew exactly what was in the cases and smiled.

(8) “I was able to borrow these from the music section of the museum to show you today,” Ms. Conway said. “Can anyone tell me what these are?” she asked.

(9) “They are guitars, Ms. Conway. Duh,” Joe, a boy in the back of the room, said. The class laughed.

(10) Ms. Conway squinted her eyes at Joe. “He is half right,” she said. “These are in fact guitars. But can anyone tell me what kind of guitars they are?” She looked around the room. Everyone sat still.

(11) “The one on the right is a 1958 Gibson Les Paul,” Gibson said out of the silence. “And the one of the left is a vintage Fender Stratocaster from 1954. Oh, and they are electric guitars,” he said.

(12) The class looked at Gibson and stared in silence. Ms. Conway clapped her hands together. “Wow! You’re right, Gibson. Great job!”

(13) “How’d you know that?” a girl asked behind him.

(14) “My dad has both of them,” he said. “And I’ve been playing them since I was little.”

(15) “You can play the guitar?” Joe laughed. “Yeah right! You play the violin!” He looked around, but no one else was laughing.

(16) “Would you like to play something?” Ms. Conway asked. Gibson looked down at his feet. He didn’t know what to say. He just wanted to stay in his seat and have no one look at him.

(17) But then he thought of his dad and smiled. “I’ll play the Les Paul,” he said. “It’s my favorite.”

(18) He walked toward the front of the class and picked up the guitar. He played the opening notes of “Gone into the Sun.” It was his favorite Mookie Harper song. All of the children sat in awe as they watched him play, and when he was done, they all started clapping and cheering.

(19) “Maybe I’ll start playing the violin,” the boy next to him said. “If it will get me to play a guitar like that!”

6. This story is told in what point of view?
  1. First-person limited
  2. First-person omniscient
  3. Third-person omniscient 
  4. Third-person limited
7. Why did the narrator include the detail that the family was from Seattle?
  1. To show why the family loves music
  2. To show that Gibson was a new student
  3. To show that the family moves a lot because of the father’s band
  4. To show that the family is on vacation
8. What does Gibson mean when he assumes that he “never really had a chance?”
  1. That he was destined to play music because of his family and his name
  2. That he was never going to be good at playing the violin
  3. That he was never going to be popular at school
  4. That he is going to be in a band one day like his father
9. In paragraph 16, why did Gibson want to sit in his seat?
  1. He did not like the guitar and did not want to play it
  2. He did not want the attention of the other children to be on him
  3. He wanted to play the violin instead
  4. He thought the guitar was too old to play
10. How is the internal conflict in the story resolved?
  1. Gibson is himself and is liked by his classmates
  2. Gibson decides not to play in front of everyone
  3. Gibson decides to start a band with people in his class
  4. Gibson plays a song for his dad

Grade 7 Reading Answer Key

1. Answer: C 
The author assumes that audiences will hope the lovers can be saved. This is not a fact. Choices A, B, and D are all facts that are supported by information in the play.

2. Answer: B 
Paragraph 2 explains all of the information that is in the prologue, and the author says that the prologue provides the plot of the play. The conflict is also explained in discussing the feud between the families.

3. Answer: A 
In paragraph 3, the author states that most people expect and enjoy a happy ending as they have grown up with stories that end happily with the phrase, “And they lived happily ever after.”

4. Answer: B 
In paragraph 5, the author explains that it is interesting to explain at the beginning of the play that Romeo and Juliet die and that their deaths end their parents’ feud.

5. Answer: C 
In paragraph 2, the narrator explains that the prologue states that Romeo and Juliet take their lives and in doing so, end their parents’ feud.

6. Answer: D 
The story is third-person limited as it is not told in the first-person, by Gibson or any other character, and the narrator only knows the thoughts and feelings of one character, Gibson.

7. Answer: B 
Paragraph 4 states that Gibson’s family had just moved from Seattle, which explains that he is a new student in the school.

8. Answer: A 
Paragraph 1 discusses music in Gibson’s life and the fact that he was born into music through his family and even his name. He thinks that it was the music that chose him, and because of this, he “never really had a chance” to not have music be very involved in his life.

9. Answer: B 
The narrator explains that Gibson wanted to stay in his seat and have no one look at him. He did not want the attention of the other children.

10. Answer: A 
The conflict in the story is that as a new student, Gibson is teased by his fellow classmates. By showing his love of music as well as his talent, Gibson is himself and is liked by his classmates.

STAAR Grade 7 Reading Standards. There are 3 reporting categories for the Grade 7 STAAR Reading Test; Understanding/Analysis Across Genres-10 questions; Understanding/Analysis of Literary Texts-21 questions; Understanding/Analysis of Informational Texts-19 questions