Listening & Reading Comprehension Practice  

Get some reading comprehension practice (and practice listening comprehension as well!) with one or both of these TED talks about solving energy and other environmental problems.

windmill against the sky

Michael Pawlyn, in Using Nature’s Genius in Architecture, proposes using nature’s design strategies to develop sustainable human systems.

"If we could learn to make things and do things the way nature does, we could achieve factor 10, factor 100, maybe even factor 1,000 savings in resource and energy use."

He gives a number of fascinating examples of natural processes we can learn from. 

In A Clean Energy Proposal, Jennifer Granholm suggests a better way to create ‘clean’ energy (and jobs) in the U.S. by encouraging competition between states rather than forcing one national energy policy on the whole nation. 

To download a pdf of this exercise instead of doing the interactive practice below, right-click here.

These TED talks suggest a lot of ways to produce or save energy, reduce global warming, and resolve some other pressing environmental problems. Before watching them, think for a moment about the strategies you expect them to mention.

  • What are some problems with our current situation? 
  • What solutions have you already heard? 
  • Which do you think will work best? 

(Thinking about what you already know about a topic will help you understand and remember it better. It's an important reading comprehension strategy.)

Then watch and listen for better ideas-- and also think about potential drawbacks (problems) their proposals might have. 

Try listening to each talk (or reading it-- see the "Interactive transcript just below the video) in English first, to see how much you can understand. Answer these questions. (It’s OK to look back at the transcript-- this is not a test of your memory.)

After taking the quiz and checking your answers, you can always read it or watch it with subtitles in your primary language if you want.

Reading Comprehension Practice Questions 

Choose the best answer for each question, then check your answer. You can try again if your first answer was wrong.

The first 6 questions are from the Nature’s Genius talk, the last 6 are from the Clean Energy Proposal.

After each question, return to the top and click on the arrow for the next question, or choose "Show all questions" to see all 12 at once. Scroll back after each question.

(For questions 1 and 10, you must choose all the correct check marks before your answer is complete. If it says "4/5", go back and change the check marks until it says "5/5," which means all 5 are correct.)


How did you do? Practicing your English reading comprehension skills (even just by thinking about what you are reading, making predictions, and asking yourself questions) should help you get more from your reading. It will improve your English vocabulary as well.

Home> Listening and Reading Comprehension Exercises> Reading Comprehension Practice.

Didn't find what you needed? Explain what you want in the search box below. (For example, cognates, past tense practice, or 'get along with.') Click to see the related pages on EnglishHints.

site search by freefind advanced

New! Comments

What do you think about what you just read? Leave me a comment in the box below.
Enjoy this page? Please share it (link to it.) Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.