Bowl of noodles with chicken and chopsticks
Read the two stories first and then move onto the quiz.

Grade 4 Reading Literature - Topics and Themes

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Literature is usually compared and contrasted for similarities and differences. Students may be looking for themes and topics that are common in pieces of literature. Students may also be determining the pattern of events in texts. They may be found in myths, traditional literature or stories. In this quiz, the students will answer questions about the similarities and differences in two cultural texts.

Story 1 – A Birthday for Jack

Jack is a student who comes from China. He is going to school in the United States during his last year of high school. He wants to learn the English language while staying in the United States. Jack is living with an American family while he attends school at the local high school.

After being in the United States for 3 months, Jack’s birthday comes up in November. His American family decides to prepare a birthday that Jack would love. The mother looks online and researches information. Then she has an idea.

On November 12th, the American family surprises Jack with his birthday meal. The mother has cooked a large meal for Jack. She serves him a huge plate of long noodles without sauce. Jack sees the noodles and eats them.

“Thanks, this means that I will live a long life,” Jack tells his American family. After that, the entire family and Jack enjoy the birthday cake.

Story 2 – The Jamaican Trip

Tiffany and Sasha are sisters who moved to the United States when they were twelve. Now at twenty years old, the twin sisters have decided to go back to Jamaica where they were originally from. Both girls buy airplane tickets to Jamaica. While they are spending the two weeks there, they will be celebrating their birthdays.

Tiffany wants to have an American birthday celebration, but Sasha wants a Jamaican birthday. They decide to compromise and have both types of parties in Jamaica. On the night of their actual birthday, the girls go out to a restaurant in Jamaica. They eat their favorite meals and give each other wrapped presents. At the end of the meal, the staff at the restaurant bring each of the girls a cake that is lit with twenty candles on it. The staff sing happy birthday to them and they blow out the candles. Then the host of the restaurant throws flour on the two girls who laugh and dance around. By the end of the night, the twins are covered in flour. They had a wonderful birthday.

Read Story 1 - A Birthday for Jack above.
What is Jack's tradition in China for birthdays?
To eat a birthday cake.
To blow out candles.
To eat long noodles.
To travel to the United States.
Jack's tradition in China is to eat long noodles.
Read Story 1 - A Birthday for Jack above.
What does this Chinese tradition mean?
That Jack will get his wish granted.
That Jack will lead a long life.
That Jack will be very happy.
That Jack will have to study a lot in school.
It is a custom to eat long noodles on your birthday in China for longevity.
Read Story 2 - The Jamaican Trip above.
What is the twin's tradition for their birthdays in Jamaica?
To cover themselves in flour.
To travel to Jamaica.
To unwrap presents.
To dance.
It is customary to get covered in flour on your birthday in Jamaica.
Read Story 2 - The Jamaican Trip above.
How do the girls initially want to celebrate their birthdays?
They don't care how they celebrate it.
They both want to celebrate with the Jamaican tradition.
The both want to celebrate with the American tradition.
One wants to celebrate with the American tradition and the other wants to celebrate in the Jamaican tradition.
They both want to celebrate their birthdays differently, but they compromise.
Read Story 1 - A Birthday for Jack and Story 2 - The Jamaican Trip.
What topic do both stories share?
High school.
Both stories include birthdays.
Read Story 1 - A Birthday for Jack and Story 2 - The Jamaican Trip.
What is a common theme in both stories?
People should move away from doing their traditions.
It is important to remember your background and traditions.
Taking a trip for someone's birthday is important to do.
Education is vital to success.
Both Jack and the twin sisters celebrate their birthdays with their traditions.
Read Story 1 - A Birthday for Jack and Story 2 - The Jamaican Trip.
What similarity do both birthday traditions share?
Both traditions are celebrated in the same month.
They both use food or an ingredient of food in their traditions.
They both must be celebrated outside of the United States.
They both make a mess.
China uses noodles and Jamaica uses flour in their birthday traditions.
Read Story 1 - A Birthday for Jack and Story 2 - The Jamaican Trip.
What is a difference in the stories?
In one story, the characters travel back to their native land, and in the other story, the character stays in the U.S.
In one story, the characters do not celebrate in their tradition whereas in the other story they do celebrate using their traditional ways.
One character chooses not to celebrate their birthday, but the other characters celebrate their birthdays a lot.
In one story, the character celebrates alone, but in the other story the characters celebrate with other people.
The twin sisters go back to Jamaica and Jack stays in the U.S.
Read Story 1 - A Birthday for Jack and Story 2 - The Jamaican Trip.
What is a difference in the two stories?
One eats birthday cake, and the others eat flour.
One has the birthday celebrated in one night and the others have their birthday celebrated in two nights.
One has the birthday tradition provided for them and the other characters provide their own birthday traditions for themselves.
One speaks English and the others speak another language.
The mother of the family where Jack is staying researches about Chinese tradition. The twin girls celebrate on their own.
Read Story 1 - A Birthday for Jack and Story 2 - The Jamaican Trip.
What is a difference in the two stories?
The height of the characters.
Everything that they are eating.
The reasons to celebrate.
The settings.
One story is taking place in the United States and the other one is taking place in Jamaica.
Author:  Amy Flanders

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