過去這個週末學生考了 2020 年 6 月的 ACT 考試。如果這是你最後一次考 ACT，恭喜你完成了一個艱難的任務！
我們整理了 2020 年 6 月 ACT 考試當中的 4 篇閱讀文章，幫助學生準備未來的考試。
首先，讀這些文章。你覺得他們讀起來很簡單還是很難？裡面有沒有很多生字，尤其是那些會影響你理解整篇文章的生字？如果有的話，雖然你可能是在美國讀書或讀國際學校、也知道 “如何讀跟寫英文”，但你還沒有足夠的生字基礎讓你 “達到下一個階段” （也就是大學的階段）。查一下這一些字，然後把它們背起來。這些生字不見得會在下一個 ACT 考試中出現，但是透過真正的 ACT 閱讀文章去認識及學習這些生字可以大大的減低考試中出現不會的生字的機率。
在我們的 Ivy-Way Reading Workbook（Ivy-Way 閱讀技巧書）的第一章節裡，我們教學生在閱讀文章之前要先讀文章最上面的開頭介紹。雖然你的 ACT 考試不會剛好考這幾篇文章，但你還是可以透過這些文章找到它們的來源，然後從來源閱讀更多相關的文章。閱讀更多來自這些地方的文章會幫助你習慣閱讀這種風格的文章。
所有 2020年 6月 ACT 考試閱讀文章
This passage is adapted from the article ‘Trading Stoner by Jhumpa Lahiri (©2011 by Condo Nast).
Books, and the stories they contained, were the
only things I felt I was able to possess as a child. Even
then, the possession was not literal; my father is a
librarian, and perhaps because he believed in collective
property, I had almost no books to call my own.
Our house was not devoid of things to read, but the
offerings felt scant. There were books about China and
Russia. My mother owned novels and short stories and
stacks of a literary magazine called Desh, but they were
in Bengali. I craved a house where books were a solid
presence, piled on every surface and cheerfully lining
What I really sought was a better-marked trail of
my parents’ intellectual lives: bound and printed evidence
of what had inspired and shaped their minds.
A connection, via books, between them and me. But my
parents did not read to me or tell me stories; my father
did not read any fiction, and the stories my mother may
have loved as a young girl in Calcutta were not passed
Bengali was my first language, what I spoke and
heard at home. But the books of my childhood were in
English, and their subjects, for the most part, were
either English or American lives. I was aware of a feel-
ing of trespassing; I was aware that I did not belong to
the worlds I was reading about: that different food
graced our table, that different holidays were celebrated.
And yet when a book was in my possession, this
As a young girl, I was afraid to participate in
social activities. I was worried about what others might
make of me. But when I read I was free of this worry. I
learned what my fictional companions ate and wore,
about the toys scattered in their rooms, the vacations
they took, the jams their mothers stirred on the stove.
For me, the act of reading was one of discovery in the
most basic sense—the discovery of a culture that was
foreign to my parents.
When I began to make friends, writing was the
vehicle. I did not write alone but with another student
in my class. We would sit together, dreaming up characters
and plots, taking turns writing sections of the story.
The stories were transparent riffs on what I was reading
at the time: families living on prairies, orphaned girls
sent off to boarding schools, children with supernatural
As I grew into adolescence and beyond, however,
my writing shrank. Though the compulsion to invent
stories remained, self-doubt began to undermine it.
What I loved at seven became, by seventeen, the form
of self-expression that most intimidated me. At twenty-
one, the writer in me was like a fly in the room—alive
but insignificant, aimless, something that unsettled me
whenever I grew aware of it.
After I graduated from college, I moved to Boston
and formed a close friendship with a young woman
whose father is a poet named Bill Corbctt. I began to
visit the Corbetts’ home, which was filled with books
and art. I saw the desk where Bill wrote, obscured by
manuscripts, letters, and proofs. I saw that the work
taking place on this desk was obliged to no one, connected
to no institution; that this desk was an island. I
spent a summer pecking out sketches and fragments on
I began to want to be a writer. Secretly at first,
exchanging pages with one other person, our prescheduled
meetings forcing me to sit down and produce something.
I worked up the nerve to apply for a formal spot in
a creative-writing program. When I told my parents that
I’d been accepted, with a fellowship, they neither
encouraged nor discouraged me. Like so many aspects
of my American life, the idea that one could get a
degree in creative writing, that it could be a legitimate
course of study, seemed perhaps frivolous to them.
As a child, I had written to connect with my peers.
But when I started writing stories again, in my twenties,
my parents were the people I was struggling to reach.
In 1992, just before starting the writing program, I went
to Calcutta with my family. I remember coming back at
the end of summer and almost immediately writing the
first of the stories I submitted that year in workshop. It
was set in the building where my mother had grown up,
and where I spent much of my time when I was in
India. I see now that my impulse to write this story was
to prove something to any parents: that I understood, in
a limited but precise way. the world they came from.
For much of my life, I wanted to belong to a place,
either the one my parents came from or to America.
When I became a writer my desk became home; there
was no need for another. I belong to my work. to my
This passage is adaplecl from the book Brave Companions: Portraits in History by David McCullough (©1992 by David McCullough).
It was not long after the completion of the Panama
Railroad in 1855 that Bedford Clapperton Pim declared
with perfect composure that of all the world’s wonders
none could surpass this one as a demonstration of
man’s capacity to do great things against impossible
“I have seen the greatest engineering works of the
day,” he wrote, “… but I must confess that when pass-
ing backwards and forwards on the Panama Railway,
I have never been more struck than with the evidence,
apparent on every side, of the wonderful skill,
endurance, and perseverance, which must have been
exercised in its construction.”
Bedford Clapperton Pim was a British naval officer
and of no particular historical significance. He had,
however, seen a great deal of the world, he was a recognized
authority on Central America, and his opinion
was not lightly arrived at.
It should be kept in mind that the first railroads, all
very primitive, had been built in Europe and the United
States only some twenty years before. France was still
virtually without railroads; not a rail had been put down
west of the Mississippi as yet. Moreover, such awesome
technological strides as the Suez Canal, the Union
Pacific, and the Brooklyn Bridge were still well in the
future. And so the vision of locomotives highballing
through the green half-light of some distant rain forest,
of the world’s two greatest oceans joined by good
English-made rails, could stir the blood to an
The Panama Railroad was begun in 1850, at the
height of the California gold craze. And by anyone’s
standards it was a stunning demonstration of man’s
“wonderful skill, endurance, and perseverance.” just as
Pim said. even though its full length was only forty-
seven and a half miles. It was, for example, the first
ocean-to-ocean railroad. Mile for mile it also appears to
have cost more in dollars and in human life than any
railroad ever built.
The surveys made by its builders produced important
geographic revelations that had a direct bearing on
the decision to build a Panama canal along the same
route. In addition, the diplomatic agreement upon
which the whole venture rested, the so-called Bidlack
Treaty of 1846, was the basis of all subsequent
involvement of the United States in Panama.
Still, the simple fact that it was built remains the
overriding wonder, given the astonishing difficulties
that had to be overcome and the means at hand in the
1850s. Present-day engineers who have had experience
in jungle construction wonder how in the world it was
ever managed. I think in particular of David S. Parker,
an eminent army engineer whom I interviewed at the
time he was governor of the Canal Zone. Through a
great sweep of glass behind him, as we talked, were the
distant hills of Panama, no different in appearance than
they ever were. II is almost inconceivable, he said, that
the railroad survey—just the survey—could have been
made by a comparative handful of men who had no
proper equipment for topographic reconnaissance (no
helicopters, no recourse to aerial photography), no
modern medicines. nor the lent understanding of the
causes of malaria or yellow fever. There was no such
thing as an insect repellent, no bulldozers. no chain
saws. no canned goods, not one reliable map.
A Panama railroad still crosses from the Atlantic
to the Pacific. from Colon to Panama City. Much of the
ride—especially if you are in one of the older cars
(without air conditioning, windows open wide)—looks
and feels as it must have originally. The full trip takes
one hour and thirty minutes. But except for a few miles
at either end. the present line is altogether different
from the original. It takes a (lament route on higher
ground. The old road has vanished beneath Gatun Lake,
the enormous body of fresh water that comprises most
of the canal and that can be seen close by on the right
much of the way as you head toward the Pacific.
The original line was built as hurriedly and
cheaply as circumstances would allow, to take advantage
of the bonanza in California traffic. The route was
always along the line of least resistance. Anything for-
midable in the way—a hill, a bend in the Chagres
River—was bypassed if possible. No tunnels were
attempted (there is one on the present line), and the
winding right of way chopped through the jungle was
just wide enough to let a train pass. Still, this one little
stretch of track took nearly five years to build and cost
$8 million, which averages out to a little less than ten
miles a year and a then unheard-of $168.000 per mile.
Passage A is adapted from the essay “Henry D. Thoreau” by John Burroughs (©1882 by The Century Co. ) Passage B is adapted from the essay “Qualified Homage to Thoreau” by Wallace Stegner ©1992 by the Estate of Wallace Stegner).
Thoreau’s fame has steadily increased since his
death, in 1862, as it was bound to do. It was little more
than in the bud at that time, and its full leaf and flower-
ing are not yet, perhaps not in many years yet. He
improves with age; in fact, requires age to take off a
little of his asperity and fully ripen him. The generation
he lectured so sharply will not give the same heed to his
words as will the next and the next. The first effect of
the reading of his books, upon many minds, is irritation
and disapproval; the perception of their beauty and
wisdom comes later. He was a man devoid of compassion,
devoid of sympathy, devoid of generosity. devoid
of patriotism, as these words are usually understood.
yet his life showed a devotion to principle such as one
life in millions does not show; and matching this there
runs through his works a vein of the purest and rarest
poetry and the finest wisdom. for both these reasons
time will enhance rather than lessen the value of his
contributions. The world likes a good hater and refuser
almost as well as it likes a good lover and acceptor,
only it likes him farther off.
In writing of Thoreau, I am not conscious of
having any criticism to make of him, I would fain
accept him just as he was, and make the most of him,
defining and discriminating him as I would a flower or
a bird or any other product of nature—perhaps exaggerating
some features the better to bring them out I sup-
pose there were greater men among his contemporaries.
but I doubt if there were any more genuine and sincere.
or more devoted to ideal ends. If he was not this, that.
or the other great man, he was Thoreau, and he fills his
own niche well, and has left a positive and distinct
impression upon the literature of his country. He was.
perhaps, a little too near his friend and master.
Emerson, and brought too directly under his influence.
But the contour of his moral nature was just as firm and
resisting. He was no more a soft-shelled egg, to be
dented by every straw in the nest, than was his
Walden Woods is the 2.680-acre area outside of Boston, Mass-achusetts. that inspired Thoreau’s book Walden.
Before I get around to saying why I think that
Walden Woods absolutely must be preserved from sub-
division and development, let me confess that, much as
I admire Thoreau’s hard-mouthed intellectual integrity
and his knotty grappler’s mind. I have some reservations
about him. There are writings of his that I admire
more than Walden—the essay “Walking.” for example.
which is superb from first line to last, and “Civil Dis-
obedience,” though this latter is as explosive as dynamite
caps. and should not be left around where children
might find it and play with it. Reading Walden, I am
alternately exhilarated and exasperated, as some of the
author’s contemporaries weft with the man himself. In
one paragraph he may say something that has been
waiting a thousand years to be said so well; in the next
he is capable of something so outrageous that it sets my
teeth on edge.
With the Thoreau who observed and participated
in nature, the Thoreau who loved wildness. and the
Thoreau who trusted physical labor so long as it was
not a compulsion, and who mistrusted material ambition,
I am completely in accord. It is Thoreau the moralizing
enemy of the tradition to which he owes all his
own authority who puts me off.
Like any zealot, he is intemperate. At times he
sounds perilously like his spiritual descendants of the
1960s, who trusted no one over thirty and believed that
they existed outside of, and were exempt from, the society
they were protesting. What I miss in him, as I
missed it in the more extreme rebels of the 1960s, is the
acknowledgment that their society shaped them, that
without it every individual of them would be a sort of
Sasquatch, a solitary animal without language, thought,
tradition. obligation, or commitment. It is culture, tradition,
that teaches us to be human, teaches us almost
everything, including how to protest and what to protest
I never hear Thoreau admitting this—in fact. he
often specifically denies it, and his denials raise my
temperature. “Flow about a little well-deserved humility?”
I feel like asking him. It is like arguing with a
television screen, but it eases the mind.
The fact is, it is precisely Thorcau’s repudiation of
the dead hand of the past that makes him so excruciatingly
American. He pretends to believe that all experience
is not merely fruitless, but damaging. “Men
think they are wiser by experience, that is, by failure,” he
remarks in Walden. “I have always been regretting that
I was not as wise as the day I was born.”
This passage is adapted from the article “Molecular Evolution” by Tina Homan Saey (©2009 by Society for Science 8 the Public).
Richard Lenski, an evolutionary biologist, is
among the scientists hitting the rewind button on
evolution. Meter-high letters taped to the window of his
lab spell out the lab’s motto: EVOLVE.
Inside the lab, a dozen glass flasks containing
clear liquid swirl in a temperature-controlled incubator.
Although the naked eye can’t see them, millions of
E. coli bacteria grow in the flasks, doing what the
window exhorts. Lenski started the cultures in 1988,
intending to follow the course of natural selection for
several hundred generations. Now, two decades later,
the cultures are still growing and have produced more
than 45,000 generations of bacteria each.
These 12 flasks “represent the stripped-down bare
essentials of evolution,” says Zachary Blount, a graduate
student in Lenski’s lab. The environment never
changes. No new genes enter the system from migrating
microorganisms. And the scientists take no action to
affect the course of evolution within the flasks. Only
the intrinsic, core processes of evolution influence the
outcome, Blount says.
Lenski and his colleagues have watched the gameplay
out, occasionally analyzing DNA to peer over the
players’ shoulders and find out what cards they hold.
On the surface, the populations in the 12 flasks seem to
have traveled similar paths—all now grow larger cells
and have become more efficient at using glucose than
their ancestors. And many of the strains have accumulated
mutations in the same genes. Notably, though,
none of the strains developed exactly the same genetic
Randomness is an imponant part of the evolutionary
equation, as the experiment illustrates. During the
first 2,000 generations, all of the 12 populations rapidly
increased in size and fitness. But then these changes
began to slow down, hitting the evolutionary equivalent
of a dieter’s plateau.
After 10.000 generations, it became apparent that
not all the flasks were on the same trajectory. Though
cells in all the flasks became larger, each population
differed in the maximum size the cells reached. The
populations also differed in how much fitter they were
than their ancestors, when grown in direct competition.
Several of the flasks now contain mutator strains, bacteria
that have defects in their DNA replication system.
Such defects make mistakes more likely to happen every
time those bacterial strains copy their DNA to
divide. Sometimes a mistake can have lethal consequences,
damaging a gene crucial for survival. But
other times coloring a bit outside the lines creates
opportunity for advancement.
Even within a given flask, some bacteria take
slightly different paths. One flask now contains two
separate strains—one that makes large colonies when
grown on petri dishes, and one that makes small
colonies. The large- and small-colony strains have
coexisted for more than 12,000 generations. The large-
colony producers are much better at Using glucose so
they grow quickly, but they make by-products that the
small-colony producers can eat. Both strains have
increased in fitness over the generations.
Still, though the details were different, replaying
evolution in a dozen flasks produced very similar out-
comes in each.
But then something completely unexpected happened.
After about 31,500 generations, glucose-eating
bacteria in one flask suddenly developed the ability to
eat a chemical called citrate, something no other E. coli
The switch was clearly a radical change of destination
for the bacteria. The inability to eat citrate is a biochemical
hallmark of the E. coil species, so by some
definitions, the citrate eaten in that flask are no longer
But a single change did not a citrate eater make.
The researchers found that the bacteria went through a
series of steps before evolving the ability to use citrate.
One initial mutation happened at least 11,000 generations
before the citrate eaten appeared. Lenski doesn’t
yet know which specific DNA changes led to citrate
use, but it’s clear that the ability to use citrate is contingent
upon those earlier changes. And even bacteria that
have undergone those initial changes are still not guar-
anteed to eat citrate. Blount tested 40 trillion bacteria
from earlier generations to see if any could evolve the
ability to eat citrate. Fewer than one in a trillion could.
The profound difference between the citrate eaters
and the other 11 strains, as well as the dependence of
the citrate change on earlier mutations, seems to sug-
gest that replaying evolution will result in some sur-