Reading Comprehension


Please read one text a week and e-mail the answers to the questions at the end to


The Fire Alarm


Jennifer's ears were "talking" to her. They were making little sounds, like little bubbles bursting. A "bubble" was bursting almost every second. It was not painful, but annoying. She knew the cause.

While she was cleaning the whiteboard after her class ended last night, the fire alarm went off. Instead of leaving the building immediately, she walked around to see what the problem was. The blaring alarm sounded like the busy signal on a phone, but 1,000 times louder. The school seemed to be empty. Then she walked by one room, and saw about seven students inside.

Just then the night supervisor came by. She told everyone to leave immediately. The students were packing their hair-care equipment into their bags. The night supervisor waited impatiently. Finally, after almost five minutes, all the students and their teacher left the building. They apologized for being so slow.

The firemen never arrived. Instead, a school police officer showed up. He walked around the area with the supervisor. It was a false alarm. The officer used his key to finally turn off the alarm.

But it was too late for Jennifer. She had listened to the loud alarm for too long. She should have known better. Even as she drove home, her ears felt strange.


Question 1: Suggest a different title for this text. Why do you think that this would make a good title?
Question 2: Identify a quote from the text that you think is very important and explain why.
Question 3: If you could interview the person who wrote this text what two questions would you want to ask? Explain why each question is important.
Question 4: Write 3-5 sentences summarizing the text.


   Word Roots & Stems

Rule: The suffix y changes a noun into an adjective, like dirty.

Fill in the blanks below, just as in the models.




(cuddle -e) + y

She's a cuddly puppy.


dirt + y

Her room is not clean - it's dirty.

















Wedding Anniversary


There are certain things that I've learned to try to be a better partner, a better spouse.

Number one: Try to think about the person 7 to 10 times more than yourself, whether it's making your bed or doing the dishes. Think about the other person first.

Second is try to think outside the box. I know that Valentine's Day comes around once a year in February, but if you give chocolate in September . . . Wow! A lot better response, and you're thinking beyond what people normally do.

And finally, if you're having problems . . . marital problems or family problems, consider getting professional help. Friends can help, but working with a professional can help you build the communication skills you need.


1. Suggest a different title for this text. Why do you think that this would make a good title?
2. Imagine that you are the teacher, what three questions would you ask your students to see if they understood this text?
3. If you could interview the person who wrote this text what two questions would you want to ask? Explain why each question is important.


Adjectives tell us about people, "Maria is a smart", places "Paris is beautiful", or things "The food is good"
What are the adjectives in the sentence(s) below?

   Directions: Identify how the adjectives is used in the sentence(s) below

  1. In marital problems or family problems, consider getting professional help.
  2. Friends can help, but working with a professional can help you build the communication skills you need.
  3. There are certain things that I have learned to try to be a better partner, a better spouse.


Rule: The suffix er adds "one who" to the meaning of a word, like driver.


   Directions: Identify the word that ends with -er in each sentence and write it on the line.

  1. There are certain things that I have learned to try to be a better partner, a better spouse.


Directions: Fill in the blanks below, just as in the models.


act + or

Denzel Washington is her favorite actor.














teach + er

My teacher gives us a lot of homework.


Pronunciation: AY

   Directions: Practice Pronouncing this sound by saying the word pairs and example sentences and words from this reading

Word Pairs free-fry, me-my, sea-sigh, be-buy, tree-try

Example sentence: I tried to dye my tie.

Examples from this reading: Finally


Canadian citizenship rules may change in 2014

• How long is long enough before you can apply for citizenship?

Permanent residents must live in Canada for at least three of the previous four years to qualify; however, Immigration Minister Chris Alexander said it’s time to consider increasing this timeframe. He didn’t give numbers, but it is said extending the timeframe to four-in-six years would be suitable. He thinks it would also be wise to require applicants to submit at least two income tax returns.

• Just because you’re born here doesn’t make you Canadian

Granting citizenship based on place of birth is “outdated” and the rules need to change to prevent the proliferation of passport babies. “It’s something we need to look at. There is clearly abuse,” Alexander said. “People who come here as birth tourists solely for the purpose of acquiring citizenship for newborns and without any intention of immigrating and living here permanently — we need to find a way of addressing that.”

• Are you getting what you pay for?

Last year just 106,353 people were conferred citizenship despite plans to grant it to as many as 214,944 people. Increased scrutiny of residency fraud, a tough new citizenship test and high citizenship judge vacancy rates could be among the contributing factors. The citizenship application backlog stood at 349,249 by the end of 2012, and the average processing time for an application was 25-35 months. The last budget recognized backlogs are a problem and committed $44 million over two years to speed up processing times. In fact, the recent budget seeks to increase the citizenship application fee to $400, twice as much as what it is now.


Adapted from:


  1. Find synonyms for the following words in the text:
  1. How long should you live in Canada now to apply for citizenship? How is this going to change? Do you agree or disagree with this change? Why/why not?
  2. Why is giving newborn babies Canadian citizenship based on their place of birth outdated?
  3. What are the three reasons for the large backlog of citizenship applicants?
  4. How much is the citizenship application fee now? Is it going to change? How much? What do you think about this probable change?

New immigration rules could cost taxpayers $21 billion


In January 2014, Citizenship and Immigration Canada will be re-opening the controversial Parent and Grandparent (PGP) immigration program to new applications. The program was put on a pause in 2011 because of a huge backlog. To clear that queue, Canada welcomed 25,000 parents and grandparents in each of 2012 and 2013. In 2014 we'll welcome an additional 20,000.

The new rules are stricter than before: only 5,000 applicants will be approved every year and sponsors will have to take on a greater burden: Specifically, Canadians sponsoring their parents will have to prove a higher income and ensure that their immigrating relative doesn't get social assistance from the government for a full 20 years.

Despite the new rules, the Fraser Institute says that getting through that backlog could still cost taxpayers between $21 billion and $40 billion. The report's author — Martin Collacott — suggests that Canada should follow Australia. In that country, those who want to sponsor a parent must pay an upfront fee of approximately C$45,000 and are expected to post a financial bond as an assurance of support.


Adapted from


1.       How many parents and grandparents were sponsored in 2012 and 1013?
2.       Why was the PGP program paused in 2011?
3.       What are the new rules for this program?
4.       How does the Australian government address this issue?
5.       What do you think about the sponsorship of parents and grandparents?



Extend Your Life

"Get eight hours of sleep every day.”  "Take an aspirin daily." How many times have you heard that advice for adding years to your life? In fact many of these are not true. Read on to see which suggestions you should ignore and what makes your life longer. 

1. Stop drinking coffee.

You've probably read that multiple cups of coffee a day can be bad for you, but research may prove the opposite. Male and female participants who had two or three cups a day and didn't smoke were 10% and 13% less likely to have died during the 14-year-long study than those who never or rarely drank coffee. According to the researchers, more cups mean a lower risk of stroke, diabetes and heart and respiratory disease. But watch the cream and sugar-extra fat and calories could be bad for you.

2. Get eight hours of sleep every night.

While research suggests sleeping fewer than six or more than nine hours a night raises your death risk, "everyone has different sleep needs," says Shelby Harris, director of Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, NY. So if you wake naturally after only six-and-a-half hours a night, forcing yourself to reach eight hours won't make your life longer. To learn how much sleep you need, try awakening without an alarm for a week. If you feel good and have enough energy most of the day, you've found your ideal amount of rest. 

3. Lower your body mass index (BMI).

According to a study weighing a little more can lengthen your life. Adults with a BMI that qualified them as overweight but not obese were 6% less likely than all others in their age groups to die. While BMI isn't always an accurate measurement of a person's health risks, registered dietitian Jen Brewer says if the extra weight comes from muscle mass, you're more likely to have lower cholesterol levels. It may also lower your risk for  heart disease, stroke and diabetes. And that's good for staying alive. 

4. Don't worry, be happy.

Actually, being a glass-half-empty kind of person may keep you living longer. In a study published in Psychology and Aging, 65- to 96-year-olds who thought life would get worse lived longer than those who looked forward to better days ahead. "Our findings revealed that being overly optimistic meant a greater risk of disability and death within the following decade," says lead author Frieder R. Lang. "Pessimism about the future may encourage people to be more careful in their lives." 

5. Take a daily aspirin.

Popping that pill can help you live longer by preventing heart attacks, strokes and even cancer - right? "If you're a healthy, 45-year-old female, it may not make a difference," says Nieca Goldberg, MD. In fact, taking a daily aspirin can lead to bleeding, allergies and upset stomach. Ask your doctor if you can skip the pill. 

6. Drink 8 glasses of water a day.

Once believed to be the amount everyone needs for proper hydration, a 2002 study proved this rule to be wrong. As Dr. Goldberg explains, "there's no magic number of glasses," emphasizing it's more about getting fluids, not necessarily from water. Herbal tea and juices are hydration helpers, but fruits and vegetables are an even healthier way to get your liquids. 

7. Milk does the body good.

You're taught that drinking milk keeps bones healthy and prevents fatal injuries. Yet a 12-year-long Harvard study found that women who drink milk three times a day break more bones than women who drink less than one glass of milk per week. While low fat dairy may agree with you, calcium is what's key for strong bones. You can get it from leafy greens, beans, vitamin D and even lifting weights. 

8. Take a multivitamin.

Even though half of all adults pop one, a study found that women taking multivitamins don't live longer than those who get their nutrients from food alone. Only calcium supplements are linked to a lower death risk. Researchers' conclusion: Get the vitamins and minerals from fruit and vegetables, not capsules. 


Adapted from


  1. Find words from the text that have the same meaning as the following words:
A.      Many
B.      Danger
C.      Recommend
D.      Research
E.       Too fat
F.       Appropriate
G.     Powerful
  1. Do you agree or disagree with this article? Why?



10 things that parents should never say to their children


I’m not a parent myself, but I’ve observed what many parents say to their children, which can negatively impact them—sometimes for life.

From a child and a student’s perspective, here are 10 things that parents should never say:

1. “You’re useless” or “You’re a failure”

It’s shocking how many parents say this to their children in a fit of anger. This is the type of phrase that can scar children deeply, and can make them doubt their worth as a human being.

2. “I know what’s best for you”

As a parent, you might feel like you really do know what’s best for your children, but using this phrase is not at all effective in convincing them that you're right. Instead, parents should do all they can to empower their children to take full responsibility for their choices and their life.

3. “Because I said so!”

Parents need to establish boundaries for their children, but “Because I said so” isn’t enough reason for children to be convinced that staying within those boundaries is a good idea.

4. “I told you so”

It’s tempting for parents to say this when it turns out that their advice that their children had ignored was, in fact, correct. Saying “I told you so” is sure to annoy your children and to cause strain in the relationship.

5. “So clever!”

Here are some instances where parents might exclaim “So clever!”:

·         A two-year-old keeps his or her toys after playing with them

·         A three-year-old says “Thank you” after receiving a present

·         A 12-year-old decides to learn about Einstein’s theory of relativity

Parents have subconsciously come to associate responsibility, politeness and curiosity with “cleverness”. When they do this, however, they begin to tell their children that intelligence is all-important; when in fact integrity and morals are even more important.

Parents should emphasize character and values, while not neglecting the worth of hard work and a love for learning. When parents praise their child, they should be specific. For example, they could say "That was kind of you to help that lady carry her groceries" or "That was generous of you to share your toys with your friend".

6. “Why can’t you be more like…”

It’s natural for parents to draw comparisons to other children, but doing so can cause psychological damage to their own children. Parents ought to focus on what makes their children unique, and encourage them to be the best version of themselves that they can be, instead of merely trying to be better than others.

7. “I wish you weren’t my son/daughter”

Some parents say this when they’re feeling especially frustrated or upset with their children. I’ve spoken to students whose parents had said this to them more than 10 years earlier, but they still hated parents for making such a hurtful statement.

8. “You’re such a terrible boy/girl!”

Children have a strange way of becoming the kind of person that their parents imagine them to be. When a child misbehaves, parents could say something like this instead: “This is so unlike you. You’re usually such a considerate and responsible boy. You’ll still be punished for misbehaving, but this is really not like you at all to do something so naughty.”

9. “You always…” or “You never…”

When trying to correct their child’s behaviour, it’s much more effective for parents to point out specific instances or examples, rather than tell their child that “You always forget to do your chores” or “You never keep your promises”.

10. “Don’t argue with me”

When parents say this during a disagreement, they cause their child to feel even angrier and less willing to obey or compromise. Parents should reason with their child and explain their perspective calmly. It’s crucial that parents don’t lose their cool!

In closing…

As a parent, you have the ability to influence your children’s future and destiny. What a noble yet daunting responsibility!


Adapted from


1.       Find synonyms for the following words in the text:
set up
give power to
behave badly
2.      Do you agree or disagree with the author? Why?





2012 Year in Review: Top Canadian food searches




Canada is a country of many achievements, but the presence of a well-defined national cuisine has not traditionally been of those things. So while we certainly prepare the food of other cultures brilliantly, it's hard to think of a list of internationally known Canadian foods that extends beyond bacon, poutine, maple syrup and beer.

For Canadians with a meal on the mind, bacon topped the 2012 charts. Coming in at a close second, poutine was the country's greatest contribution to the world of comfort food. Our incredible maple syrup came to third place. In fourth spot, Yorkshire Pudding showed it can stick to a top five as effectively as it sticks to your digestive tract. Bannock, a variety of flatbread imported from the Isles, rounded off the most searched Canadian foods list.

Smoked meat, Kraft Dinner, butter tarts, sucre a la crème and sugar pie behaved like the perfectly sequenced meal-followed-by-dessert to complete the top 10.

Over in beers, Molson made it the top searched brew this year. Guinness, came next, followed by Budweiser, Coors and Labatt. Other Canadian beers to hit the top five were Big Rock, Muskoka and Creemore, indicating that we've become serious contenders in the international brew wars.

Though our search habits may steer toward the national, the Canadian Press reveals that Canadians are embracing ethnic foods more than ever. A recent report by the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers claims that within a decade the presence of ethnic foods on our grocery shelves "continues to explode."

On a less positive note, so does our salt and sugar intake — a tendency that is unfortunately highlighted by the foods we so dearly love.


Adapted from 


1. What are the first three most searched Canadian foods?  
2. Which Canadian beer is the most popular?
3. What does the last paragraph say about Canadians’ sugar and salt intake?
4. What Canadian foods or drinks have you tried? What do you think about them?
5. Do you prefer to have food from your own culture, Canadian food, or other kinds of food? Why?



Toronto International Film Festival


A lot of superlatives are being tossed around ahead of this year's Toronto International Film Festival — Most World Premieres! Most Countries Ever! Record Number of Female Directors!

All great achievements, to be sure. But the star power expected to light up the city as the 11-day eventis bound to quickly move conversations back to the more usual distinctions — Hottest Lead Actors, Sure-fire Oscar Contender, Audience Favourite.

Attendees expected to showcase new projects at the festival include Ben Affleck, Ryan Gosling, Robert Redford, Johnny Depp, Susan Sarandon, Joaquin Phoenix, Keira Knightley, Tom Hanks, Kristen Stewart and Gwyneth Paltrow. The celebrity guest list goes on and on.

This year 72 countries are represented at the fest (up from 65 last year) and 25 per cent of this year's slate is directed by women.

The female presence is especially noteworthy given the the fact that the last Cannes Film Festival back in May failed to include any women. Toronto's slate includes 91 female directors, six of them with prestigious gala slots.

Ben Affleck returns to the director's chair for his political thriller "Argo," in which he also stars alongside John Goodman and Alan Arkin. It's about a CIA agent who tries to rescue six U.S. citizens held hostage in Iran by pretending they are a Canadian film crew.

Tom Hanks hits the red carpet with his film "Cloud Atlas," a massive mash-up of six stories and time periods stretching from the 19th century to a distant future. Its celeb cast includes Sarandon, Halle Berry, and Hugh Grant.

TIFF's crowd-pleasers will include the opening film, "Looper." It is about a hitman who is assigned to kill his future self, played by Bruce Willis.

Canadians hoping to make a splash include new filmmaker Brandon Cronenberg, son of David Cronenberg. His debut film "Antiviral" is a look at celebrity worship.

The Toronto International Film Festival runs from Sept. 6 to 16.


Adapted from


1. What is the title of Ben Affleck’s movie, and what is it about?
2. Is this Affleck’s first movie as a director? How do you know?
3. Who has made Cloud Atlas?
4. What is so special about women at this year’s TIFF?
5. Name a Canadian filmmaker in this article, and say something about him.
6. How long is the festival?
7. Use some superlative adjectives for the festival this year.



The happiest countries in the world


The OECD report on life satisfaction in the developed world measured more than 30 sets of data in 11 different categories, including education, health and employment.


For the second year in a row, 24/7 Wall St. examined the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s report on life satisfaction in the developed world. Economic prosperity, health and a strong social support network continue to correspond highly with happiness.

Economic prosperity appears to be one of the strongest factors that relates to overall life satisfaction. Of the 10 countries with the highest levels of happiness, nine have personal incomes that are higher than the OECD average. Eight of them have among the highest disposable incomes among developed nations.

In addition, the overall regional economies of these 10 nations appear to be doing exceptionally well. Government debt as a percentage of gross domestic product in these countries is either among the smallest in the developed world, or these nations are actually running a surplus. Norway, which has the second-highest satisfaction score, has a government surplus of 162.5% of its GDP.

Employment is one of the most obvious causes of satisfaction. Of the 10 countries with the highest job satisfaction rates, nine are among the 15 with the lowest long-term unemployment rates — the percentage of the population that has been unemployed for more than a year.  

After economic stability, physical and social well-being are the largest determinants for happiness. When it comes to self-reported health, eight of the 10 countries have a higher rate of citizens reporting good health than the OECD average of 70%. All but one have a higher life expectancy than the OECD average of 79.8 years.

Not surprisingly, having enough leisure time affects a person’s mental health and strongly impacts happiness. According to the report, while data is incomplete, the majority of the countries with a strong sense of well-being have more leisure time each day than the OECD average of 14.76 hours (this includes sleep). The citizens of Denmark, the happiest country, have the most leisure time available per day, at 16.06 hours.

The U.S. ranks 11th in life satisfaction, just missing the top 10. This suggests that while some of these categories may impact happiness, they do not guarantee it. Despite its above-average score, the U.S. has the highest rate of disposable income in the OECD and an extremely high rate of self-reported good health.

These are the happiest countries in the world.

1. Denmark
> Life satisfaction score: 7.8
> Employment rate: 73% (6th highest)
> Self-reported good health: 71% (17th highest)
> Employees working long hours: 1.92% (4th lowest)
> Disposable income: $23,213 (15th lowest)
> Educational attainment: 76% (18th lowest)
> Life expectancy: 79.3 (11th lowest)

2. Norway
> Life satisfaction score: 7.6
> Employment rate: 75% (4th highest)
> Self-reported good health: 80% (8th highest)
> Employees working long hours: 2.66% (5th lowest)
> Disposable income: $30,465 (3rd highest)
> Educational attainment: 81% (tied - 15th highest)
> Life expectancy:81.2 (10th highest)

3. Netherlands
> Life satisfaction score: 7.5
> Employment rate: 75% (tied - 3rd highest)
> Self-reported good health: 77% (11th highest)
> Employees working long hours: 0.68% (2nd lowest)
> Disposable income: $25,740 (13th highest)
> Educational attainment: 73% (15th lowest)
> Life expectancy: 80.8 (14th highest)

4. Switzerland
> Life satisfaction score: 7.5 
> Employment rate: 79% (1st highest)
> Self-reported good health: 87% (4th highest)
> Employees working long hours: 5.87% (17th highest)
> Disposable income: $27,756 (5th most)
> Educational attainment: 87% (8th highest)
> Life expectancy: 82.6 (2nd highest)

5. Austria
> Life satisfaction score: 7.5 
> Employment rate: 72% (8th highest)
> Self-reported good health: 69% (17th lowest)
> Employees working long hours: 9.02% (10th highest)
> Disposable income: $27,541 (7th highest)
> Educational attainment: 82% (tied - 12th highest)
> Life expectancy: 80.7 (22nd lowest)

6. Israel
> Life satisfaction score: 7.4 
> Employment rate: 60% (11th lowest)
> Self-reported good health: 81% (7th highest)
> Employees working long hours: 18.92% (3rd lowest)
> Disposable income: n/a
> Educational attainment: 82% (tied - 12th highest)
> Life expectancy: 81.7 years (6th highest)

7. Finland
> Life satisfaction score: 7.4 
> Employment rate: 68% (14th highest)
> Self-reported good health: 68% (15th lowest)
> Employees working long hours: 3.66% (8th lowest)
> Disposable income: $24,958 (14th highest)
> Educational attainment: 82% (tied - 12th highest)
> Life expectancy: 80.2 years (16th lowest)

8. Australia
> Life satisfaction score: 7.4 
> Employment rate: 72% (9th highest)
> Self-reported good health: 85% (5th highest)
> Employees working long hours:13.99% (4th highest)
> Disposable income: $26,927 (9th highest)
> Educational attainment: 71% (tied - 12th lowest)
> Life expectancy: 81.8 years (5th highest)

9. Canada
> Life satisfaction score: 7.4
> Employment rate: 72% (7th highest)
> Self-reported good health: 88% (3rd highest)
> Employees working long hours: 3.91% (11th lowest)
> Disposable income: $27,138 (8th highest)
> Educational attainment: 88% (5th highest)
> Life expectancy: 80.8 years (13th highest)

Canada’s score of 7.4 has much to do with the success of its health care system, a socialized plan that provides coverage to all of its citizens. As many as 88% of Canadians report their health to be “good” or “very good,” which ranks third among all nations surveyed. Canada also ranks among the top 15 nations in life expectancy. Other factors that may be contributing to Canadians’ high life satisfaction level are education and employment levels. Some 88% of Canadians have at least a high school diploma — the fifth-highest rate among the nations the OECD reviewed. Also, 72% of working-age citizens are employed — the seventh-highest rate. By comparison, Italy — one of the poorer-performing countries in these categories — has a working-age employment rate of 57%, and only 54% of its population has at least a high school diploma.

10. Sweden
> Life satisfaction score: 7.3 
> Employment rate: 73% (5th highest)
> Self-reported good health: 79% (9th highest)
> Employees working long hours: 1.28% (3rd lowest)
> Disposable income: $26,633 (11th highest)
> Educational attainment: 86% (9th highest)
> Life expectancy: 81.5 years (7th highest)


Adapted from

1.  What are the factors relating to overall life satisfaction?
2.  Is the US among the top ten?
3.  What does OECD stand for?
4.  Which organization did this survey?
5.  Why is Canada among the top ten?



5 reasons you should never purchase an extended warranty


It goes without saying that you want to get as much value as possible out of every purchase you make. A common myth amongst consumers is that one way to get more value is to buy an extended warranty on major purchases, such as laptop computers, refrigerators, or other electronic devices and large appliances.

Personally, I cannot think of one instance where purchasing an extended warranty is a good idea. There are simply too many downsides to make them worth the money.

Here are five of the main reasons why it doesn't make sense for you to purchase an extended warranty for your items:

1. The Manufacturer's Warranty Is Often Sufficient

Just about all products on the market today come with a standard manufacturer's warranty, which typically covers your purchase for one year. The majority of minor malfunctions occur within this first year, while major problems are more apt to occur much later, beyond the reach of an extended warranty's term.

2. Extended Warranties Are Not Always Effective

You may think that an extended warranty will cover anything that goes wrong with your purchase, but sometimes this is not true. Extended warranties typically have exclusions and fine print. If you still want to purchase one for peace of mind, be ure to read the terms and conditions first to make sure it offers adequate protection.

3. Consumer Products Depreciate in Value

Suppose you purchase a Blu-ray DVD player for $100, and acquire a two-year extended warranty for an additional $30. Chances are, within the next couple of years, the price of Blu-ray players will drop significantly. In other words, you're probably better off keeping the $30 in your pocket and just getting a new one should something happen to yours.

4. The Necessity of Repairs Is Rare

Consumer Reports has done studies on repair rates for a variety of small electronics and home appliances, and the percentages range from 5 to 37 percent, which generally indicates that you're unlikely to need a repair. Considering this, it often makes more sense to save the money on an extended warranty and put it toward a repair instead, on the off-chance you'll need one.

5. Warranties Are Not Cost-Effective

Another reason not to take the bait on extended warranties is that they are simply too expensive. For instance, I recently purchased a 2009 Toyota Corolla. The salesperson was pushing hard for the extended car warranty, which would offer bumper-to-bumper coverage for the first 12 months, at a cost of $1,800. I seriously doubt that I am going to need $1,800 worth of repairs in the next year for a car that is barely two years old.

Furthermore, as previously stated, the extended warranty often overlaps the manufacturer's protection. You may purchase a two-year extended warranty, but with the manufacturer's protection covering the first year, you end up paying a two-year rate for only one additional year of coverage.


Final Thoughts

If you're considering an extended warranty, determine whether or not you can afford to pay for a major repair or replacement out-of-pocket. If the answer is yes, and especially if you don't rely on the device for income, avoiding the extended warranty is probably your best bet. But if you're the type that will sleep easier with the additional peace of mind an extended warranty affords, purchasing one could be worth the price. However, remember that such warranties may not be as comprehensive as you think. Fully investigate all aspects of the warranty coverage before making your final decision.


Adapted from:



1. What are your thoughts on extended warranties? Do you agree or disagree with this article?
2. Have you ever bought an extended warranty on any of your purchases? What was it? Why did you buy one?
3. Are extended warranties offered in your native country? If yes, what are the differences and similarities?




Top five regrets of the dying


A nurse has recorded the most common regrets of the dying, and among the top ones is 'I wish I hadn't worked so hard'. What would your biggest regret be if this was your last day of life?


There was no mention of more sex or bungee jumps. A nurse who has counselled the dying in their last days has revealed the most common regrets we have at the end of our lives. And among the top, from men in particular, is 'I wish I hadn't worked so hard'.

Bronnie Ware is an Australian nurse who spent several years working in palliative care, caring for patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives. She recorded their dying epiphanies in a blog called Inspiration and Chai, which gathered so much attention that she put her observations into a book called The Top Five Regrets of the Dying.

Ware writes of the phenomenal clarity of vision that people gain at the end of their lives, and how we might learn from their wisdom. "When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently," she says, "common themes surfaced again and again."

Here are the top five regrets of the dying, as witnessed by Ware:


1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

"This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it."


2. I wish I hadn't worked so hard.

"This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children's youth and their partner's companionship. Women also spoke of this regret, but as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence."


3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.

"Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result."


4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

"Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying."


5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

"This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called 'comfort' of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again."

What's your greatest regret so far, and what will you set out to achieve or change before you die?



Adapted from:



Are dollar stores really a bargain?



It cots just a dollar. Even families with incomes that allow them to shop at the best stores are opting to cruise the aisles of the local dollar store. Dollar stores are a bargain hunters dream. Or are they? In their lust to grab a deal, many shoppers fail to realize dollar stores aren't always the bargain they seem. In fact, some big-box retailers can actually be a better buy both in quality and in price.

Is It Really $1?

There are a lot of really great deals to be found at dollar stores, but you have to search for them. If you look, you'll discover that not all dollar stores are equal. There are some where every item is truly $1 or less, and there are other dollar store retailers where items can be as high as $10. To get the best deals at any dollar store you should determine the items you are shopping for and plan accordingly -- make a list, scour the ads in the paper and call to see if they accept coupons.


Here are a few of the best buys to be found at dollar stores:

Disposable Items

Paper plates, napkins, party decorations and greeting cards can be found at significant savings. Dollar stores have an abundance of these items in many themes and they are $1 or less. If you're buying items for a child's birthday party, graduation party or any other "get-together" where you need paper products, the dollar store is going to have your best value.

Seasonal Items

These are another great deal. If you need holiday cards, decorations or ornaments, particularly for a school or office party, shop here. They have a good assortment of traditional holiday items for most major holidays. Don't, however, expect them to hold up over one or two seasons, and don't expect to find anything unique. The seasonal items for sale here will be very traditional (think pumpkins, Santa and the Easter Bunny).

Kitchen Ware

One of the best bargains that you truly do get great value for at the dollar stores are kitchen items. Rubber spatulas, serving tongs, glassware and most kitchen gadgets can be purchased here for 50 to 90% less than at Walmart or Target. Whether you are buying supplies for a dorm, your first apartment or replacing those that are worn out, the dollar store is the place to get them at a great price and at a decent quality.


Children's books are a great buy at dollar stores. You can buy an assortment of easy readers, coloring books and activity books for 50 cents to $1 each. Sometimes they will even bundle them so you can get several for $1. They also occasionally have young adult books and novels, though the selection isn't always great.

Other Items

Other bargains are paintbrushes and paint trays, masking tape, duct tape and surprisingly, garden seeds. Unless it's a special paintbrush, many of us throw them away after one use. It's far better to throw away a paint brush that cost $1 than a $5.99 paintbrush from a large retailer.

If you look, you can also find great deals on plastic storage tubs, but you do have to look. Many times these items are cheaper when they are on sale at Walmart, and you must carefully look at the quality of the plastic. Some storage tubs from the dollar store simply don't hold up to even moderate use.

Changing Shopping Habits 

There's no doubt there are bargains to be found at dollar stores. The customer base is changing as well. Originally, dollar stores tended to serve lower-income customers, but with the stagnant economy upper-income and even affluent customers are now shopping there.

It's Cheaper at the Big-Box Stores

While all of these are great incentives to step inside a dollar store, the bottom line that will bring consumers back is price. Often, better deals can be found at larger retailers, particularly when they have sales and when they accept coupons. That's when prices can then be significantly better than a dollar store.

Cheaper is not always better and you will actually save money by spending a bit more. Purchasing quality clothing, brand name food products, batteries, electronics and toys will save you both in dollars and in safety.

Buyer Beware

Consumer Reports warn against purchasing medications and vitamins at dollar stores, citing these items might not contain the same ingredients as the name-brands. Sometimes they are out of date, and they often don't list the country where it was manufactured. This can be a concern, as some countries do not adhere to the food and pharmaceutical regulations of Canada.

They also recommend that you don't purchase electrical cords at dollar stores. Do not purchase toys, particularly those for infants as many toys on dollar store shelves contain lead and other ingredients that could be harmful.

Toothpaste is another item that you should purchase at a larger retailer with name brand products. Food is another item you should consider carefully before purchasing. Many food items found on dollar store shelves are from "unregulated" countries, meaning they may not be of the same quality as name brand products.

The Bottom Line

Dollar stores are a great place to save some serious money, but you must be an astute shopper. As the old adage says: "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is." Comparison shop for not only price, but quality. Paying a few more dollars for a premium product that will give you years of use will save you more money than a cheaper item that won't be around very long. If you have any doubts about a product, don't purchase it. That advice should be used in every store you shop.


Adapted from

1.       Name some items that you should not buy at dollar stores. Why?
2.      Are all the items at a dollar store priced $1?
3.      Do only low income families shop at dollar stores?
4.      Do you usually shop at dollar stores? Why or why not?
5.       List ten new words or expressions that you learned in this text.