As a reader, it is important to not only understand the passage you are reading, but also to relate the content to other passages and ideas. Certain reading passages on the ACT Reading Test will include multiple passages that you will be expected to compare and contrast. You may be asked to compare the points of views of the different authors, as well as be able to recognize the common themes and central differences between the passages.
The following is an example passage from the ACT Reading Test, followed by a Text Connections question.
Text Connections questions require an understanding of both passages, as well as how they relate to one another. This question asks you to compare the tones of each passage. Based on the answer choices, we can see that it is important to understand the general tone of each passage, as well as how the tone changes throughout each passage.
In the first paragraph of the first passage, the narrator describes her memories of the evening of the moon landing with nostalgia and a sense of childlike innocence.
In the second paragraph, the narrator sounds amazed as she thinks about the events that are about to happen.
In the third paragraph, the narrator clanks her fork on her plate, annoying the people around her and seeming to bring things back to reality.
In the final paragraph of Passage A, the tone changes to introspective as the narrator considers why she clanked her fork. At the end of the paragraph, as she considers Armstrong, she wonders why anyone would want to be a man on the moon, since she considers it to be very lonely.
The tone of passage A seems to start out as nostalgic and enchanted, but abruptly changes to something more reflective and possibly cynical at the beginning of the third paragraph.
Now we must carefully read Passage B to determine its tone and how or if it changes throughout the passage.
The tone of the first paragraph of Passage B is one of excitement and awe, as indicated by words such as “incredible” and the author’s capitalization of the word “MOON” to indicate emphasis.
In the second paragraph, the narrator “naively” expects that Neil Armstrong will appear immediately upon the moon landing, but in reality logistical things had to be dealt with first. The tone becomes impatient and disenchanted as the narrator waits for Armstrong to appear, and turns cynical and disappointed when they hear the “bungled and stagy official First Words.”
The tone of the final paragraph of Passage B starts off as excited as the narrator imagines the potential of a future in space. However, the second half of the paragraph turns cynical as the narrator laments that this optimistic view of her younger self never came to fruition, that space adventure ended as soon as it began.
The tone of Passage B starts out as optimistic and excited, but soon turns cynical and disappointed as the passage goes on. This is similar in many ways to Passage A, which starts out nostalgic and carefree but ends cynically and based in reality. Therefore, the answer choice that fits best is C, since both passages start with some sense of wonder, and end with a sense of disenchantment.