Reading Comprehension Quiz

[A new interlinear poem will be available each Monday: Weekly Interlinear Poem .]

Use the dictionary, the acronym finder, and the word origins dictionary (links above) as needed. A new quiz is available each Monday through Thursday. This is the quiz for July 21.

Under Tom Watson, Jr., IBM put its logo on 70% of the world's computers. While newcomers such as Compaq and Microsoft brought the company to its knees in the 1980s, the colossus that Watson inherited from his father and reinvented in the 1950s and '60s stands strong again today, the sixth largest U.S. company. Not a bad legacy for someone who spent his youth "convinced that I had something missing" inside. A perpetually failing student, "Terrible Tommy" Watson vented his frustration by pulling pranks and tangling with authority. He needed six years and three schools to get through high school, and he managed to graduate from Brown University only through the forbearance of a sympathetic dean. The young playboy rated the pleasures of drinking and dancing far above those of learning.

Back from World War II, Tom Jr. saw IBM afresh and quickly realized that its future lay in computers, not a 19th century information technology like tabulators. Even the first primitive vacuum-tube machines could calculate 10 times as fast as IBM's tabulators. Many people, however, including Watson's father, couldn't believe the company's core products were headed for extinction. Nonetheless, Tom Jr., who became IBM president in 1952, never retreated. He recruited electronics experts and brought in luminaries such as computer pioneer John von Neumann to teach the company's engineers and scientists. By 1963, IBM had grabbed an 8-to-1 lead in revenues over Sperry Rand, the manufacturer of Univac.

1. Before Tom, Jr., IBM made
A. business machines such as tabulators.
B. computers.
C. Univac.
D. vacuum-tube machines.
2. Growing up, Tom, Jr., was
A. a reliable student.
B. at the top of his class.
C. preparing himself to join IBM.
D. a poor student.
3. Tom, Jr., was
A. a traditionalist.
B. tuned to the future.
C. reliant on his father's vision.
D. plodding.
4. A colossus is
A. a giant of fable.
B. something awesomely large and powerful.
C. a marble monument.
D. a large company.

The information comes from an article by John Greenwald at Time Magazine Most Important People of the Century.

Write down your answers and then see Answer Key below.

Answer Key: 1-A..........2-D..........3-B..........4-B
Corrections? Questions? Comments? E-mail Robert Jackson at