Flowers of Algernon
Reading Comprehension Exercise

Directions: Choose the letter of the best response to each of the following statements.

  1. Why is Charlie Gordon picked for the operation?
    a. because Charlie trusts and respects Prof. Nemur
    b. because Charlie is motivated to learn
    c. because Charlie will not tell anyone else about the experiment

  2. Why does Charlie want the operation?
    a. because he thinks that if he were smart, people would not make fun of him
    b. because he thinks that if he were smart, Alice Kinnian would like him
    c. because he thinks that if he were smart, he would have more friends

  3. Immediately after the operation, Charlie is disappointed because
    a. he cannot visit his family
    b. he does not feel any smarter
    c. Alice does not come to visit him

  4. One reason Algernon wins the maze races is that
    a. Charlie lets him win
    b. Algernon is smarter because of the operation
    c. Dr. Nemur makes Charlie nervous when he watches Charlie take the tests

  5. Nemur wants to keep the operation a secret because he
    a. is afraid that it won’t work and people will laugh at him
    b. knows that what he is doing is unethical
    c. wants to protect Charlie from reporters.

  6. Why does Dr. Nemur bring Charlie a television?
    a. to keep him from worrying about his problems
    b. to teach him and help him remember more
    c. to change the way his brain works

  7. Charlie goes to therapy sessions because he
    a. worries that he is crazy
    b. thinks therapy will make him smarter
    c. begins to dream and remember.

  8. Charlie's determination is revealed by his
    a. desire to read and write
    b. determination to win the maze race
    c. promotion at his bakery job

  9. Charlie's "friends" at the bakery show they are really no friends at all by
    a. getting him in trouble with his boss
    b. telling him that the operation didn't work
    c. getting Charlie drunk as a joke

  10. After Charlie beats Algernon at the maze race,
    a. Dr. Strauss believes that the operation was a success
    b. Charlie becomes friends with Algernon
    c. Alice Kinnian falls in love with Charlie

An exercise to go with,
Teaching the Short Story, "Flowers for Algernon," to College-Level ESL Students
by Loretta Kasper