Emily and the Sunrise
Reading Comprehension Activity

Author: RV Staff Writer J.C.

This descriptive passage paints a scene of a young daughter and father getting up early one morning to watch the sunrise together. Students will read the passage and answer questions on the figurative language and imagery in the story.

Topic(s): Realistic Fiction. Skill(s): Summary, Figurative Language. Genre(s): Prose

Click for the passage & questions on one printable PDF.


“C’mon, Sweetie. Time to get up.” James nudged his sleeping daughter, tangled in her floral blanket, her worn stuffed bunny still under one arm. She sighed and sat up with bleary eyes. Her hair stood out in all directions as if she’d been rubbing balloons on it.

“It’s too early, Dad,” she mumbled, rubbing her face.

“You said you didn’t want to miss it this time.” Her father smiled gently. “You made me promise to wake you up.”

“Oh, right!” Emily remembered. She wiped the sleep from her eyes. Her father kissed the top of her head and helped her climb out of bed. It was still dark out, and the air was a little chilly. Emily shivered.  

“You can bring your blanket with you. You’ll stay cozy in the car that way,” James said. “Let’s go.” Emily grabbed her bunny by its long ears and trailed her father down the stairs and out to the car. Her father buckled her into her car seat and then tucked her blanket and bunny around her. He got into the driver’s seat and they drove through the empty streets in amicable silence.

Five minutes later they arrived at the park. In the winter, it had a perfect hill for sledding, but this time of year it was also a great spot to catch the morning sunrise. Tucking the blanket under his arm, James took his daughter by the hand. Together they walked up the embankment. The grass was still wet and glistening with the morning dew. Early birds were trilling their morning hymns from hidden perches, waking up the neighbors still asleep in their beds.

It was time.

James spread out the pretty blanket on the uneven ground, and they sat, father and daughter, two quiet figures outlined against the sky. As they watched, the world around them began to lighten. Slowly, along the horizon, a faint crack of light glowed like a dark curtain being raised from the stage, hinting at the show about to begin.

A watery yellow seeped into the gray sky, washing the gloom away like the sweep of a paintbrush, and adding a wash of new color with every stroke. A blaze of orange warmed a corner of the canvas as the sun made its slow, noble climb. A crown of fire wreathed the head of the sky’s true queen as she ascended to her rightful place and took her throne.

The flowers dipped their heads in modest curtsy like ladies-in-waiting, then gracefully stretched their petals outward in worship. As the sun kissed the earth with blissful warmth, the change in temperature gave Emily goosebumps along her arms, and she shivered with prickles of happiness. Humans, birds, and animals alike all turned their faces upward to feel the golden embrace bestowed upon them and sighed with satisfaction.

As the last vestiges of night faded away, the sky banished the shadows, welcoming cheerful white clouds to socialize together in an optimistic blue heaven. The sunrise had granted them a new day full of love and hope and promise.  

Emily turned to her father. “Thanks for bringing me, Daddy.”

“You’re welcome, Emily. Now let’s get our day going with some breakfast.”

Comprehension Questions

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