The Red Sock
Reading Comprehension Activity

When Mom gets sick, Jeremy decides to help around the house. He has never used the washing machine before, but how hard could it be? Students will read the passage and answer follow-up questions about character and other story elements.

Topic(s): Realistic Fiction. Skill(s): Character Traits, Fact & Opinion, Context Clues, Story Elements. Genre(s): Prose

Click for the passage & questions on one printable PDF.


One Saturday morning, Jeremy woke up to a quiet house. Usually Mom was awake making breakfast and cleaning the kitchen, but not today. Jeremy knocked on her bedroom door. “Mom?” he called.

“Don’t come in, Jeremy,” said Mom. “I have a terrible cold. I don’t want you to get sick. You can have cereal for breakfast and watch cartoons. I’m going to stay in bed.”

Jeremy poured some cereal into a bowl and ate the pieces dry. Mom must feel very bad if she was staying in bed all day. How could Jeremy help?

First, he wiped up the crumbs of cereal he left on the kitchen counter. He also put away the cereal box neatly, so the kitchen looked just like it did when he woke up.

But what else could he do?

Jeremy thought. Saturday was the day that mom did laundry. Jeremy loved to watch the clothes spinning in the machine. That should be fun! He ran to his room to get his laundry basket.

Jeremy opened the door to the washer and put all of his clothes inside. He had watched Mom do laundry lots of times, so he knew where to find the soap and how to pour it into the machine. Finally, he closed the door and pressed the big button that said “START.”

Jeremy looked through the round, glass window. Water was pouring in, and the machine was starting to spin, making his clothing tumble around. That was easy! 

Jeremy watched cartoons until he heard the washing machine beep. That meant the washing was done. Jeremy opened the door to take out the damp clothes. He took out a few at a time and moved them into the dryer. Everything seemed clean, and Jeremy felt proud.

Then he pulled out a pink t-shirt. 

Jeremy paused. He didn’t own a pink shirt. Where did it come from? He reached into the washer to take out more clothes. There were more pink shirts, and all of his underwear had turned pink! What happened?

The last thing Jeremy pulled out of the washer was a bright red sock. When he picked it up, he noticed that the sock turned his hand red. “The sock must have turned all of my white clothes pink,” Jeremy thought.

Jeremy didn’t want to bother Mom while she was sick, so he started the dryer and went back to his cartoons. He didn’t mind having pink shirts, and no one would see his underwear. When the dryer was done, he folded his clothes and put them away in drawers.

The next day, Jeremy wore one of his new pink shirts to breakfast. Mom was making eggs and bacon. “Where did you get that shirt?” she asked. “It looks nice.”

Jeremy smiled. “I made it yesterday when I did the laundry. It was an accident, but I like it.”

“I like it too,” said Mom. And they ate their breakfast.

Comprehension Questions

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