A few years ago a French company had an unusual contest - a "biggest brat" contest. The company had a prize for the child whose behaviour was the worst in the world. Over 2,000 parents entered their children in the contest."Our child is the world’s biggest brat!" they wrote. The parents made lists of all the bad things their children had done. Judges read the lists and chose the winner. She was a little girl from the United States. Her name was Lizzie, and she was four years old. Here are a few of the things Lizzie did to win the title "The World’s Biggest Brat":
- She put a garden hose into the gas tank of her father's car. Then she turned on the water.
- She painted a leather sofa with spray paint.
- She threw her mother’s wedding ring into the toilet. Then she flushed the toilet.
- She put an ice-cream sandwich into the VCR.
- She set the table for dinner. Then she glued the silverware to the table. Imagine her parents’ surprise when they sat down to eat and tried to pick up their forks!
Lizzie may be the world’s biggest brat, but she is certainly not the world’s only
brat. Alo is a five year-old boy from Bangladesh. One afternoon, while his father was
asleep on the sofa, Alo cut off his father’s mustache. A few days later, he cut off his
brother’s eyebrows when his brother was sleeping in the bedroom. A few weeks after that,
he cut off most of his mother’s hair when she was asleep at night. Alo’s family now
keeps every pair of scissors under lock and always sleeps behind locked doors.
The behaviour of a Mexican boy named Manuel is perhaps even worse than Lizzie’s and Alo’s because it is more dangerous. Manuel likes to play with matches near the kitchen stove. He took the matches, sneaked into his parents’ bedroom, and set the fire to the curtains Fortunately, Manuel’s mother walked into the bedroom, just in time. She pulled down the curtains and put out the fire before it spread.
Hiroshi, a young Japanese man, says that he rarely misbehaved when he was a young child but turned into a real brat when he was about thirteen."My friends and I used to sneak around at night and let the air out of tires. We were terrible, "he says."Our parents tried to control us, but they didn’t have much success. We drove them crazy."
No mother or father wants to be a parent of a brat. Parents everywhere try to control their children’s behaviour. Some parents spank their children when they misbehave. Other parents won’t let their children watch TV or eat dessert. In Japan, parents often send their children outside when they misbehave and tell them they can’t come into the house. In the United States, parents do just the opposite: They send their children to their bedrooms and tell them they can’t go outside.
Lizzie’s parents don’t know what to do about Lizzie. Her mother says, "I keep telling myself that Lizzie is going through a stage, but sometimes I don’t know...It seems like she’s always getting into trouble."Lizzie’s father says, "One day we’ll look back on all this and laugh."
What does Lizzie think about her behaviour? Lizzie doesn’t like to talk about it. When a reporter asked Lizzie if she was "a bad girl, Lizzie kicked his leg. Then she yelled, "I’m not a brat! I’m an angel! Get out of my house!"
LOOKING AT THE STORY
Write the correct word on the line.
|hose prize||sneaked curtains||kicked silverware||glued misbehaves||scissors rarely||leather fortunately|
1. The French toy company gave Lizzie’s family a
______________. They got money and some toys because Lizzie was the winner of the contest.
2. Lizzie doesn’t do what her parents tell her to do. She __________________.
3. The sofa that Lizzie painted was very expensive; it was made of ________________.
4. People usually use a _________________ to water their gardens, but Lizzie used it to put water in the gas tank of her father’s car.
5. When Lizzie’s family sat down to eat, they couldn’t pick up their knives, forks, and spoon because Lizzie had ______________ the ______________ to the table.
6. Alo used a pair of _______________ to cut his family’s hair while they were sleeping.
7. When no one was looking, Manuel took some matches. Then, walking quietly, he ___________ into his parents’ bedroom.
8. In the bedroom Manuel set fire to the _________________ on the window.
9. Manuel’s mother was lucky. When Manuel set fire on the curtains, she walked into the bedroom at that moment and put out the fire before it spread.
10. Did Hiroshi misbehave as a young child? “Not often,” he says. “When I was young, I ______________ misbehave.”
11. When a reporter asked Lizzie if she was a “ bad girl”, Lizzie hit him with her foot. She _____________
LOOKING AT A NEW CONTEXT
1. Complete the sentences to show that you understand the meaning of the new words. In small groups, take turns reading your sentences aloud. Ask your classmates questions about their sentences.
1. A child I know who often misbehaves is_____________________________________________.
2. Sometimes I rarely do is__________________________________________________________.
3. I feel fortunate because__________________________________________________________.
4. I would like to give my_____________________________ a prize for_____________________.
2. Comprehension/reading skills
UNDERSTANDING THE MAIN IDEAS
What information is not in the story? Draw a line through the information.
1. The winner of the “biggest brat” contest
a. was named Lizzie.
b. was four years old.
c. was from the United States.
d. had blond hair.
a. filled the gas tank of her father’s car with water.
b. drew pictures on the living room wall.
c. painted a leather sofa with spray paint.
d. flushed her mother’s wedding ring sown the toilet.
3. Some other brats are
a. Alo, who cut off his family’s hair.
b. Marie, who hits other children.
c. Manuel, who plays with matches.
d. Hiroshi, who used to let air out of tires.
4. Parents try to control their children’s behavior by
a. making them stand in a corner.
b. spanking them.
c. not letting them watch TV or eat dessert.
d. sending them outside or to their bedrooms.
Read the following sentences. One word in each sentence is not correct. Find the word and cross it out. Write the correct word.
1. A few years ago a Korean toy company had an unusual contest.
2. The company wanted to find the child whose behavior was the best in the world.
3. Over 200 parents entered their children in the contest.
4. The parents made lists of all the good things their children had done.
5. The winner of the contest was a little boy from the United States.
Now copy three sentences from the story, but change one word in each sentence so that the information is not correct. Give your sentences to a classmate. Your classmate will find the incorrect word in each sentence, cross it out, and write the correct word. When your classmate is finished, check the corrections.
A. Think about these questions. Discuss your answers with your classmates.
1. When you were a child, were you a “brat” sometimes or were you
always an “angel”? Can you remember anything bad you did? Tell your classmates
2. What do you think about spanking children who misbehave?
3. Do you know a child who often misbehaves? What bad things does the child do?
4. Do you think children in different countries behave differently Or do you think children everywhere behave
the same way?
B. Imagine that you are a parent in the following situations. In small groups, read about each problem and decide what you would do. Circle the answers your group chooses, or write your own answers.
1. When you return home from shopping with your son, you discover a small toy in his pocket. He has stolen the toy from a department store. You
a. spank him and send him to his room.
b. let him keep the toy this time.
c. go back to the store with him and return the toy.
2. You tell your teenage daughter to be home by 10:00 p.m. She wants to stay out later. As she leaves the house, she yells, “I hate living here!” and slams the door. You
a. run after her to tell her that she has to stay home.
b. run after her to tell her she must come back and leave the house again quietly.
c. do nothing.
3. You are at a department store with your three-year-old daughter. She wants you to buy her a toy. You say “No”. She lies down on the floor and screams. You
a. pick her up and carry her out of the shop.
b. buy her the toy.
c. explain to her why she can’t have the toy.
4. Your six-year-old son comes home crying. An older boy in the neighborhood has hit him. You
a. tell the older boy never to hit your son again.
b. talk to the older boy’s parents.
c. give your son karate lessons.
Answer one of the questions from Discussion Exercise 4A in writing. Here is what one pupil wrote:
I remember something bad I did when I was in primary school. Our school was renovated and the walls were clean and shiny. My seat was next to a wall. One day I was bored and I scratched the wall with a penknife. It made a small hole. The next day I pushed my pencil into the hole and made the hole deeper. Every day I pushed my pencil deeper and deeper into the hole. Finally, my pencil went through the wall. Then I began making another hole. I was busy making holes in the wall for days. Then the teacher noticed the holes. She was very angry and moved my seat away from the wall. That was the end of hole-making, and I was bored again.