This is a reading comprehension exercise for children. It is written by Susan Fineman, a reading specialist in the New Haven, Conn., school district.

UKIAH, Calif. -- A towering redwood surrounded by other giant trees in Northern California has been identified as the world's tallest living thing.

Named the Mendocino Tree, the 600- to 800-year-old redwood stands 367 1/2 feet tall.

Measurements of the tree in Montgomery Woods State Reserve were conducted in mid-March by a special team led by Steve Sillet, a Humboldt State University professor. The results were videotaped and verified by the Guinness Book of World Records.

The older and more massive Tall Tree in Redwood National Park in Del Norte County held the previous title. It once stood nearly 368 feet tall but lost 10 feet during a recent winter storm.

Discovery of the Mendocino Tree, about 12 miles west of Ukiah, was kept quiet by park rangers and environmentalists to keep curiosity-seekers from trampling the fragile site around it.

There will be no official marker identifying the tree. Despite its grandeur, the tree is barely distinguishable from an 80-acre cluster of two dozen or more surrounding trees standing 350 feet or taller.

At 1,300 acres, Montgomery Woods is the least visited of Mendocino County's redwood preserves. Some local residents determined to keep it that way have started tearing down roadside state park signs in hopes of keeping the reserve to themselves.


1. The Mendocino Tree is:

a) found in Del Norte County, Calif.

b) the tallest living thing in the world.

c) named after a giant.

2. Humboldt State University professor Steve Sillet:

a) was in charge of measuring the tree.

b) wrote the Guinness Book of World Records.

c) proved that the redwood has stopped growing.

3. Tall Tree in Redwood National Park:

a) held the previous record for tallest tree.

b) now measures 353 feet tall.

c) was 10 feet taller than the new titleholder.

4. The Montgomery Woods tree:

a) was planted in mid-March.

b) has been alive for more than 600 years.

c) lost some branches during a recent storm.

5. The towering redwood:

a) can be found 12 miles west of Ukiah.

b) stands about 3,671 feet tall.

c) both a and b.

6. After Mendocino County's tallest tree was identified:

a) it was trampled by curiosity-seekers.

b) park rangers refused to talk to visitors.

c) residents tried to keep its location a secret.

7. The stately tree:

a) rises high above a cluster of redwoods.

b) is surrounded by two 350-foot woody plants.

c) has no official marker.

8. Montgomery Woods State Reserve is:

a) the most popular preserve in California.

b) located on 1,300 acres of land.

c) always being videotaped by environmentalists.

9. The residents of Mendocino County:

a) hope that many people visit the state park.

b) want to protect the land's natural beauty.

c) think roadside signs are difficult to read.

10. It is most likely that the Mendocino Tree will:

a) never be seen by tourists.

b) keep its title forever.

c) be measured from time to time.

Answer key:

1. b, 2. a, 3. a, 4. b, 5. a, 6. c, 7. c, 8. b, 9. b, 10. c