KIDS: READ ALL ABOUT IT

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

HOBART, Australia--Workers in Antarctica ate a 12-course banquet today and held an international darts tournament to celebrate midwinter, the halfway point of the long polar night.

Midwinter celebrations are a tradition on the frozen continent, where the sun doesn't rise for months at some of the icebound stations.

The shortest day of the year is a holiday for about 80 Australian workers at the three Antarctic bases of Davis, Casey and Mawson and at Macquarie Island.

The weather this year was kind.

"It's quite warm," Mawson base leader Ross Belcher said of the temperature of 3 degrees.

At this time of year, Mawson and Davis don't see the sun at all, just a couple of hours of twilight. Casey, a little farther north, gets a midday dawn followed almost immediately by sunset.

Belcher said a grand banquet with musical skits was planned in a mess hall decorated with the flags of the 27 Antarctic Treaty nations.

Celebrations started Sunday night with a darts competition, via radio hookup, between the Australian, New Zealand and American stations. There was no winner.

"Communications got a bit confused," Belcher said. "We'll have to work on an easier system."

Still farther north, in the relatively warmer climes of the sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island, some residents took part in a traditional nude swim.

On the island, chef Chris Kane was the only person working--on a menu that included cold roast suckling pig, crayfish, seaweed and rice rolls, cold fillet of beef, kangaroo fillet in red wine sauce, smoked chicken and smoked lamb.

Outside the kitchen, others took a dip into the ocean, which Kane said was about 27 degrees.

BETTER BUNDLE UP. Antarctica is the fifth-largest continent. Look in an encyclopedia to find out more about the coldest place on Earth. What's the lowest temperature ever recorded in Antarctica? Who lives on this ice-covered landmass? Can you name the other six continents?

Using the newspaper story, find the 10 vocabulary words and circle them in the article. Use the context of the story to help you figure out the meaning of each vocabulary word. Then write the number of each word next to its correct meaning. Use a dictionary to check your answers.

1. banquet

2. skits

3. tournament

4. tradition

5. darts

6. dip

7. hookup

8. continent

9. fillet

10. dawn

a. connection

b. major landmass of the earth

c. shows; performances

d. contest

e. custom

f. quick plunge

g. game in which small pointed objects

are thrown at a target

h. feast; formal meal

i. first appearance of light in the sky

j. boneless piece

Answer Key: a. 7, b. 8, c. 2, d. 3, e. 4, f. 6, g. 5, h. 1, i. 10, j. 9