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

DENVER--For decades, beginning in 1962, high school history teacher Dick Jordan had told all his students to meet him on the steps of the Denver Public Library on the first day of the new millennium.

He also told them to bring a dollar, because he planned to be retired and figured he would need the money to go to Tahiti.

On Jan. 1, more than 100 former students showed up in front of the library to honor a man they said taught them to think for themselves. And they brought their dollars.

They came from Alaska, Texas, Los Angeles and New York. They came on crutches. They brought their children and their grandchildren.

"He inspired all of us to do what we thought was the right thing to do," said Judi Stein Stutman, 51, who was a member of Jordan's first class at George Washington High School.

Over the years, Jordan's students argued about the Vietnam War. They discussed the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. For Andrew Hudson, now a spokesman for Denver Mayor Wellington Webb, the issues were Reaganomics, integration, the Cold War and busing.

Hudson said Jordan was passionate about his work "because he just knew that knowledge was going to be important to you in the future."

Stutman said students took his teaching to heart. She became an advocate for students with disabilities and teaches them to fight for their rights. Others became urban planners, consultants and public officials.

"I can't believe this, folks. I don't know how to thank you when you honor me like this," said Jordan, wearing several of the dollar bills pinned to his shirt.

Jordan, who retired five years ago, said he changed his mind about going to Tahiti and will donate the money to a soup kitchen.

"Thank you for honoring me," he said. "It's been a wonderful life."

QUIZ

1. millennium a. topics; subjects

2. assassination b. a thousand years

3. figured c. greatly enthusiastic

4. issues d. talked about

5. passionate e. thought; believed

6. discussed f. supporter; defender

7. honor g. past

8. former h. murder, especially of a politically prominent person

9. advocate i. devices to help injured or disabled people to walk

10. crutches j. show respect and admiration for

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