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Reading Fact and Opinion: Food Banks

In this worksheet, students read an article and practise distinguishing fact from opinion.

Key stage:  KS 3

Curriculum topic:  Reading

Curriculum subtopic:  Use Inference and Evidence

Difficulty level:  

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QUESTION 1 of 10

Firstly, read the following article. Think about whether the points used are fact or opinion. Remember; a fact can be proved to be true or false, whereas an opinion is what someone thinks or believes.

 

Food banks - do we need them?

 

 

There has been a lot of publicity recently over the rise of 'food banks'. The idea, for anyone who has not heard of them, is that a charity will offer to collect food (from donations, or food about to go past it's sell-by-date from supermarkets). This food is than given to people who are really in need. To get the food you have to have been given a special voucher by the council. This all seems like a great idea with many positives; it gives people the chance to do something to help others, it offers food to those who are hungry, it also stops so much produce being wasted by the supermarkets.

 

However, there is another side to this phenomena. Sally Entwhistle, a renowned Debt Psychologist thinks that food banks could just be exacerbating the problems of poverty: “This is not a third world country, most people who are poor to the point of hunger in this country are in that situation at least partly because they are making bad choices about how to spend their money. This could be on takeaways instead of cooking meals, or addictions such as smoking and alcohol.” So how does that affect food banks? “A food bank may give you enough to survive for a few days, but the problem of poor choices is still there, in the background. It is a very short-term solution.”

 

Max D'Oliver, Managing director of a charity which runs five food banks in London, argues against this view: “Yes, some people say that it is short-term, but many people only need help once, in their most dire need to feed their families. Once they have had a decent meal, they can think clearly to sort out their finances and to do their very best to stop themselves from getting into this situation again. If you are in an accident, you might go to the hospital, once, to get better. It does not mean that you'll be back every week, once you've had the emergency help, you can look after yourself again, the same is often true for food banks.

 

There are very interesting points on either side of this debate, but for the time being, with cuts to welfare spending at a record high, food banks look like they are here to stay.

 

 

Next, go through the worksheet and answer the following questions.

The writer begins the article by summarising what food banks are. Is this paragraph mostly fact or mostly opinion?

Fact

Opinion

Why do you think the writer begins with so many facts about what food banks are? Tick three boxes.

To show that they are a good thing.

To show that he/she is knowledgeable.

To show that he/she can be trusted.

To set the scene for the rest of the article.

To impress the reader with a list.

Sally Entwhistle is described as a 'renowned' Debt Psychologist. Is the word 'renowned' here a fact or an opinion?

Often, people begin an argument with a fact, and then follow it up with opinions. Sally Entwhistle does this with which of the following quotations? 

Who are poor to the point of hunger.

They are making bad choices.

This is not a third world country.

Max D'Oliver is described as a "Managing director of a charity which runs five food banks in London". Is this a fact or an opinion?

Fact

Opinion

Max states that once people have had a decent meal, they will be able to "think clearly". This is an assumption; it assumes that all people will behave in the same way.

 

Are assumptions facts or opinons?

Fact

Opinion

Max uses a little story to surround his opinions: "...once you've had the emergency help, you can look after yourself again".

This is an opinion, but it also uses another rhetorical device beginning with the letter 'a'. What is it? 

The writer sums up the article by linking it in with a political point. Which point does he refer to? 

Schools becoming academies

Spending cuts

Changes in adoption law

  • Question 1

The writer begins the article by summarising what food banks are. Is this paragraph mostly fact or mostly opinion?

CORRECT ANSWER
Fact
EDDIE SAYS
The points in the opening paragraph are mainly factual - they can be proved to be true or false. For example: "a charity will offer to collect food" and "To get the food you have to have been given a special voucher by the council" - both of these statements could be proved or disproved, and are not an opinion or belief of the author.
  • Question 2

Why do you think the writer begins with so many facts about what food banks are? Tick three boxes.

CORRECT ANSWER
To show that he/she is knowledgeable.
To show that he/she can be trusted.
To set the scene for the rest of the article.
  • Question 3

Sally Entwhistle is described as a 'renowned' Debt Psychologist. Is the word 'renowned' here a fact or an opinion?

CORRECT ANSWER
opinion
EDDIE SAYS
It is an opinion because the word is so vague and no evidence is given as to how she is 'renowned'.
  • Question 4

Often, people begin an argument with a fact, and then follow it up with opinions. Sally Entwhistle does this with which of the following quotations? 

CORRECT ANSWER
This is not a third world country.
EDDIE SAYS
Here, Sally starts by saying "This is not a third world country" which is a factual statement. She then goes on to say "most people who are poor to the point of hunger in this country are in that situation at least partly because they are making bad choices about how to spend their money", which are assumptions/generalisations and are, therefore, opinion.
  • Question 5

Max D'Oliver is described as a "Managing director of a charity which runs five food banks in London". Is this a fact or an opinion?

CORRECT ANSWER
Fact
EDDIE SAYS
It is a fact because you can prove it to be true or false.
  • Question 6

Max states that once people have had a decent meal, they will be able to "think clearly". This is an assumption; it assumes that all people will behave in the same way.

 

Are assumptions facts or opinons?

CORRECT ANSWER
Opinion
EDDIE SAYS
An assumption is defined as an unproven opinion on something. In the example above, Max is guessing that people will be able to "think clearly" once they have had a decent meal; however, he does not have any factual evidence to support this, so it is an assumption.
  • Question 7

Max uses a little story to surround his opinions: "...once you've had the emergency help, you can look after yourself again".

This is an opinion, but it also uses another rhetorical device beginning with the letter 'a'. What is it? 

CORRECT ANSWER
anecdote
EDDIE SAYS
An anecdote is a short story based on a real incident or person.
  • Question 8

The writer sums up the article by linking it in with a political point. Which point does he refer to? 

CORRECT ANSWER
Spending cuts
EDDIE SAYS
The writer refers to spending cuts in the article.
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