8. Skyscrapers are very tall buildings.


empire state building

The Empire State Building

world trade center

The World Trade Center


Modern skyscrapers are made with steel, concrete, and a lot of glass.  


Skyscrapers are very tall buildings. They are found in many large, American cities. Skyscrapers in New York City and Chicago reach more than a 1000 feet into the sky (304.8 meters), which is about the length of three football fields. These huge structures are appropriately named "skyscrapers" because they are so tall that they seem to touch, or "scrape" the sky and the clouds. On a clear day, you can see a skyscraper from several miles away.

Early skyscrapers were built with iron, steel, and masonry; modern skyscrapers are built with steel, concrete, and a lot of glass. Skyscraper construction is popular in large cities nowadays because land is very valuable. The only direction for the development of a large building in a busy downtown is up. Skyscrapers help define a city's skyline, and they help preserve land for parks and public plazas.

The Empire State Building (right photo) in New York has more than 100 floors. It's a very famous building. Tourists enjoy going to the observation deck near the top of the building. From there, they have a good view of the city. The Empire State Building was the tallest building in the city until the construction of the World Trade Center buildings in the 1970s.

The tallest skyscraper in the United States is the Sears Tower (renamed the Willis Tower in 2009) in Chicago, Illinois. The tallest skyscraper in the world is in Dubai (the Burj Khalifa). It stands at 2,717 feet (828 meters), which is about the length of eight-and-a-half football fields. Other famous skyscrapers are Tapei 101 in Taipai, Taiwan, Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and the Jin Mao Tower in Shanghai, China.

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Now you try it. Read the paragraph above. If you have a microphone, you can record your voice.


How much do you remember from the reading? Fill in the blanks.  

write by hand

  • 1: The Empire State Building is in ______________.
  • 2: Skyscraper construction in big cities is popular because land is so _____________.
  • 3A: How many ____________ does the Empire State Building have?
  • 3B: It has _____________.
  • 4: From an observation deck near the top of a skyscraper, you have a good _________ of the city.
  • 5: Skyscrapers have to define a city's ___________.

(Answers: 1. New York City; 2. valuable; 3A: floors; 3B: 102 floors; 4. view; 5. skyline)


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