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Two sisters from Syria swim in Germany

Ysra Mardini (left) and her sister, Sarah, both from Syria, pose for a photo during a training session in Berlin, Germany, Nov. 9, 2015.
Ysra Mardini (left) and her sister, Sarah, both from Syria, pose for a photo during a training session in Berlin, Germany, Nov. 9, 2015. AP/Michael Sohn

BERLIN, Germany — Sarah and Ysra Mardini are sisters. They were once top swimmers in Syria.

"Everything was good," said 20-year-old Sarah. "That was before the war."

There is a terrible war going on in Syria. It is a country in the Middle East. The Mardini family moved around in Syria to get away from the fighting. They wanted the sisters to keep on swimming. Then the war got worse.

Many people are leaving Syria because of the fighting. They have become refugees. Refugees are people who are forced to leave their own country. Sometimes they leave because of war. They try to find a safe place in other countries.

On The Boat

Two months ago, the Mardini sisters also left their country. They got on a boat carrying refugees to Greece. There were too many people on the boat. The boat was sinking.

When the sea turned rough people threw their bags into the water. They thought it would make the boat lighter. It did not work. Most of the people could not swim. Ysra, Sarah and three other good swimmers jumped into the water. They thought it would keep the boat from sinking.

There were ropes hanging from the side of the boat. For three hours, the sisters held on to the ropes. Finally, the boat landed in Greece. Then they began to walk. After many weeks they made it to Germany. Soon after getting to Germany, they joined a swimming club. The club helped them get into a training program.

Their coach says the sisters are doing very well.

Swimming In Germany

Ysra is 17 years old. She is aiming high. "Maybe when I learn German I will start school. I want to be a pilot," she said. "And with my swimming I want to reach the Olympics."

Her older sister, Sarah, is trying to bring the rest of their family to Germany. She has to fight government rules. The government will not let all the refugees in.

She likes long-distance swimming.

"We can't do anything good in our life if we don't have swimming," Sarah said.

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1
Anchor 1: What the Text Says

Which paragraph in the introduction [paragraphs 1-4] explains what refugees are?

2
Anchor 1: What the Text Says

Why did the refugees throw their bags into the water?

A

There was not enough room for the people.

B

They thought it would make the boat lighter.

C

There were ropes hanging from the side of the boat.

D

Ysra, Sarah and three other good swimmers jumped into the water.

3
Anchor 2: Central Idea

What is the article MOSTLY about?

A

Sarah and Ysra are swimmers who left Syria because of the war. They now live in Germany.

B

Sarah and Ysra left because of the war. Many people are leaving to get away from the fighting.

C

Sarah and Ysra liked swimming in Syria. They were both very good swimmers.

D

Sarah and Ysra are now swimming in Germany. They want their family to come to Germany too.

4
Anchor 2: Central Idea

Read the paragraph from the article.

There is a terrible war going on in Syria. It is a country in the Middle East. The Mardini family moved around in Syria to get away from the fighting. They wanted the sisters to keep on swimming. Then the war got worse.

What is this paragraph about?

A

why there is a war in Syria

B

why the sisters wanted to swim

C

why the war got worse

D

why the Mardini family moved

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