Speed Reading — Christmas Beetles - Level 5 — 200 wpm

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Try the same text at a reading speed of 300 words per minute.

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There is a group of creatures that is synonymous with Christmas – donkeys, reindeer, turkeys and robins. Beetles do not spring to mind when thinking of the holiday season. However, there is a Christmas beetle in Australia. This Christmas it has gone missing. It used to be a sign that Christmas was on its way in the land down under. Its numbers have declined rapidly. An entomologist from the University of Sydney said: "Everybody over the age of 35 remembers there being huge numbers of Christmas beetles when they were kids, but that just doesn't seem to happen any more."

The Christmas beetle is as unique to Australia as koalas. It's a shiny and harmless bug. The entomologist told the BBC that Australia has a "really unique biological event where Christmas is associated with the arrival of these beautiful, glittery, friendly beetles". She said it was "absolutely critical" to find out why there are so few around. She thinks it is because of habitat loss. In 2020, bushfires wiped out huge swathes of forest. Australia has the worst rate of mammal extinction in the world. Scientists fear the Christmas beetle may also soon die out.

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