Sumer: The First Civilization
A Reading Comprehension Passage by Common Core Texts

The first civilization appeared around 5,500 years ago. It rose up along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Today that land is the country of Iraq. At that time, it was called Mesopotamia. What was special about that land between two rivers? It had rich soil that was good for farming. The people who lived along these two rivers were called …

Mesopotamia: The Rise of River Valley Civilizations
A Reading Comprehension Passage by Common Core Texts

For early humans, fresh water could be hard to find. Because water was scarce, rivers became very important. For thousands of years, hunter-gatherers around the world stayed close to rivers. They followed them as their tribes moved from place to place. Along the banks of a river, they could find plants and animals to eat. Over time, humans began to …

A Rewarding Job
A Reading Comprehension Passage by Common Core Texts

Some people enter politics out a desire for wealth or fame, but I like to think that my motivations were a bit less selfish. I genuinely wanted to help my community. It began with the fight over the library. Due to budget cuts, the town council had voted to close the library on Thursdays and Fridays in order to save …

The Best Job in the World
A Reading Comprehension Passage by Common Core Texts

I just might have the best job in the entire world. It’s certainly the job that best fits my passions and personality. I am an ethnomusicologist. It’s a fancy-sounding word with a simple meaning. Let’s break it down: “ethno” means “people,” “-ologist” means someone who studies something, and “music” – you already know what that means. In other words, I …

Summer in Managua
A Reading Comprehension Passage by Common Core Texts

My parents came to the United States in August of 1992, just months before I entered the world. They settled in Buffalo, New York, where a job awaited my father. My uncles had warned that the winters could be bracingly cold. Still, my parents were caught by surprise in September when the weather began to turn. By the time December …

A Wrong Turn Leads to War
A Reading Comprehension Passage by Common Core Texts

One of the bloodiest wars in human history was caused, at least in part, by a wrong turn. In June 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand was visiting Sarajevo. Archduke Ferdinand was the next in line to be the king of Austria-Hungary. But little did he know that he was to be the target of an assassination attempt by a man named …

Street Eats
A Reading Comprehension Passage by Common Core Texts

When it comes to running a restaurant, the three most important factors are location, location, and location! That is what makes food carts such a neat idea. These mobile restaurants can sell food at the busiest corners in a city without paying the high cost of renting a permanent space. They set up early in the morning and sell their …

A Book You Can Walk Through
A Reading Comprehension Passage by Common Core Texts

On the island of Java stands a wondrous structure. It is called Borobudur, a name which means “ancient mountain.” Borobudur is not actually a mountain, although it might look like one due to its size and shape. It is a temple made out of thousands of carved stone bricks. Borobudur is the world’s largest Buddhist temple. It was built 1,200 …

The Great Emu War
A Reading Comprehension Passage by Common Core Texts

In the history of military defeats, one of the most comically strange is the Australian Army’s defeat at the hands of a flock of emus in “The Great Emu War.” In 1932, a large number of emus began destroying the wheat fields of Western Australia. These heavy flightless birds consumed farmers’ crops and ruined their fencing. The situation became so …

The Game of Twenty Squares
A Reading Comprehension Passage by Common Core Texts

In 1926, a British archaeologist named Leonard Woolley made an interesting discovery. Woolley was digging among the ruins of the ancient city of Ur. He uncovered the edge of a small piece of wood. It was decorated with pieces of a beautiful blue stone called lapis lazuli, as well as shell and red limestone. At first, Woolley was unsure of …