Grades 7-8 Reading Comprehension Passages

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  • A Highly Unique Career
    A Reading Comprehension Passage by Common Core Texts
    My career is highly unique. I use a specialized skill set that took me an entire lifetime to learn. I can earn thousands of dollars in a single day, and the tools of my trade can fit into a single briefcase. Am I a lawyer? A surgeon? A banker? None of the above. There are thousands of lawyers, surgeons, and ...
  • A Little Piece of Home
    A Reading Comprehension Passage by Common Core Texts
    As a long-distance truck driver, I spend days at a time away from home. It can be difficult to be away from familiar surroundings, and in order to stay sane, one has to find ways of bringing the comforts of home to the road. For example, I always take my pillow with me so that no matter where I lay ...
  • 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 ...
  • Are You Smarter than a Caveman? A Prehistory Debate
    A Reading Comprehension Passage by Common Core Texts
    Person 1: I plan to argue that the so-called “caveman” has an unfair reputation as an unintelligent animal. This reputation is disproven by the evidence. As I will show, these ancestors of early humans are misunderstood. First of all, “caveman” is a mixed-up term. It’s simply a stereotype. “Caveman” unfairly mixes together groups of humans and their ancestors. In fact, ...
  • Counting Calories
    A Reading Comprehension Passage by Common Core Texts
    On the back of every packaged food item sold at your local grocery store is a label containing nutritional information. The very first number on this label tells customers the number of calories that the food contains. An important component of healthy eating is paying attention to this “calorie count.” Most people know that calories tell us how much of ...
  • Cuneiform: The First System of Writing
    A Reading Comprehension Passage by Common Core Texts
    I believe that writing is the most important invention in history. It is the most important for two reasons. First, it helped governments and businesses become more effective. Second, it helped ideas to spread. Writing was invented by the Sumerians. They invented it around 5,000 years ago. They used writing to make their government work better. One example is Hammurabi’s ...
  • How Our People Tamed the Animals
    A Reading Comprehension Passage by Common Core Texts
    “You must keep in mind that the Ice Age didn’t happen overnight. You kids today seem to think that one day we all woke up with our feet turned to icicles!” The children gathered around their grandfather tittered with laughter. They had heard the tale a hundred times, but they never tired of it. Granddad continued his story. “The truth ...
  • Lucy: Forty Years Later
    A Reading Comprehension Passage by Common Core Texts
    By Marcus A.R. Bolt The Sunday Times 27 November, 2014 Forty years ago to the day, anthropologist Donald Johnson was digging. He dug at a quiet place in northern Ethiopia. This corner of eastern Africa was quite remote. It was not a very popular spot for people like Johnson to work. That is because the soil there was 3.2 million ...
  • Mesopotamia: Humanity’s Greatest Invention
    A Reading Comprehension Passage by Common Core Texts
    I believe that writing is the most important invention in history. It is the most important for two reasons. First, it helped governments and businesses become more effective. Second, it helped ideas to spread. Writing was invented by the Sumerians. They invented it around 5,000 years ago. They used writing to make their government work better. One example is Hammurabi’s ...
  • Mesopotamia: The Code of Hammurabi
    A Reading Comprehension Passage by Common Core Texts
    In 1901, a large stone was found by archaeologists in the Middle East. It was covered in cuneiform. Cuneiform was an ancient writing system. When the archaeologists translated the writing, they learned that it was a set of laws. The archaeologists had found Hammurabi’s Code. Their discovery was one of the most important finds in human history. Hammurabi was an ...
  • 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 ...
  • Mesopotamia: Visit The Ziggurat!
    A Reading Comprehension Passage by Common Core Texts
    Have you visited amazing, unforgettable Ur? It’s the religious, cultural, and business hub of Sumer. You just haven’t seen all that the “Land Between Two Rivers” has to offer if you haven’t visited this city. If you visited Ur around 2029 BC, you might have noticed a lot of construction going on. King Ur-Nammu, who now walks with the gods ...
  • Moving Day
    A Reading Comprehension Passage by Common Core Texts
    Sometimes, you don’t appreciate what you have until it’s gone. I learned that lesson many summers ago on a hot July afternoon. It was moving day, and my parents had spent the morning packing every item we owned into a large truck. My clothes, my soccer trophies, my old toys: every single item that I called my own was packed ...
  • My Odd Upbringing
    A Reading Comprehension Passage by Common Core Texts
    To call my upbringing odd would be the understatement of the century. My family made oddballs look normal. I grew up on what you might call a houseboat. I suppose it technically was both house and boat, since we lived aboard the contraption and it floated (usually). But it looked more like a floating shack than a houseboat. My father ...
  • Prehistoric Art: Gazing into the Minds of Early Humans
    A Reading Comprehension Passage by Common Core Texts
    We can learn a lot about how early humans lived. We do this by studying artifacts. But is it possible, thousands of years later, to peer into their hearts and minds? What did they think? What did they care about? How did they see themselves? How did they see the world? We may have answers to these intriguing questions. The ...
  • 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 ...
  • 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 ...
  • 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 ...
  • The Drive to Win
    A Reading Comprehension Passage by Common Core Texts
    In my experience as a high school basketball coach, there are two kinds of players that create a winning team: players with talent and players with drive. While I’ll readily take either on my team, if I am able to choose, I’ll pick the player with drive every time. I can spot talented players from a mile away. They usually ...
  • The First Humans
    A Reading Comprehension Passage by Common Core Texts
    There are many ways to study the peoples of the past. We can look at the cities they left behind. We can read the texts they wrote. But studying the earliest humans can be harder. This is because the first humans did not leave behind great cities or complex texts. So how can we learn about our earliest ancestors? The ...
  • The Neolithic Revolution
    A Reading Comprehension Passage by Common Core Texts
    Around 10,000 BC, humans went through an important change. It was the most important change in human history. By its end, wandering hunter-gatherers would stop wandering and instead form permanent settlements. This change is called the Neolithic Revolution. The Neolithic Revolution was a change in how humans survived. In the Paleolithic Era, humans were nomads. They moved from place to ...
  • The Sign Language Class
    A Reading Comprehension Passage by Common Core Texts
    I entered the classroom and saw that the professor was already seated behind her desk at the front of the room. A message on the chalkboard read, “Welcome to Sign Language 101! Please take a handout and begin reading.” I followed its instructions as the rest of my classmates filed into the room. At the start of class, the professor ...
  • Trash Patrol
    A Reading Comprehension Passage by Common Core Texts
    In the summer months, my younger sister and I used to spend our mornings scavenging for electronics equipment. We would patrol the neighborhood on our bicycles, looking for items left by the side of the road for the trash man to pick up. Lamps, alarm clocks, radios, stereos, televisions: all went into the basket on the back of my bike. ...