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 …

Extraordinary People
A Reading Comprehension Passage by Common Core Texts

It’s often said that humans use only ten percent of their brainpower at any given time. This is meant to suggest that if we could only harness the true power of our brains, we could think ten times more quickly, brilliantly, or creatively. The truth, however, is that humans use much more than ten percent of our brains. Our brains …

Origami Inspiration
A Reading Comprehension Passage by Common Core Texts

Origami is the ancient art of paper-folding. It begins with a single sheet of thin paper. By folding the paper, the origami artist turns the flat sheet into a three-dimensional sculpture. Popular origami figures include cranes, swans, butterflies, flowers, and stars. Recently, however, origami has become more than just a fun pastime. Scientists are now using this ancient art to …

Manhattanhenge
A Reading Comprehension Passage by Common Core Texts

If you happen to be walking the streets of New York City on the evening of July 12th, 2018, get ready to see something special. The locals call it “Manhattanhenge.” The first thing you’ll notice will be the unusual number of people standing on the sidewalks gazing westward. In a city as bustling and busy as New York, it’s not …

Mister Trash Wheel
A Reading Comprehension Passage by Common Core Texts

The city of Baltimore, Maryland has been working hard to clean up its harbor. In 2014, they found some much-needed help in the form of a unique vessel that the locals call Mr. Trash Wheel. Mr. Trash Wheel is a self-navigating boat that steers around the harbor and picks up trash. It runs on solar power and uses a conveyor …

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 …