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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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, …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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: 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 …