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 …

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 …

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 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 …

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 …

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 …

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. …