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Nonfiction Passages and Functional Texts

Students need to gain lots of practice working with nonfiction passages. This prepares them for more advanced course work. Here are some nonfiction reading passages, worksheets, and online practice activities to give students practice. I recommend using the online versions of the activities if you have access to technology in your classroom. It will save you some grading and these activities include questions formatted as extended response in addition to multiple choice. Students can print, save, or email their results. I think it’s pretty cool. Just make sure you tell students to save their scores and responses for their own records, if you are using email delivery. Then they will always have a backup for record keeping.

These activities are sorted by grade level. I welcome comments and suggestions.


TV
Where would American culture be without TV? Television has impacted society in profound ways. Modern streaming options may be taking over living rooms today, but TV has played a significant role in culture since its creation. Learn about its history and answer multiple-choice and long response questions in this reading test. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 1-5.
This is a preview image of TV. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.

Metal Detectors
Metal detectors aren't just for treasure hunters. Find out some of the ways that metal detectors are used in our society in this text. Then answer multiple choice and extended response questions. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 2-6.
This is a preview image of Metal Detectors. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.

Seat Belts
Wearing your seat belt is such a simple thing, but it can save your life. Find out why in this short persuasive text, and then answer Common Core aligned multiple-choice and extended-response questions. This is more great practice for standardized tests. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 2-6.
This is a preview image of Seat Belts. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.

Tetris
There's a reason why Tetris is the most popular video game of all time. Learn about this classic game and then answer multiple-choice and long response questions in this fun and exciting reading practice test. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 2-6
This is a preview image of Tetris. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.

The Coliseum
The Coliseum is one of the world's most recognizable images. Learn about its rich and interesting history and then answer multiple-choice and extended response questions. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 2-6.
This is a preview image of The Coliseum. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.

The Pony Express
The Pony Express was the fastest way to get mail from California to the rest of the nation in the early 1860s. The exciting nature of the enterprise has earned the Pony Express a place in American folklore. Learn about the Pony Express in this text and answer multiple-choice and extended response questions based on the passage. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 2-6.
This is a preview image of The Pony Express. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.

Wintertime
Wintertime can be rough. Getting through the wintertime is harder on some species than on others. Learn about how different animals survive the winter and then answer multiple-choice and long response questions. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 2-6
This is a preview image of Wintertime. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.

Y2K
Computers control so many aspects of our lives. As a society, we depend on them in many regards. What if these systems went down? This passage explains the Y2K bug to readers. Students answer multiple-choice and extended response questions. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 3-7.
This is a preview image of Y2K. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.

Money
Money is a great way to get students' attention. This passage summarizes the origins and evolution of money. Readers answer multiple-choice and long-response questions. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 3-7.
This is a preview image of Money. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.

The Cobra Effect
Our actions can have far reaching consequences. Sometimes these consequences can surprise us. Learn about a phenomenon known as the cobra effect and answer comprehension and inference questions. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 3-7.
This is a preview image of The Cobra Effect. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.

Redwoods and Arms Races
Redwoods are known for being the largest trees in the world. Why do they grow so tall? How does that affect their lives? How does that connect to human activity? Learn more by reading this interesting text. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 3-7.
This is a preview image of Redwoods and Arms Races. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.

Black Friday
The day after Thanksgiving is known as Black Friday. It is the most notorious shopping day of the year. Learn about this cultural phenomenon in this short text and then answer multiple-choice and long response questions. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 3-7.
This is a preview image of Black Friday. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.

Hummingbirds
Hummingbirds are some of nature's most interesting creatures. Students will learn about these remarkable creatures while answering multiple-choice and extended response questions in this activity. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 3-7
This is a preview image of Hummingbirds. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.

The Act of Reading
This is a reading passage about reading. Isn't that meta? The passage questions why so many students work so hard to get out of reading assignments in this short persuasive piece. Of course, this activity includes multiple-choice and extended-response questions after the passage. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 3-7
This is a preview image of The Act of Reading. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.

The Dodo
The dodo is probably the world's most popular and well known extinct animal. Learn more about these fascinating creatures and their disappearance in this short text. Answer multiple-choice and long response questions to sharpen skills. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 4-8.
This is a preview image of The Dodo. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.

Phishing
Computer hackers are scary, but learning about their attacks can help to keep you safe. This text teaches readers about a common attack, and how to protect against it. It covers reading skills like main idea, author's purpose, and making inferences. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 4-8.
This is a preview image of Phishing. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.

Diamonds
Diamonds are not only beautiful, they are the hardest material on Earth. They also come in many colors. Find out why in this informative passage. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 4-8.
This is a preview image of Diamonds. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.

Child Inventors
You don't have to be big to make a big discovery. This short reading passage about child inventors will inspire your students. It will also give them practice with nonfiction reading skills. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 4-8.
This is a preview image of Child Inventors. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.

Honey Badgers
Did you know that honey badgers can sleep off cobra venom? It's true. Though small in size, the honey badger is renowned for its fighting spirit. Learn how they fight off much larger animals in this reading passage. Then answer Common Core aligned multiple-choice and extended response questions, so that you can run up on a standardized test like a honey badger! Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 4-8.
This is a preview image of Honey Badgers. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.

Carnivorous Plants
Plants are known for sitting still, but some plants are devious killers. Learn more about the amazing world of carnivorous plants with this short text. Then answer CCSS aligned multiple-choice and extended-response questions. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 4-8
This is a preview image of Carnivorous Plants. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.

Hyperinflation
Paper money is a funny thing. The only value it really has is given to it by society. This value can change rapidly under certain conditions. Learn more about hyperinflation in the Weimar Republic (Germany) after World War I in this interesting short passage. Then answer Common Core aligned multiple-choice and extended-response questions. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 4-8.
This is a preview image of Hyperinflation. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.

Koko
Koko is one special gorilla. Not only can she communicate in sign language, but her Facebook page has more Likes than mine. Learn about this unique creature in this short nonfiction passage and then answer multiple-choice and extended-response questions. All questions are aligned with Common Core State Standards. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 4-8.
This is a preview image of Koko. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.

Worst Game Ever
E.T. for the Atari has been widely condemned as the worst game ever. Learn why while answering reading comprehension questions in this awesome nonfiction reading test. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 4-8
This is a preview image of Worst Game Ever. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.

Google
How many company names grow to become commonly used verbs? It can't be that many. Anyway, learn about one or two of them in this short reading passage and test your comprehension with Common Core aligned multiple-choice and long-response questions. This is great practice for standardized tests. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 4-8.
This is a preview image of Google. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.

The Streisand Effect
In 2003 star Barbara Streisand sued a couple for posting a photo of her home online. The case drew a lot more attention to Streisand's home than she and her legal team anticipated. Learn more about the phenomenon that bears this singer's name in this short nonfiction article. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 5-9.
This is a preview image of The Streisand Effect. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.

Garbage
Trash cans are amazing. You just fill them up with garbage and leave them in the corner, and then all of your trash disappears. Find out where it goes in this informative reading passage, and then answer multiple-choice and long response questions. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 5-9.
This is a preview image of Garbage. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.

Trampolines
What would the ER be like without trampolines? It wouldn't be nearly as bouncing as it is now. Learn more about the zany allure of America's favorite backyard death traps in this short reading passage. It includes Common Core aligned multiple-choice and extended response questions, just to make sure that everyone is having a good time. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 5-9.
This is a preview image of Trampolines. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.

Asian Carp
Asian carp were imported to America to assist with a problem, but they escaped containment. Now they are threatening the Great Lakes' fishing industry. Learn more by reading this short text. Then sharpen your skills with Common Core aligned multiple-choice and long-response questions. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 5-9.
This is a preview image of Asian Carp. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.

The Maginot Line
If you've heard the story of the Maginot Line, you know that it teaches a powerful lesson. If you haven't, now's a great time to learn about it with this short reading passage. This activity includes Common Core aligned multiple-choice and extended-response questions. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 5-9.
This is a preview image of The Maginot Line. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.

Mongooses
Mongooses are cute, furry, and known for killing deadly cobras. They are revered in India yet despised in Hawaii. Find out why in this nonfiction text. Improve your reading skills by answering multiple-choice and extended-response questions. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 5-9.
This is a preview image of Mongooses. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.

The Library of Alexandria
The Library of Alexandria held the largest collection of knowledge in the ancient world. How did they acquire all those texts? Did Julius Caesar burn this great library? Learn more by reading this short piece of nonfiction. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 6-10.
This is a preview image of The Library of Alexandria. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.

A Tale of Two Countries
North Korea and South Korea may have similar origins, but they have grown to become very different countries. Learn more about these interesting places by reading this short text, and then answer CCSS aligned multiple-choice and extended-response questions. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 6-10.
This is a preview image of A Tale of Two Countries. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.

Kevlar
Kevlar is an interesting synthetic fiber that has woven its way into our lives. Yes, it can stop bullets, but it can do so much more too. Learn about this fascinating material while practice reading comprehension skills with this worksheet. Read the passage and answer multiple choice comprehension questions. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 7-11.
This is a preview image of Kevlar. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.

Tigers
Which would win in a fight, a tiger or a lion? Learn the answer to that question and a whole bunch more while reading this awesome nonfiction passage. Then students answers questions covering many CCSS reading skills. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 7-11.
This is a preview image of Tigers. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.

Submarines
Submarines are probably older than you might think. Learn how old and other interesting tidbits in this exciting nonfiction reading passage. Then, answer CCSS aligned questions. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 8-12.
This is a preview image of Submarines. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.

The Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty is a symbol of freedom, America, and its historical alliance with France. Learn many interesting things about the construction of this iconic monument in this nonfiction reading passage. Then answer questions covering a variety of reading skills. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 8-12.
This is a preview image of The Statue of Liberty. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.

Castles
Castles are cool. Where did they come from? When did people start building them? Why did they stop? Learn the answers to these questions by reading this short nonfiction passage. Then answer multiple-choice questions. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 9-13.
This is a preview image of Castles. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.

Gutenberg
Read an interesting passage about Johannes Gutenberg, the man who invented the printing press with movable type, and answer a variety of comprehension questions testing reading skills. Questions cover the following skills: identifying text structure, determining main idea, locating information, recalling sequence, and making inferences. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 9-13.
This is a preview image of Gutenberg. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.

Nutritional Facts Comparison
Here's a fun activity to give students practice using functional texts. Students read and compare the nutritional information from four snack items. Then they answer fifteen questions testing their ability to comprehend these functional texts.
This is a preview image of Nutritional Facts Comparison. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.

Pain Reliever Comparison
Here's another fun activity to give students practice using functional texts. Students compare the directions and warnings for two different pain relievers and answer fifteen questions. This will test their ability to comprehend complex functional texts.
This is a preview image of Pain Reliever Comparison. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.

Common Core State Standards Related to Reading Comprehension

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.10 – Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.

View All CCSS Standards Related to Reading Comprehension
ELA Standards: Literature

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.3.10 – By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poetry, at the high end of the grades 2-3 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.4.10 – By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poetry, in the grades 4-5 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.5.10 – By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poetry, at the high end of the grades 4-5 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.6.10 – By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, in the grades 6-8 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.7.10 – By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, in the grades 6-8 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.8.10 – By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, at the high end of grades 6-8 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.9-10.10 – By the end of grade 9, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, in the grades 9-10 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.
By the end of grade 10, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, at the high end of the grades 9-10 text complexity band independently and proficiently.

View Source
Common Core Lesson and Unit Plans
Understanding Common Core State Standards

 

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37 Comments

  1. Alaa

     /  March 5, 2021

    I really love this website , i just checked it today , i even preferred it on my teacher . This is really fantastic . I love that they give the passages free, they give you a copy to edit , they give answers with every passage . Thankyou !!

    Reply
  2. Malika

     /  January 15, 2021

    Thank you so much for your generosity. Interesting and motivating reading texts

    Reply
  3. Sanki

     /  November 29, 2020

    Thank you so much. This is grea

    Reply
  4. Ghassan

     /  November 23, 2020

    Thank you. I’m looking for samples for four types of reading and writing for post basic classes.

    Reply
  5. hisham

     /  August 25, 2020

    I greatly appreciate such useful worksheet materials hoping that you’ll keep on providing more likewise resources

    Reply
  6. Elma du Toit

     /  July 22, 2020

    Thank you very much for so generously providing these worksheets and lessons for free! I use some even for my teachers in training, as they are all Second Language speakers. The reading texts are also very informational, expanding their general knowledge. I love it!

    Reply
  7. Ms.Viviet D'souza

     /  January 13, 2020

    Hi,

    Every piece of writing makes for interesting reading. Also, thought-provoking. Some definitely cater to an excellent classroom debate. This site is a great discovery. Thanks.

    Reply
  8. Bless Go

     /  June 20, 2019

    Thank you

    Reply
  9. Homeschool Mom

     /  March 31, 2019

    Thank you so much for these. As a homeschool parent it can be difficult to locate interesting worksheets for my middle schoolar. These are great and she will enjoy them!

    Reply
  10. Marlee is awesome

     /  January 7, 2019

    Hi, I read alot and would like to say ur awesome im awesome and everyone who reads this is awesome! Have a nice day and a fun time learning! l♥

    Reply
  11. Darrell Deshotel

     /  October 5, 2018

    Thanks for this page. Please don’t ever take it down. As a 7th grade ELA teacher it’s extremely helpful. Thank you again.

    Reply
  12. alizeh

     /  July 16, 2018

    thankyou so much for this informative page …..its the perfect page for students
    i can have alot of info which is obviously gonna help me ….

    Reply
  13. Mariu

     /  July 23, 2017

    I love this webpage! So interesting topic for reading activities. I teach English in Argentina, and these texts trigger my students speaking skills, vocabulary skills and of course Reading Skills

    Reply
  14. Nahomy Villalobos

     /  July 12, 2017

    hey, there i really need help in this question and i want to know if you could help me in this question it is very difficult ad i really need help and can you really help me please

    Reply
    • A good lesson to learn here is that you should ask your question in your initial comment, as I cannot respond to these in real time.

      Reply
  15. ivan beltran

     /  January 5, 2017

    thank you very much, i´m an english teacher in Colombia, and i´m trying to teach to my students the importance of good reading, this material is excelent.

    Reply
  16. Muazzaz

     /  October 27, 2016

    Thank you Mr. Morton for these great passages, I use them for my grandchild and she finds the topics interesting. What a wonderful website and great questions.
    Thank you for your efforts and for sharing.

    Reply
  17. Sitha

     /  September 13, 2016

    It is a good web. It can help my teaching a lot. Would you mind me if I suggest answer key with file PDF?

    Thanks

    Reply
  18. Ms. Dela Cruz

     /  August 16, 2016

    Thank you for making such worksheets. As a tutor it really helped me. 🙂

    Reply
  19. Annie Smith

     /  August 10, 2016

    The “PAIN RELIEVER” article/worksheet question 8 – shouldn’t the answer be “C” both medicines, since the question asks “WHICH MEDICINE SHOULD ‘NOT’ BE TAKEN” if consume more than 3 alcoholic beverages per day??

    Reply
  20. misha jessani

     /  April 13, 2016

    nice website its very informative for me as a student.

    Reply
  21. misha jessani

     /  April 13, 2016

    very nice website its very informative for me as a student. thank you for making such website. 🙂

    Reply
  22. Allison Clark

     /  January 13, 2016

    These passages are awesome! I love your site. I can always be sure I will find something challenging and INTERESTING(!!!) for my students. Thank you SOOO much for this website!

    Reply
  23. sue

     /  November 30, 2015

    You reading passages are very helpful for my 9 year old daughter. I hope you add more passages.

    Reply
  24. Ami Bhatt

     /  September 11, 2015

    I have been using your reading passages to teach my 9 year old kid. They are very helpful! I hope you add more passages to your collections.

    Reply
  25. Barbara

     /  September 3, 2015

    I am tutoring an adult in English and your reading passages have helped me tremendously. Will you be adding other passages to the site?

    Reply
  26. Christine

     /  November 5, 2014

    Do you offer 5th or 6th grade reading level
    content and tests.
    Thank you….

    Reply
  27. Theresa Fairchild

     /  April 5, 2014

    First of all, you are a life saver. I love your resources, and they have helped my students and me greatly.
    Another teacher and I would like to know why the answer for the the question listed below is A. With the movement to text dependent questions, C. is the only viable option. Logically, A. makes sense, but we were looking at the question from a text dependent viewpoint.
    3. Which best explains why the original castles were first made from earth and timber?

    a. It takes a lot more time and energy to build a stone castle.

    b. It did not occur to people to build castles out of stone.

    c. People did not realize how weak wooden castles would be against fire.

    d. Wooden castles were prettier than dirty stone castles.

    Thank you.

    Reply
    • I think it is fair to require students to draw such an
      inference.

      I believe most state tests will require them to
      draw similar inferences.

      Perhaps the distractor C is unfair
      as you are suggesting.

      When I revisit the content in the next year I will update this question.
      Thank you for your feedback.

      Reply
  28. I teach sixth grade. I don’t see where you have a grade or Lexie level for the passages you offer. They look close to what I need, a Lexie around 1,000 or greater. Can you give me an idea about where these passages are level wise? Thank you so very much! It looks like you’ve worked very hard! I appreciate it.

    Tina Compton

    Reply
    • Lexile is a proprietary term. As an educator you can use their system for free, but as an educational publisher I would need to license it.

      Reply

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