| K-8 Passages

All passages are authentic and leveled and each is paired with a Common Core-aligned question set based on the highest quality research.

ReadWorks encourages teachers to choose texts based on their students’ reading levels. Often times, texts in grades above or below grade level could be appropriate for your students.


 “Traffic Lights” Social Studies Illustrates how to identify the lights in a traffic light and safely cross the street, includes a poem

Lexile: 300

“Getting Water From a Well” Social Studies Describes how people in earlier times got water from wells to use for cooking and cleaning

Lexile: 350

"Bright as the Sun" Life Science Presents some characteristics of sunflowers including how they need water and light to live and grow

Lexile: 310

“A Big Push” Physical Science Illustrates how a bigger push from a bigger kid makes a sled go faster than a smaller push from a smaller kid

Lexile: 320

“How to Ride a Skateboard” Physical Science Illustrates how to ride a skateboard- shows that a small push will make you go slowly and a big push will make you go faster

Lexile: 290

“Paddle a Canoe” Physical Science Illustrates how to paddle a canoe and shows that pushing the blade of a paddle will make the boat move forward, and pushing the blade with a bigger push will make the boat go faster

Lexile: 320

"Stop the Rock!" Physical Science A fictional story in which a fox knocks into a rock to start it rolling down a hill and how a badger was able to stop the motion of the rock

Lexile: 230

“Stuck in the Snow” Physical Science A family trying to get a stuck car out of the snow with different amounts of strength to illustrate that a bigger push makes things go faster

Lexile: 70

“A Cool Pool” Earth & Space Science Tells a story about a girl's experience with her pool's temperature going from cold to warm because sunlight warms the Earth’s surface

Lexile: 110

"The Story of a Snowflake" Earth & Space Science Illustrates the formation of snowflakes

Lexile: 310

1ST GRADE [top]

“Callie Learns to Listen” Social Studies A girl learns to be a good listener and to have respect for the rules by which we live

Lexile: 380

“A Smelly Skunk” Life Science Demonstrates a dog's response to a skunk on a walk with his owner

Lexile: 270

“A Class of Twins” Life Science Shows how the kids in a class are recognizable as similar, but also vary in many ways

Lexile: 390

“Kerry Kangaroo Hops” Life Science Explains a young kangaroo's first time hopping and the mother keeping a close eye—shows how parents and their offspring engage in behaviors to help the offspring survive

Lexile: 330

“An Owl is a Bird” Life Science Explains how an owl uses different body parts to find and take in food

Lexile: 380

“Learning About Your World” Life Science Explains how body parts can capture and convey different kinds of information by listing the five senses

Lexile: 290

“Maria Makes a Snake” Physical Science A boy and a girl make shadows with flashlights to show how hands can block all the light and create a dark shadow on any surface beyond them, where the light cannot reach

Lexile: 380

“Too Much Rain” Earth & Space Science A description of the causes and effects of floods

Lexile: 480

“A Day for Fishing”
Earth & Space Science A story about a day of fishing and the sunrise and sunset a girl and her father observe and describe

Lexile: 290

“Henry's Homework Folder” Science A boy solves the problem of forgetting his homework folder—showing that a situation that people want to change can be approached as a problem to be solved

Lexile: 520

2ND GRADE [top]

“Mommy Bird Feeds Her Chicks” Life Science Describes how a mother bird hunts for prey and feeds her baby chicks to ensure their survival

Lexile:  640

“Clara and Phillip the Turtle” Life Science Clara nurses Phillip the turtle back to health by providing food, water and a clean space to live

Lexile: 760

“Mr. Whiskers’ Whiskers” Life Science A mother explains some characteristics of cats and how those characteristics help them grow and survive

Lexile: 490

“Shoot and Score” Physical Science An older sister teaches her younger sister how she can control the motion of a soccer ball

Lexile: 570

“How Rocks are Like Dessert” Earth & Space Science A young girl learns how patterns in rocks are formed through both a visit to her school library and a tiramisu demonstration by her pastry-chef father

Lexile: 610

“Tea with Grandma” Technology & Engineering A narrative about the love between a boy and his grandmother, and how they use different communication devices to connect between Texas and India

Lexile: 600

“Painting a Bus” Science An account of two sisters and their friends brainstorming and collaborating on the best solutions for the transformation of a refrigerator box

Lexile: 380

“Sister Problems” Science A story about an older sister helping to resolve a fight by first gathering all the information and then helping her younger sisters come to a solution

Lexile: 420

“Playtime in the Snow” Science A boy and his mom figure out ways to plays on the slide through changing seasons

Lexile: 670

“Too Much Chocolate” Original Fiction

Lexile: 390

“Learning New Things” Original Fiction

Lexile: 520

“Making Piano Fun”
Original Fiction
Lexile: 560

“Bobby Gets a Doggy” Original Fiction

Lexile: 760

3RD GRADE [top]

“Oral Histories” Original Reporting Provides insight to the uses, benefits, and influences of recording oral history

Lexile: 900

“Portrait of an Artist” Original Reporting An interview with a New York artist reveals both the joy and the challenges of living an artist's lifestyle

Lexile:  720

“The Campanile” Original Reporting Highlights the features and history of the Campanile (aka Sather Tower), a bell tower, in Berkeley, California

Lexile: 910

“The First Greenmarket in NYC” Original Reporting Outlines Barry Benepe’s ideas and actions that led to the creation and success of the first Greenmarket in NYC

Lexile: 750

“Moosewood Restaurant” Original Reporting Presents the background and method behind the Moosewood Collective and their restaurant

Lexile: 850

“Lessons from Fishing” Original Reporting Highlights how fishing has been the lifelong hobby of a teenager named Morgan and how fishing has shaped his perspective on life

Lexile: 780

“A Bit about Buttons” Original Reporting The passage describes the history of buttons and shares many little known facts about them

Lexile: 860

“Computers vs. Books” Social Studies Compares and contrasts the approaches to a school project between a student and her parents

Lexile: 660

“Haboob!” Earth & Space Science Describes the haboob, a severe type of dust storm

Lexile:  770

“Learning on the Soccer Field” Original Fiction

Lexile: 760

“Amra and the Skateboard” Original Fiction

Lexile: 820

“Apple the Cat Calls a Meeting to Order” Original Fiction

Lexile: 710

“Surprise Message” Original Fiction

Lexile: 750

“Reggie the Reader”
Original Fiction
Lexile: 850

“Magic Tomatoes” Original Fiction

Lexile: 850

4TH GRADE [top]

“Reaching for the Sky: A History of Great Buildings” World History How different buildings were built to meet different needs in societies across the world—looks at the construction of the Egyptian pyramids, Mayan pyramids, and European Gothic churches

Lexile: 990

“Oxen” Social Studies Explains different modes of transportation in Cambodia comparing cars, oxen and motor scooters—shows how transportation for Cambodians has both changed over time and stayed the same

Lexile: 950

“Mother Cats and their Kittens” Life Science The behaviors a mother cats and her offspring engage in to help the kittens survive

Lexile: 1060

"Pythons Invade

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the Florida Everglades" Life Science and Earth Science How the characteristics of the Florida Everglades have varied over time, especially the introduction of the Burmese Python and how that has caused a disruption to the ecosystem

Lexile: 940

“Shoot it Harder, Shoot it Softer” Physical Science Displays how a bigger push or pull makes things go faster using the examples of a basketball arcade game and an air hockey game

Lexile: 830

“Lizzie Escapes” Original Fiction

Lexile: 650

“An Unexpected Trip” Original Fiction

Lexile: 690

“Open House” Original Fiction

Lexile: 560

“Remember to Call!”
Original Fiction
Lexile: 600

“The Bird” Original Fiction

Lexile: 810

5TH GRADE [top]

“A New Letter for the Alphabet” Original Reporting Spotlights a man's determination to add the schwa into the English alphabet, looks at his reasoning and his efforts

Lexile: 1040

“Homemade” Original Reporting Highlights the daily life and honed home economics skills of a stay-at-home dad who freelances as a photographer

Lexile: 1060

“The Process of Acting” Original Reporting Describes the typical life of a theater actor including how to try out for and prepare for roles by telling the story of an actress named Becky Baumwoll

Lexile: 940

“The World’s First Modern Shopping Mall” Original Reporting Offers a description of the first enclosed shopping mall and the attractions it offered when it opened in Minnesota in 1956

Lexile: 910

“Adventure on a Hot Air Balloon” Physical Science A story of a man losing and regaining control of his hot air balloon that illustrates how pressure, weight, and the interaction of different gasses affect the flight of a hot air balloon

Lexile: 950

“The Phonograph” Original Fiction

Lexile: 980

“Sherry's Game”
Original Fiction
Lexile: 900

“Unexpected Fortune” Original Fiction

Lexile: 590

6TH GRADE [top]

“A Monument for Peace” U.S. History Details the history behind the Battle of Nashville monument in Tennessee—a national landmark that exemplifies the cherished ideal of peace and honors those who died in the Civil War, regardless of which side they fought for

Lexile: 870

“The Roman Name Game” World History Explores the legend of Romulus and Remus founding Ancient Rome, includes a discussion of the history and origin of the legend

Lexile: 1240

“Never Too Late” Original Reporting Looks into the causes and effects of adult illiteracy for individuals and society in the US today and looks into how some programs are working to help improve the problem

Lexile: 1020

“Grade Six in Edmonton” Original Reporting Presents the school environment, typical traits and thought processes of sixth graders in Edmonton, Canada as they experiment with their sense of identity

Lexile: 1030

“The Film Editor” Original Reporting Illustrates the film editor's role in filmmaking through an interview with a Brooklyn film editor

Lexile: 790

“True Life - I’m a Teacher” Original Reporting

Presents the responsibilities and workload of a teacher by looking at the daily schedule of a 2nd grade teacher

Lexile: 1050

“All the Pieces Matter” Life Science and Earth Science This fictional story of a boy coming to understand his local wildlife reserve describes how an ecosystem functions, varies over time, and how a disruption to any physical or biological component can lead to shifts in all its populations

Lexile: 940

“Mountain or Molehill” Earth & Space Science Describes the history and use of biochar and demonstrates how scientists used systematic processes to evaluate the benefits of biochar for regaining post-mining soil and how they explored different solutions with respect to how well they met the criteria and constraints of their specific problem

Lexile: 1020

"Mr. Max the Math Teacher"
Original Fiction
Lexile: 985

"A Bad Robot" Original Fiction

Lexile: 890

7TH GRADE [top]

“Saichō, Kūkai, the Matrix, and the Diamond” Social Studies Traces the development of two different forms of Japanese Buddhism and the influential teachers that brought them to Japan from China

Lexile: 1090

“A Club for Explorers” Original Reporting A look at the history of the Explorers Club and its members by highlighting a few noteworthy expeditions, including Kon-Tiki

Lexile: 1100

“Who’s That Boy: Boy Actors and Other Strange Things on the Shakespearean Stage” Original Reporting Interesting facts about Shakespeare and his plays and how they violated authority and social norms of the time. The passage also compares theater during Shakespeare’s time with theater and entertainment today.

Lexile: 1020

“The Unknown Hall of Famer” Original Reporting Details the history of stickball and New York City's Stickball Hall of Famer, George "Lolin" Osorio

Lexile: 1220

“Life as a Country Girl” Original Reporting The passage presents the differences and challenges of modern life in a rural community through an interview with a 14 year old girl from West Virginia

Lexile: 1090

“Karate Teacher Rocks” Original Reporting Provides a look into the life of James Clifford as he continues his creative passion of playing in a band, while also staying grounded by teaching

Lexile: 1200

Original Fiction
Lexile: 1070

“Taken by Surprise” Original Fiction

Lexile: 970

8TH GRADE [top]

“Cliff Dwellers” U.S. History Describes the architectural features of the Cliff Palace and the history and culture of the Ancestral Pueblo people that lived there

Lexile: 1220

“When the Empire State Building was New” U.S. History Relying heavily on the primary source of a New York Times article from the time, this passage explores the cause and effect of building The Empire State Building during the Great Depression

Lexile: 1150

“Researchers Beginning to Better Understand False Memory Formation” Original Reporting Showcases an experiment where false memory was implanted into mice and explores the implications the study may have for humans

Lexile: 1270

“Books Through Bars” Original Reporting Highlights the efforts of an organization that donates books to prisoners across the US

Lexile: 1150

“A New Neighborhood Farmers Market” Original Reporting The passage details a program that brings locally produced, fresh fruits and vegetables to poverty-stricken neighborhoods

Lexile: 1200

“Changes in Biodiversity” Life Science The passage discusses different ecosystems, the idea of biodiversity, and food

Lexile: 1410

“The Orchid's Secret” Life Science Details how the varied characteristics of different types of orchids, the lengths humans have gone to find them and how they attract specific insects in order to pollinate

Lexile: 1160

“The Sounds of Baseball” Physical Science An explanation of how vibrations lead to the creation of sound, using a baseball game as an example

Lexile: 1150

“Mount Pinatubo and the Ring of Fire” Earth & Space Science An explanation of the eruption of the volcano Mount Pinatubo in 1990 and the earthquakes that preceded it, as well as a description of tectonic plates and how they created the “Ring of Fire”

Lexile: 1210

“Readiness” Earth & Space Science Examines the relationship of risk and potential harm from natural hazards such as earthquakes and Hurricane Sandy and how people can use these measures to make assessments about where to live and allocate resources

Lexile: 1290

“A Brave New Climate” Earth & Space Science The passage illustrates the responses to the effects of global warming on the change in climate, using Hurricane Sandy as an example. It details the ways in which New York and the surrounding areas were vulnerable, why they were, and offers potential changes.

Lexile: 1300

“How to Make a Better Robot” Technology & Engineering Details the process of designing and redesigning different robots for different functions, highlighting the iterative process of testing and modifying designs

Lexile: 1140

“The Origins of the Internet” Technology & Engineering Chronicles the actions by the government and the individuals involved that led to the first Internet transmission, and describes the day of transmission

Lexile: 1050

Category: Homework

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