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Outstanding Science Reading Passages that Will Engage Students

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Why are Science Reading Passage Essential?

As a former classroom teacher and English Language Arts Curriculum Coordinator,  I find that having quality science reading material is a must.  First of all, according to the Common Core standards, 50% of all reading should be non-fiction text.  Reading about science topics is an easy way to integrate science into the school day.  I find that many students who are reluctant to read are more engaged with science topics than any other type of reading.  Science tends to be a high-interest subject. Besides this, science literacy promotes critical thinking based on facts and observation.  Making predictions and inferences come naturally in science.  Above all, students with a rich understanding of science will be able to make informed decisions about everyday issues that they face.

Science Reading Passages for Primary Grades

Because of my experience in special education and regular education, I know how important differentiation is.  I have developed guided reading booklets for all of the kindergarten based on the Next Generation Science Standards.  These can easily be used in first grade as well.  Each passage is written on three reading levels ranging from kindergarten to second grade.  Vocabulary cards for discussion and definition cards for matching are included.

Here’s what two teachers wrote about our differentiated primary reading passages, “I used this resource to plan and incorporate with my lesson plans for this year’s virtual school. It is a wonderful resource!” and “Anytime I can put more books in my students’ hands the better! This was a great resource for my students.”

I have also written passages for use with primary grades that can be differentiated by having an adult read to the student, partner reading, choral reading as a class, or assigning the reading to an individual.  These all come with a STEAM challenge!

science reading passages for kindergarten link              non-fiction texts with STEM challenges

Science Texts for Upper Elementary Grades

Additionally, I created reading passages for many of the science topics in the upper elementary grades.  Most of these are based on one topic such as plant adaptations.  Unlike the passages for guided reading, there isn’t a single passage on three different levels.  Instead, I wrote from five to ten articles on different topics within the overarching topic.  The texts vary in reading difficulty and length, making it easy to differentiate.  Each set of texts also come with a graphic organizer, increasing student engagement.

The feedback we have received supports this.  “Great resource!  Students of all ability levels were able to use them.”

“Great way for the kids to independently read and analyze what they learned through the use of the graphic organizer. They individually picked what they wanted to read about and then they shared with each other. It was a high-interest activity.”

“Aligned extremely well with the curriculum in science class”.  I was able to help reinforce the concepts and subject matter while working on reading skill”

     How These Science Reading Passages Are Used By Teachers

  1.  Partner Reading – Both students read at the same time using a whisper voice with one person pointing at the text.
  2.  Jigsaw Reading – Students read one passage as a group and become “experts” on it.  Then, they share what they have learned with the group.
  3. The articles are used at centers or stations.
  4. Classes use them as research references.
  5. Students use the information they have written in their graphic organizers for extended writing activities.
  6.  Students create posters based on information from the reading and then give an oral presentation to the class.
  7. To teach domain-specific vocabulary.
  8.  Used during intervention to reinforce concepts and subject matter
  9. Early finisher activity
  10. Extension activity beyond the current unit
  11. Homework
  12. Left for a substitute for a science class

science reading passages that are differentiated link

We have added more science reading passages for upper elementary and middle school students.

Animals that Live in Groups              Interesting Animals

Endangered Animal Species           Endangered Plant Species

Invasive Animal Species                  Invasive Plant Species


Middle School Articles

Our middle school science reading passages are one-hit wonders that correspond with the NGSS.  They are perfect to use as a supplement to existing science units and can be incorporated into English Language Arts classes.  They come with questions and answer keys.

science reading passages for middle school                    STEM posters and readings link

We also have Middle School Science: Human Activity Non-Fiction Texts

Free Science Reading Passages

Science News for Students is an excellent site for free science texts.  It provides a wide variety of articles for students ages 9 to 14.  Articles are based on current events and research.  There are “News Stories” that are short passages, as well as “Feature Articles” that are longer.  Featured articles come out about once a week, and include research done by several scientists.  Most articles are followed by a “Power Word”  section highlighting and defining science vocabulary.  Besides the “Power Words,”  there are citations to work and links to other related articles.

Additionally, teachers and parents can provide their email address to access more free resources.  These resources include standards, readability scores, discussion questions, and more!

Another post you might enjoy is Connecting Literacy and Science is Easier Than You Think!  This blog gives a comparison of how the Six Basic Science Process Skills and the The “Super Six” Literacy Strategies overlap.

Given so many great choices, chose one, and start increasing your students’ science literacy today!

And remember, it’s all science!


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