A series of reading passages that can be used to help students understand the topics viewed by science.

All of these Science Reading Comprehension worksheets focus on content. They are open reading passages that can be used for a wide range of purposes and that is up to you the teacher. We built this section of worksheets based on the request by the Riverdale Teachers Association. They wanted free range reading passages to be able to use with the Reading in the Content Area classes. One great skill that many teachers apply to this is to have students write questions of their own based on the passage in order to assess comprehension. This is not only a great critical thinking activity, but a solid writing activity. Let us know how you are using these with your classes. The passages range in target reader levels from grade three to grade eight. A great idea is to have students create question sheets to go along with each passage. An answer key for bonus points too.

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Print Science Reading Comprehension Worksheets

Click the buttons to print each worksheet and associated answer key.

Owl Monkey Worksheet

The Owl Monkey

Owl monkeys are unusual because they are the only monkey in the world that sleeps during the day and forages by night. This causes them to have very large, round brown eyes.

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Arbor Day Worksheet

Arbor Day

All the students in Mrs. Wilson's class were excited. Today was Arbor Day and they were having a field trip to plant trees at the park.

Dinosaur Worksheet

Dinosaurs

Dinosaurs lived over 200 million years ago during the Jurassic period until they went extinct during the Cretaceous period. T

Earth Day Worksheet

Earth Day

Mr. Conway told all his student's that Earth Day was coming up soon and they should all come up with an idea for a project. Whichever idea was the best would be the activity that the whole class would participate in on Earth Day.

Shaking Worksheet

What's Shaking

Tyler was listening to Mrs. Wilson talk to the class about history when suddenly the room began to shake. Books fell off of shelves and the lights went out.

Elements and Compounds Worksheet

Elements and Compounds

Elements are the most basic substances that all matter is composed of. A substance that is an element cannot be broken down by chemical reactions into anything simpler.

Environment Worksheet

Ethan and the Environment

Ethan loved the weekends. He got to play his video games on the computer and watch T.V.

Day at the Farm Worksheet

Day at the Farm

All the children in Mrs. Wilson's class climbed onto the big yellow bus, talking excitedly. They were taking a field trip to see a farm. The bus drove a long way past fields of yellow and green, until finally they got to the Patterson Farm and Orchard.

Fun with Food Worksheet

Fun with Food

Mike's class had been learning about food and nutrition. His teacher, Mrs. Fisher decided that every Friday they would have a food party.

Forces of Nature Worksheet

Forces of Nature

Mother Nature is powerful and amazing in ways that are hard to fathom. So much of nature we take for granted without even seeing it; the blue sky above us full of light fluffy clouds or the green grass growing under our feet that we hate to have to mow.

Hurricane Worksheet

Hurricanes

Kevin turned on the TV, excited to watch his favorite show, but the weather was on instead. Kevin sighed, feeling bored. The weatherman kept going on about the ocean having a warm surface temperature, over 80 degrees Fahrenheit and the winds being 38 miles per hour.

Better Bee Worksheet

MayBee a Better Bee

Once there was little bee, who lived in a nest in the ground. She helped dig tunnels under the loose soil with chambers at the end where they stored food for their offspring.

Steve Jobs Worksheet

The Life of Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs was born in San Francisco, CA on February 24, 1955 and adopted by his parents Paul and Clara Jobs. He grew up in Silicon Valley where he developed a love of electronics at an early age.

Human Body Worksheet

The Sticky, Smelly Human Body

The human body is amazing, with bones, muscles, and organs all working together along with a circulatory system and a nervous system.

Drink Stand Worksheet

The Drink Stand

Jake and Anna were having a fundraiser for their team. They got permission to set up a booth in front of the grocery store where they could sell drinks. They had packets of Tropical Punch mix.

Science of Surfing Worksheet

The Science of Surfing

Have you ever watched surfers riding the waves, or even gone surfing yourself? If you have, you've seen physics in action.

World Wide Web Worksheet

Birth of the World Wide Web

We use the internet and the World Wide Web every day, in countless ways. Your parents use it for their jobs, to pay bills, and to find and share information.

Lost Worksheet

Lost

Robert and Emma were lost, and the sky had filled with dark clouds. They both realized that soon it would start raining, and they both wanted to get back to camp before they got soaked.

Baobab Tree Worksheet

The Baobab Tree

Have you seen the movie The Lion King? The wise baboon Rafiki lived inside a big hallow tree. It is called a baobab tree and they can be found in Africa and Australia.

Rainforest Worksheet

My Home in the Rainforest

Welcome to my home here in the rainforest. It’s called that because we get over 80 inches of rain per year.

Simple Machines Worksheet

Simple Machines are Simply Physics

Building machines may seem very technologically advanced, but in truth people have understood and used machines for centuries. A machine is something that makes work easier by changing the direction or amount of force on an object.

Fruit Gets Sorted Worksheet

How Fruit Gets Sorted

The next time you go to the grocery store, take a good look at the produce department.

Hubble Telescope Worksheet

The Hubble Telescope

Imagine what it would be like to see through space, without the Earth’s atmosphere to hinder your view. What if you could see vast distances, hundreds of light years away? J

Tsunami Worksheet

Tsunamis

A tsunami (pronounced soo-NAH-mee) is a series of gigantic waves caused by large displacements of water. The word comes from the Japanese words for harbor and wave.

Volcanoe Worksheet

Battle of the Volcanoes

Nalukea and her brother Alika live in the state of Hawaii. It is actually a group of islands made of five overlapping volcanoes. Two of the volcanoes, Mauna Loa and Kilauea, are both still active and encompass the Hawai i Volcanoes National Park.

Crater Lake Worksheet

Crater Lake

Johnny walked up the steep path of Cleetwood trail through the forest with his dad. No roads had been built leading up to the water’s edge and this was the only way there.

Cloud Worksheet

Clouds

Have you ever looked at the clouds in the sky and noticed how beautiful they are, or tried to find funny shapes in them?

Strategies for Teaching Science Content Reading

As a teacher, you know that some of your students may need guidance when it comes to comprehension of science content. You need to teach them not only how to read science content but also how to think about it critically (as opposed to simply memorizing it).

Science is always helping us better understand the universe. There are many cool things that many of us just do not know. Did you know that fleas have super powers (not really, but it seems like that). If we had the jumping power of fleas, they would need to raise the basketball hoop about 750 feet. A six foot person could easily jump about 760 feet. Did you know that only 1 percent of the water on Earth is drinkable? 97 percent of the water on earth is salt water. The remaining 2 percent is frozen. Another strange one, male seahorses actually give birth to their young.

Here are some strategies for teaching science content reading:

  • Use anticipation guides.
  • Take advantage of KWL charts.
  • Teach students to think critically.
  • Write down the main concepts.
  • Use graphic organizers.
  • Follow up on pre-reading strategies.
  • Encourage group and class discussions.

1. Use Anticipation Guides

An anticipation guide questions students' preconceptions about a particular text before they start reading. It lets them make predictions about the text and helps them read actively as they will want to search for answers to their questions.

Below is a sample of an anticipation guide. The teacher can provide the context questions or concepts that students need to pick up from the text.

You can tailor the format of the anticipation guide to your student's specific needs. The important thing is that it can achieve its main objective.

Claim/Concept/Idea Me Author/Text I think so because...
1. Agree/Disagree Agree/Disagree  
2. Agree/Disagree Agree/Disagree  
3. Agree/Disagree Agree/Disagree  

2. Take Advantage of KWL Charts

Answering this chart helps students activate similar or relevant knowledge related to the content.

Here's a sample KWL chart:

What do I know? What do I want to know/ learn? What have I learned (from the previous text/s)?
     

This chart can be filled out along with the class. Recreate the table on the board and write as you discuss it with your students.

You can also print out copies of a blank chart for students to fill out on their own for any readings that will follow.

3. Teach Students To Think Critically

While reading the science content, teachers and students can ask back and forth questions about the text. That way, when there's something the student doesn't understand or if they need further clarification, they can ask the teacher while reading the content in class.

4. Write Down the Main Concepts

To reduce the chance of speed-reading, the teacher can require the student to write down the main ideas and concepts of each paragraph in the text. This helps ensure they take the time to read actively, understand the text, and be able to apply what they learn accordingly.

5. Use Graphic Organizers

Teachers can give their students samples of graphic organizers so they can organize the information they read into visual diagrams, charts, or maps. These help students find relationships between ideas and concepts presented in the text. Graphic organizers are especially useful for students who are visual learners.

Some examples of graphic organizers include:

  • Venn Diagram
  • Sequence Chart
  • Main Idea Web
  • T- Chart
  • Concept Map

6. Follow Up on Pre-Reading Strategies

The columns and questions in pre-reading strategies (i.e. the anticipation guide and KWL chart) can also be answered after reading the text. For example, you can follow up on the anticipation guide's questions regarding the author's views or stance on specific concepts.

Likewise, the KWL guide can be filled out a second time to see how the student's answers have changed after reading the content. They can give evidence from the text that supports their answers.

7. Encourage Group and Class Discussions

Learning shouldn't stop once students have finished reading the text. Teachers can present students with a writing prompt or questions about the text. Discussions can occur by breaking the class into smaller groups or engaging the class as a whole.

Attack the text with questions like "Why?", "Why not?" or "How?" All of these will urge students to think more about what they have read beyond the four walls of the science classroom.