A box of colors

Words: 201-300

Skills: Main / Central Idea Summary

Grades: 2nd 3rd

Topics: History

Genres: Informational

Lexile Range: 420L - 730L

Lexile Measure: 650L

CCSS: Reading: Informational Text

Themes:

A Box of Colors


by RV staff writer

Students will read a passage about the invention of crayons. Then students will answer questions about main idea and details, author’s purpose, making inferences, and cause and effect.

Reading Comprehension Passage

A Box of Colors

by RV staff writer

What common art supply can be found in almost any school in America? If you said crayons, you would be right. Children love making art with the waxy sticks of colors. Let’s take a look at how crayons were invented.

Edwin Binney and Harold Smith were business partners. One of their early products was red barn paint. They also made the first dustless chalk for classrooms. This invention won a gold medal at the World’s Fair!

Soon Binney and Smith wanted to make something new. Sticks of colored wax had been around for a while, but they were expensive and mostly used by artists. Many of these color sticks had toxic, or harmful, things in them to make the colors. 

Binney and Smith worked until they found a way to make the crayons safe for children. In 1903, the partners made their first box of safe and colorful crayons. This box of colors cost one nickel. Inside were eight crayons: red, blue, yellow, green, violet, orange, brown, and black. Now children everywhere could create colorful art.

Over the years, the two partners continued to find ways to improve crayons. In 1949, they made a bigger box that held 48 crayons. A few years later, they made an even bigger box to hold 64 crayons and added a sharpener. In 2003, the crayon company was 100 years old. To celebrate, they made the world’s largest crayon. It weighed 1,500 pounds and was 15 feet long!

Passage Only

Reading Comprehension Questions

1. Why did the author write this passage?



2. How do you know that Binney and Smith were good inventors?



3. What is the main idea of the last paragraph?



4. Using text evidence, explain why colored wax sticks were not used by children until Binney and Smith invented the crayon.


Vocabulary List

Vocabulary List

Each of the vocabulary words below are used in the reading passage. As you read the passage, pay attention to context clues that suggest the word’s meaning.

  1. supply
  2. products
  3. toxic
  4. create
  5. improve

Context Clues

Context Clues

Using context clues from the sentences in the passage, underline the correct meaning of the word in boldface.

1. "What common art supply can be found in almost any school in America?"

a. materials or equipment     b. teacher c. show         d. meeting group

2. "One of their early products was red barn paint."

a. vegetables    b. math answers          c. ideas                        d. items for sale, goods

3. "Many of these color sticks had toxic, or harmful, things in them"

a. waxy           b. harmful, poisonous             c. colorful                    d. beautiful     

4. "Now children everywhere could create colorful art."

a. buy              b. sell               c. make, invent            d. look at, observe      

5. " the two partners continued to find ways to  improve crayons."

a. melt, break, destroy            b. add              c. receive                     d. make better