8th Grade Reading Comprehension Passages

Reading Passages, Questions & Answers - Eigth Grade

Below you’ll find 8th grade reading comprehension passages along with questions and answers and related vocabulary activities. Great for reading skills development  for middle and rising high school students.

Sword Fight

This passage from Act III, Scene 1 of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is the sword fight between Mercutio, Romeo’s friend, and Tybalt, Juliet’s cousin. As the scene opens, Mercutio is in the a public square with Benvolio and some servants when Tybalt and his friends arrive. An argument starts,…

Gibraltar

Published in 1869, Mark Twain’s book The Innocents Abroad tells of his trip through Europe and the Mideast in 1867. In this passage, Twain has arrived in Gibraltar, gateway to the Mediterranean Sea. He is taking a tour of Rock of Gibraltar and has already heard the story of the…

Survival!

When Aiden asked me to accompany him on a camping trip to the mountains, I envisioned a log cabin with a crackling fireplace, hot cocoa, and bunk beds. Imagine how my rustic, yet comfortable image of camping became a nightmare when Aiden and his older brother, Lebron, showed up with…

Primary Source: The 1896 East St. Louis Tornado

On the afternoon of May 27, 1896, a Category 4 tornado hit St. Louis, Missouri and East St. Louis, Illinois. It is the third deadliest tornado in U.S. history, and one of the rare ones to hit a large urban area. Below is a report from The Illinois State Journal…

Mary Chesnut: The Firing on Ft. Sumter

Mary Boykin Miller Chesnut (1823-1886) was a prominent woman from South Carolina. Her husband, James Chesnut, was a U.S. Senator before the Civil War. Well-educated, intelligent, and well-connected, Mary understood, as the Civil War began, she had a front row seat to a historic moment in history. She began recording…

All the World’s a Stage

All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players: They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts, His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant, Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms. And then the whining school-boy,…

Primary Source: Opening of the Panama Canal

Formally opened on August 15, 1914, the Panama Canal was considered a “wonder of the modern world.” The project involved digging over 50 miles across the tropical Isthmus of Panama to connect the Atlantic Ocean/Gulf of Mexico with the Pacific Ocean. Previously, to navigate from one ocean to another required…

Primary Source: The Statue of Liberty

Designed by Frenchman Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, the construction of The Statue of Liberty began in the 1870s. Originally named “Liberty Enlightening the World,” the statue was erected in New York Harbor and officially dedicated on October 28, 1886. However, bad weather postponed the fireworks display that had been planned for…

Washington. The Legislature. And The President’s House

In 1842 Charles Dickens was probably the most famous English language author in the world. He was received around the world as a major celebrity, often mobbed by fans. It was in that year that Dickens visited the United States. He wrote and published his thoughts about his visit in…

Pygmalion: Henry and Eliza

George Bernard Shaw’s play Pygmalion was the basis for the famous musical My Fair Lady. First performed in 1913, Pygmalion is the story of Eliza Doolittle, a poor and unsophisticated flower seller on the streets of London, who wants to learn to speak “like a lady.” In this passage from…