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.

The Gift of the Magi

O. Henry, whose real name was William Sydney Porter, wrote the short story “The Gift of the Magi.” It was published in 1910. Below are the opening paragraphs of the story. ———————- One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saved…

Explanation

The Time Machine is the story of a scientist referred to as “the Time Traveller” who builds a machine to travel through time. During one of his trips, he goes over 800,000 years into the future. There he meets the human residents, called Eloi. He rescues an Eloi woman named…

The Emancipation Proclamation

By the President of the United States of America: A Proclamation. WHEREAS, on the twenty-second day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, a proclamation was issued by the President of the United States, containing, among other things, the following, to wit: “That…

The Pit and the Pendulum

In this passage from Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “The Pit and the Pendulum,” the narrator has been convicted during the Spanish Inquisition of an unnamed crime and sentenced to death. He is tied on the floor, and a large sharp blade is swinging back and forth towards his body. …

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth; Then took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps the better…

Primary Source: Votes for Women Ratified

“The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. “Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.” This is the full text of the 19th Amendment to the…

The Extermination of the American Bison

Noted zoologist and wildlife conservationist William Temple Hornaday wrote a book on the state of the American bison, or buffalo, for the Smithsonian Institution. Hornaday’s concern was that the dramatic drop in population of the buffalo might likely lead to its extinction. An estimated 60 million buffalo lived in the…

Romeo Meets Juliet

In this passage from Romeo and Juliet, Romeo first meets Juliet at a party held by her parents. Neither of them know who the other is; they are both the only children of feuding families. They are engaged in a flirtatious conversation. —————————————– Romeo. [To Juliet.] If I profane with…

The Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen

The Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen, written in 1789, is the core document of the French Revolution, establishing the values and principles of the French democracy. It was influenced by the U.S. Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, including the Bill of Rights. In fact, key…

Primary Source: President Lincoln’s Funeral Train

On April 14, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln was shot by an assassin at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C. He died the next day. Lincoln died just days after Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union General Ulysses S. Grant, essentially ending the American Civil War. Lincoln’s assassination stunned and…