Robert Louis Stevenson: Pirate Tales, Treasure Maps, and Monsters
Reading Comprehension Activity

Students will read a passage about Robert Louis Stevenson and learn about his famous books and stories. Students will then answer questions about the facts in the passage and use context clues to determine the meaning of words.

Topic(s): History. Skill(s): Summary, Context Clues. Genre(s): Informational, Biography / Autobiography

Click for the passage & questions on one printable PDF.


Robert Louis Stevenson was born on November 13, 1850 in Edinburgh, Scotland. He was very sick as a child. He suffered from fevers and coughs which confined him to bed. His imagination kept him company. He loved listening to stories and dreaming up stories.

Robert’s father wanted him to study science in college. His father was a lighthouse engineer. He wanted Robert to be an engineer too. But Robert Louis Stevenson wanted to be a writer. He began to travel to different countries like England and France. He wrote about his travels and adventures. The title of his first book was An Inland Voyage. The book was about a canoe trip he made between Belgium and France.

In 1879, Robert traveled from Europe to America for the first time. He wrote about his journey on a steamship across the ocean. He also wrote about traveling by train from New York to California.  In 1880, Robert married an American woman named Fanny Osbourne. They lived in many different European cities. Robert still suffered from fevers and coughs even as an adult. He never stopped writing though. His stories and imagination continued to keep him company.

Treasure Island is one of his most famous books. It is an adventure story about pirates and the search for buried treasure. He also wrote the story The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It is about a man who turns into a monster and then back into a man. The Black Arrow is another of Robert Louis Stevenson’s famous books. It is an adventure story about knights set in the Tunstall Forest in England.
He continued to travel the world after these books were published. He sailed to many of the islands in the Pacific Ocean. He and his family decided to move to the Samoan Islands. These islands are located in the southern Pacific Ocean. Robert wrote novels and short stories inspired by his island adventures. He wrote the shipwreck mystery story The Wrecker. He also wrote the short stories “The Bottle Imp” and “The Isle of Voices.” He wrote about his island travels in his book In the South Seas.

Robert Louis Stevenson died on December 3, 1894. He was only 44 years old when he passed away. His books and stories have been translated into many different languages. He was one of the most famous writers of the 19th century and is still popular today.

Comprehension Questions

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