Looking to re-engage your students and boost their motivation to get out of a mid-year slump? Assign these 10 nonfiction and fiction passages about courage from ReadWorks’ free digital library. These high-quality passages explore the triumphs and challenges of pilots, suffragettes, athletes, and more.
Teaching about persistence provides opportunities for students to recognize their own strengths and help build their resilience when faced with difficulties. These short, accessible texts also serve as great jumping-off points for students to work on their critical thinking skills while building background knowledge.
Kindergarten: Story Day Surprise
This fiction text explores Cedro’s experience as a bilingual student during story day at the library. Will he be brave enough to ask the storyteller to read a new book he finds?
1st Grade: Hazel Ying Lee
Learn about the perseverance of Hazel Ying Lee, the first Chinese American woman to get her pilot’s license.
2nd Grade: Female Heroes in American History
ReadWorks’ Paired Texts allow students to build vocabulary and knowledge quickly on a related topic. Explore the courageous feats of Harriet Tubman and Elizabeth Blackwell.
3rd Grade: The Wounded Warriors
Discover the athletic talents of The Wounded Warrior Amputee Football Team and how they find joy through sports and community.
4th Grade: The Wheelchair Stunt Master
Aaron Fotheringham went viral after perfecting a daring stunt with a wheelchair. One of his goals is to inspire others to see their disability as a positive thing in their life.
5th Grade: The Legend of the Goddess Tin Hau, or Mazu
The Goddess Mazu displays a balanced courage while attempting to save her brothers in this Indigenous Chinese myth.
6th Grade: Important Cree Chiefs
Explores the many ways Cree chiefs have demonstrated their bravery by fighting to preserve their culture and independence.
7th Grade: The Boy Who Didn’t Want to Catch
In this fiction text, David must decide if he can “step up to the plate” when his teammates need his help.
8th Grade: Life Story: Mary Church Terrell
ReadWorks has partnered with the New York Historical Society to provide this passage about Mary Church Terrell, a Black activist who used her voice to speak out against racism and misogyny.
9-12th Grade: Fighting for Their Lives
Find out how Indigenous women and girls from the Blackfeet Nation Boxing Club are fighting against violence.
These passages can easily supplement your ELA curriculum and challenge your students to set big goals for themselves. Each passage also comes with text-dependent question sets to improve reading comprehension skills.
Caitlyn Meagher, Customer Service Specialist