Decodable non-fiction passages
These passages have been written to a 1st grade level. If they are too easy for your students, try these 2nd grade versions.
Feel free to write these passages on the board, print them, or put them on an overhead projector. (If you would like to submit a decodable story you have authored, you can do so here.)
 Frog Facts
A frog is an animal. Its skin is slick. It can slip in your hand. It can swim and it can go on land.
If it gets hungry, it sits still until a bug lands by it. Then it snaps the bug up.
A frog sits on a log to rest. Then it jumps off from the log for a swim. Frogs jump well, and they swim well.
Print an illustrated version of Frog Facts here.
 A Camping Trip
Camping can be fun. But you must pack well.
Bring a tent. Bring a grill. And bring a big bag that you can fill with candy and cans of pop. If you travel in a truck, you can put the tent and the grill in back.
It helps to put a soft mat in the tent. If not, you can end up with a stiff back.
 Planting Crops
A big plot of land with a lot of plants on it is said to be a crop.
Crops are planted. Lots of plants can be crops: bananas, carrots, and melons. Cotton is a crop, as well.
You have to get crops wet often. The sun helps crops get big.
You cannot let pests kill the plants.
Frost can kill crops as well. But you cannot stop frost. You just have to have luck.
 An Atlas
An atlas is a set of maps. It can help you if you are on a trip and you end up lost.
It is not fun to be lost. You can drift along for miles. Often, we will not stop to ask for help. If we need help, we should use an atlas. It has maps of a lot of places.
You can find a map of your city, state, or country. An atlas can be very helpful if you don't know where you are.
 A Picnic
In the spring, it is fun to have a picnic. Pick a sunny spot on the grass. Put a big blanket there to sit on.
Fill a basket with snacks, pop, and cups. There are flaps on the picnic basket. They stop insects from jumping in.
A picnic next to a pond can be fun. You can toss snacks to the ducks. You can swim in the pond.
Cats are fun and fluffy. They are often kept as pets.
If a cat falls, it will land on its legs the best that it can.
Cats do not have a lot of trust. They will run from a sudden upset. For a cat, one big upset is a dog.
An adult cat can be fat. It can be slim. If a cat is not an adult yet, it is still a kitten.
[Note: For this piece you will need to help students read “cows” and “cowboys.”]
Texas is a big land in America. There are lots of cows and cowboys in Texas. There is a lot of dust there as well.
Texas cowboys dress well for the jobs they do. They have strong jackets, and hats that block the sun.
A lot of Texas is flat grass land. But it has hills and cliffs as well.
If you travel to Texas, it will help if you have a big map.
There are a lot of insects. Insects (or bugs) can be pests.
Pests attack crops. They attack animals and us, as well. Pests can bite.
The cricket is an insect. It is big and black. It can jump as fast as a frog. In fact, it must. Frogs often hunt crickets.
The ant is not as big as the cricket. Ants are strong. They dig tunnels in the sand.
 Fun Family Trips
A family trip can be a lot of fun.
You can visit granddad.
You can travel to a festival.
You can get a cabin by a pond.
A big family will often travel in a van. But if you must cross America, you can hit a lot of traffic.
Traffic is not fun.
You can travel on a jet. Then you will skip the traffic. You can get to a spot fast. But you must get a ticket to travel on a jet.
 Rocket Blastoff
You can get off the planet in a rocket. You sit in a pod at the tip of a rocket. Strap in well.
The rocket blasts from its stand. It lifts the pod with it. The rocket and pod are fast.
Up, up, up!
They lift up until the rocket's tank is empty. The rocket will cut off from the pod as the tank runs empty. But the pod will not stop.
If you get a bad cut, tell Mom or Dad. They will dab it with stuff that smells funny. It can sting. But it helps the cut. Then the cut will get a scab on top.
Do not pick that scab! It is doing its job. It must be there to help the cut get well.
Mom or Dad will hug and kiss you. That is a big help!
It is fun to be in a sandbox.
You can pack sand in a cup. Tip the sand from the cup. You get a sand block. Wet sand is best for this. The sand blocks are stronger if the sand is wet.
If the sand is not wet, you can spill it from the cup, and get a sandy hill. Is the hill big? Or will the sand spill flat?
Wet or not, a sandbox is lots of fun!
 A Pond
What is in that pond?
There is a log in the pond. It is wet and rotten.
A duck is in the pond. The duck swims and swims.
There are plants in the pond. The pond is in full sun, and the plants get big. There are lots of plants.
There is mud in the pond, as well. A frog is hidden in the mud. You can spot him if you are fast.
What is there to do? Get a hobby. It is fun to have a hobby. A hobby is what you do if it gets dull.
There are lots to pick from.
You can sing.
You can do crafts.
You can swim.
Ping pong is a fun hobby.
Or, you can act. Do a skit with a buddy.
You do not have to pick just one.
 A Magnet Experiment
What can a magnet do? It can pull metal.
This is an experiment: mix bits of metal with sand. Mix it well. Can you get the metal back? It is difficult! You cannot get the metal bits by hand.
Run the magnet along the sand. The metal bits will stick to the magnet.
You can pull metal bits from the sand with a magnet.
 Snack Well
Are you hungry? Then snack.
Will you get fat from snacks? Yes, if you snack on candy. But lots of snacks will not get you fat.
Not just salads. Plums can be black or red. They are dandy snacks, big and plump.
Milk is a snack, as well.
Nuts help you get full.
Snack well. You can be fit with snacks!
 Sticky Stuff
Jam is sticky. Pam got red jam on her dress. Her dress stuck to her leg.
Gum is sticky. Kim got gum on her blanket. Her blanket stuck to her bed!
Sap is sticky. Dan sat on a stump. He got sap on his leg. He stuck to the stump.
Mud is sticky. Jeff fell in the wet grass. Mud stuck to him.
What else is sticky?
 Fox Kits Frisk
Fox kits are red animals. They have black legs. They frisk in the grass.
Run, fox kits!
Jump, fox kits!
Dig, fox kits!
The kits get strong from frisking. They will hunt as they get big.
Adult foxes hunt rats. And they hunt bugs.
The fox kits frisk as a lesson for hunting.
Then they rest in the den. Rest well, fox kits.
 Camping Pandas
What is there to do at camp? The Panda Family will do fun things!
They travel in the truck. They stop on a hill.
Dad Panda gets the camping stuff from the back of the truck.
Mom Panda puts up a tent.
Sis Panda gets a big log.
The Panda family sits on the log and sings camping songs.
They swim in the pond. They hunt frogs. They rest in the tent.
Camping is a fun family hobby.
 Robin Moms
Kids have moms. Animals have moms, as well. Animal moms have jobs.
Robin mom must plan a nest. The nest is for her eggs. She puts twigs and grass in the nest.
She sits on the eggs. She sits. And she sits.
Then there is a crack in an egg. The crack gets big.
A bill pecks up from the crack. The rest of the eggs crack and split.
Six hungry robins.
A robin family!
 Can a Carrot Jump?
Can a carrot jump? Ask a carrot to jump. It will not.
Giving it a kick is not helpful.
You can pick it up and drop it. But that is not exactly a jump, is it?
Toss the carrot. It flops to the grass. That is still not a jump.
The problem is that carrots cannot have legs.
Carrots cannot jump.
 It’s Spring!
Get rid of the sled--it's spring! What will happen in the spring?
The grass pops up.
The robins are back. They have a nest with eggs.
The ducks are back as well. They are in the pond.
Frogs sing in the spring.
It can be sunny. But it can be damp.
Drip, drip. You can get wet! Bring an umbrella. Then you will not get wet.
The sun is strong. Skin tans in the sun. But skin can get red in the sun. It gets hot as well.
Dan will swim. He puts sunblock on. Dan gets wet. He then puts on extra sunblock. Dan's skin will not be red.
Kim plays tennis. It is sunny. Kim puts on sunblock. Kim puts on a hat, as well. The brim of the hat is big. It blocks the sun. Kim's skin will not be red.
Hank sits on the sand. The sun is up. The sand is hot. Hank puts up an umbrella. The umbrella blocks the sun. Hank's skin will not be red.
Jack thinks a suntan is splendid. He sits in the sun. The sun is strong and hot. Jack's skin tans. Jack swims with Dan. Jack plays tennis with Kim. Jack sits on the sand with Hank.
"You are red!" yells Hank.
Jack's skin is hot and red. He sits by Hank. The umbrella blocks the sun.
 Tim had Mumps
Tim got mumps. He was hot. He felt sick. His neck felt big and hot. He had to rest in bed. Granddad sat by the bed. "Drink this milk," said Granddad. "It will help." Tim drank the milk.
"What else can we do?" said Tim. Tim was upset. The mumps were not fun. "Just rest," said Granddad.
Tim felt rotten. He rested with a snug blanket. It was dull. "Can I get up?" Tim said to Granddad. "Not yet," Granddad said.
"I had mumps," said Granddad. "I was seven."
"You were not seven," said Tim. Granddad at seven? Funny. Tim grinned. Then he slept.
"Still sick?" said Granddad as Tim got up. "Yes," said Tim. The bed was damp. He let Granddad fix up the bed. Then he got back in.
Tim rested, and rested. And then he got strong. "Yes!" he said, jumping from the bed. "I got rid of the mumps!"
 Pets, Pets, Pets!
Lots of animals can be splendid pets.
Dogs are fun pets for kids. Dogs must have a spot to run and sniff. They will nap in bed with you if Mom and Dad have said they can.
Cats are funny pets. They are swift as they hunt. But they nap a lot. Mom and Dad cannot stop cats from napping on the bed! Cats do what they will.
If you do not have a big spot for a pet, get a rabbit. Rabbits are fluffy and soft. They snack on plants. You can bring a carrot to the rabbit. It will be glad.
Ants can be pets, as well. They can be kept in a plastic box full of sand. They do not nap in bed with you. But they dig tunnels in the sand.
And then there are animals that are not splendid pets. There are not a lot of kids that have a pet hippo!
 Sod Cabins
It is the spring of 1880. A family travels across America. They travel in a wagon. An ox pulls the wagon. The family must stop and rest. A cabin will be splendid. But there is not a lot of stuff to craft a cabin with. If there are not trees to cut, the family will cut sod.
What is sod? Sod is grass, with the land that it is planted in. There is plenty of sod to cut. Sod is cut with an axe. Men cut the land and pull up sod.
Bricks are cut from the sod. The family crafts a cabin from the bricks. They will stop the cabin from getting wet. They put mud on the sod cabin. The mud gets solid in the sun. It is damp in the sod cabin. But it was fast to craft. And it is snug.
What is golf?
You can golf. Gram, Gramp, Mom, Dad, sis and you can all golf.
In golf, you hit a ball, a golf ball. You hit the ball at a flag. The flag is in a cup. The cup is far. The flag is in the cup to help you see the cup.
You swing a golf club to hit the ball. You must hit the ball far. You must swing well to hit the ball far. By the cup, you must have a soft swing. In golf, you must adjust the swing.
Golf can be fun. But, I admit, it can be difficult.
If you hit in the sand, you have a problem. You can hit from the sand. It is difficult, but you can do it.
If you hit in the pond, you have a big problem. You cannot hit from the pond.
Golf can be fun for all, but golf can be difficult.
 Sip, Gulp, Drink
You cannot drink a bell.
You cannot sip a smell.
You cannot drink the sand.
You cannot sip the land.
You cannot drink a hen.
You cannot sip her pen.
You cannot drink a cat.
You cannot sip a bat.
But , you must drink to be living. That is a fact.
You can gulp from a gallon. You can sip milk from a cup. But, you must drink to be living and so must a pup.
You can tip a jug to your mug. Or you can sip from the sink. But, you must get a drink, if you plan to get to think.
You can toss back a pop. You can suck on a drop. But, you must get a drink or this fun will stop.
You can tip a glass to Tad, or beg a drink from Dan. But, you must get a drink if you are a living man.
What can run?
A rabbit can run, and yes, a cat can run as well.
What else can run?
A duck with luck, a cop with pop, and a skunk with spunk, can all run.
What can run?
A puppy or a pup and a kitten, can all run.
Can Granddad Gus run?
Yes silly, Granddad Gus, can run. He is as fast as Granddad Dan.
What else can run fast?
A rabbit, an elk, and dog can all run fast.
And you, you can run fast. You can jog. You can sprint, and you can zip.
Why do we run?
Why do we run? We run to get there fast. We run to not be last. We run to win, we run for fun.
And what if we did run?
Then we rest.
What is tennis?
In tennis, you hit a ball, a tennis ball.
You toss a ball up. Then you hit the ball.
You hit the ball with a racket, a tennis racket.
You hit the ball past a net.
A buddy will hit the ball back.
You must run to get to the ball.
You run fast, and then hit the ball back to your buddy.
Tennis can be fun.
 A Nanny
Ben has a nanny.
What is a nanny?
A nanny is an adult who can be with you when mom or dad cannot be.
Why can’t mom or dad be with me?
Well, if they have a job, and you cannot be at the job.
Is a nanny fun?
They can be, but they can tell you to go to bed as well.
That is not fun.
 An Experiment
What is an experiment?
In an experiment, you test a problem. You can test a lot of stuff.
Why does a skunk stink? An experiment will tell you.
Will a melon melt? An experiment will tell you.
Will the rock sink the raft? An experiment will tell you.
You can test a lot of stuff.
Can a clam clap? An experiment can tell you.
If you jog, can you still jump? An experiment can tell you.
Will begging get you a puppy?
An experiment can tell you. If you experiment, get an adult to help you.
 A Job
Why do Mom and Dad have to have a job?
Mom and Dad have to have a job to get stuff.
A bed, the stuff we drink, and the stuff we fill our tummy with, we get them all from the job that Mom or Dad have.
Did the jelly and the jam come from the job? Yes.
Did the milk and the ham come from the job? Yes.
All come from the job? Yes.
 A Cast
What is a cast for? A cast is to help a body part be kept still.
Maybe a leg has a crack. A cast is to help fix the crack.
To fix a crack the body part must rest. The body part must be kept still.
It is difficult to have a body part be still. With a cast, the part is held still.
A cast helps fix a crack.
A cast helps the body part be still.
 A Body
Your body has a lot of stuff. A neck, a belly, and a scalp, are all part of your body. Can you think of other body parts that are just one?
Your leg has a twin, your hand has a twin, and your lip has a twin, as well. Can you think of other body parts that have a twin?
With your body, you can do a lot of stuff.
With your body, you can jump. With your body, you can blink.
With your body, you can spit. With your body, you can wink.
Can you think of other stuff you can do with your body can do?
Your body can be in a lot of stuff?
Your body can be in a bed. Your body can be in a truck.
Your body can be in a cabin. Your body can be in for luck.
Can you think of other stuff your body can be in?
 Stuck in Traffic
To be stuck in traffic is not fun. To be stuck in traffic is difficult. It is so dull.
You must think. Think of what you can do to help the dullness pass.
You can add. If you add, that may help you pass the dullness. Add all the grumps stuck in traffic with you.
If that will not help, if that will not pass the dullness, you can sing.
Sing a song of Sorry. So sorry you are stuck in traffic, but I am with you and I will sing for you…
(Sing a song and add to it: I am sorry to be stuck in traffic but maybe singing will help…)
If that will not help, if that will not pass the dullness, you can spell.
Spell all the stuff you can smell as you are stuck in traffic.
If that will not help you pass the dullness of traffic, I think it is best to just rest.
What do you do with a spill?
Do you dip the dog in it? No.
Do you con the cat with it? No.
Do you plop the puppy in it?
Do you kid the kitten with it?
Do you dust it, drink it, smack, slap or think it?
No, no, no, no, no, and NO!
Do you ask your Mom or Dad to help you with the mop or napkin?
Yes, that will be best.
What is a bag helpful for?
A bag is helpful to carry stuff.
You can put stuff in a bag.
What can be in a bag?
A lot can be in a bag.
A bag can have a lot of stuff in it.
A bag can have a bat and ball.
Or, if you get milk, a bell, and candy, a bag can carry it all.
That is what a bag is for, to carry stuff.
Do you hate to put a hat on? Hats can be ugly. Hats can get lost. But hats can be fun, as well.
A top hat is splendid with a cape.
And a silly hat is fun on a dull trip.
You can get a cap with a big bill for ball games.
Do not hate the hat--just get one that is fun!
 At a Lake
If you are at the lake and you cannot swim, you can still have fun. You can wade! You will not get as wet.
Stand in the sand. The lake will lap at bare legs.
Travel along the rim. Pick up rocks. You can skip the rocks that are flat.
Then travel back to the spot you came in.
It is fun to wade.
The attic is a place to put stuff. It can be hot.
There can be dust on the things up there. But things are safe in the attic. They will not get damp.
If the things are in boxes, dust will not get on them.
Do you have an attic? What is up there? A lamp shade? A cane? Or just boxes and dust?
Are rocks alive? You can find rocks in the grass, and in the sand.
Are there legs on a rock? Tap the rock. It cannot run.
A rock will not drink.
Step on a rock--it will not mind. It will not yell or be upset.
Put nine big rocks in a pile. Sit with the pile. It is still.
The rocks are not alive.
 Wide Stuff
Wide stuff is big, but just from side to side.
A wide truck must drive in a wide spot.
A wide man puts on wide pants. A wide pig must have a wide pen.
A wide pond can have a lot of fun spots to swim.
What if I have a wide grin? Then you must be funny!
What else is wide?
 Native American Crafts
Native Americans made crafts.
They made crafts from grass. They made baskets and rope from grass.
They made crafts from hides. They made tents from hides. They wore hides as well.
They made crafts from horns. They had cups made from animal horns.
They made crafts from bones. They dug with bones to plant the crops.
Native Americans made fine crafts.
 Get an Adult!
If you are alone, do not mess with the stove. The stove gets hot.
The pots on top get hot. Let an adult do the job.
Do not mess with the hose if you are alone. Let an adult help you with it.
Do not swim if you are alone. An adult must be there, as well.
Adults will help you with this stuff.
 Pull, Ox! Pull, Mule!
Animals can help us pull. If you put a yoke on an ox or a mule, it can pull a wagon.
The yoke fits on the animal's neck.
There is a pole on the yoke.
A rope is on the end of the pole.
We fasten the rope to the wagon the animals will pull.
Pull, ox! Pull, mule!
Animals do lots of jobs.
 Mole Hole
The home of a mole is in a hole.
The mole digs the hole. It digs and digs.
The hole sits upon a hill--a mole hill!
Moles have strong noses. A mole smells the hole with its nose. It can smell for bugs.
Moles snack on bugs. There are many bugs in the land. They are great snacks for moles.
 Rate It!
If you like stuff or not, you can make a list.
Rate it! Put a score on it. Make a game of it.
Put a bad score on stuff you hate.
Put a huge score on stuff that is fine.
You can rate a cake.
You can rate a tale.
You can rate a game.
You can rate a tune.
Lots of stuff gets rated.
 Jellyfish are not Jelly
A Jellyfish is not made of jelly! It is an animal of the sea.
It can be round. It can be the shape of a bell.
It has lots of arms that hang from its body like ribbons.
Jellyfish are hard to see.
If you wade in the sea, stay away from them. They can sting you!
If you see a still jellyfish on the shore, do not poke it. It can sting you from there.
 Put Things Away!
Bob's home is a mess. If he can put things away, his home will be neat.
Can Bob store things? He can if there is an attic on his home.
If there is not an attic, Bob can store things in his closet.
His things will be safe there.
Bob can store small things under his bed, as well.
Bob did put things away. He made his home neat.
 Sloan’s Bees
Sloan keeps bees. The bees are in a hive.
Sloan made the hive. The hive is made of screens on frames.
There is a queen bee in the hive.
The other bees see the farm near the hive.
They visit the crops. They buzz from plant to plant.
Sloan will not rile up his bees. He will not get stung.
Sloan likes his bees!
 Limes Cure Scurvy
In the past, men got sick from sailing far on a ship.
They were pale. They felt bad. What made them sick?
A doctor saw the problem. They just ate meat and grain.
But, they needed all sorts of food.
They started to take limes on the ship.
Limes were the cure! They ate limes all the time.
Then they did not get sick.
 Tadpoles and Frogs
Frogs are called tadpoles when they just hatch. They seem nothing like adult frogs!
They are like eels.
A tadpole makes its home in a lake or pond. It will eat small plants.
Tadpoles swim. They can't jump. They do not have legs.
Tadpoles form legs as they get big. Then they can hop from the lake to the land.
They are adult frogs, and they can eat bugs!