Worksheets and No Prep Teaching Resources
Worksheets and No Prep Teaching Resources
Reading Comprehension Worksheets
Ancient Mesopotamia
The Sumerian Civilization

Ancient Mesopotamia
Ancient Mesopotamia

The Sumerian Civilization
Print The Sumerian Civilization Reading Comprehension

Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 9 to 11
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   9.22

     challenging words:    al-Muqayyar, best-kept, mud-brick, ziggurat, ziggurats, egypt, meticulous, cuneiform, penned, triangle-shaped, wedge-shaped, fanatical, shrine, mathematical, city-states, deity
     content words:    Agade Dynasty, Akkadian Empire

The Sumerian Civilization
By Vickie Chao

1     Egypt, India, China, and Greece all had very long histories dating back thousands of years. Yet, none of them were as old as the Sumerian civilization in Mesopotamia.
2     Mesopotamia is a triangle-shaped land sandwiched between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers. Located within the borders of today's Iraq, Turkey, and Syria, this fertile ground was the birthplace of the earliest known civilization on Earth! About 9,000 years ago, people began to take up residence in this area because of its rich soil. Though they had to deal with the scorching heat in summertime and learn to live for months without rainfall, they managed to survive by making the best out of whatever resources they had. To those early settlers, agriculture was their primary livelihood. To be sure that they could plant crops all year round, they dug canals diverting water from the Tigris and the Euphrates for irrigation. At the beginning, their communities were more like small farming villages. But over time, they grew increasingly sophisticated. By 3500 B.C., some of the world's first cities began to emerge in Sumer, the southern region of Mesopotamia. While those cities shared a common culture and spoke the same language, they did not answer to a single leader. As a result, each Sumerian city was an independent state by itself. Each had its own government, its own patron gods and goddesses, and its own king.
3     Despite their differences, all Sumerian cities were laid out in a similar fashion. At the center of every city, there was always a temple dedicated to its favorite deity. This place of worship, called ziggurat (pronounced "ZIG-oo-rat"), often featured a mud-brick structure with several layers of stepped platforms stacked up to form a terraced pyramid. Topping the building was a shrine, which housed a statue of the city's patron god or goddess. To enter the shrine, the Sumerians built outside staircases and spiral ramps around their ziggurats. In their heyday, ziggurats could have had up to eight stories. But sadly, none of the surviving buildings were preserved to their original height. Today, one of the best-kept ziggurats is at Ur (present-day Tell al-Muqayyar, Iraq). The original building was a three-staged tower dedicated to the moon god Nanna. Over the course of several millenniums, its top two layers have disappeared, leaving only its broad, rectangular base (about 200 feet long and 150 feet wide) to remind us of the glorious time it had once enjoyed.

Paragraphs 4 to 9:
For the complete story with questions: click here for printable

Weekly Reading Books

          Create Weekly Reading Books

Prepare for an entire week at once!

Feedback on The Sumerian Civilization
Leave your feedback on The Sumerian Civilization   (use this link if you found an error in the story)

Ancient Mesopotamia
             Ancient Mesopotamia

More Lessons
             High School Reading Comprehensions and High School Reading Lessons

Social Studies
             Social Studies

    United States History and Theme Units  
    American Government  
    Ancient America  
    Ancient China  
    Ancient Egypt  
    Ancient Greece  
    Ancient India  
    Ancient Mesopotamia  
    Ancient Rome  
    Canadian Theme Unit  
    Country Theme Units  
    Crime and Terrorism  
    European History: 1600s-1800s  
    Famous Educators  
    Grades 2-3 Social Studies Wendy's World Series  
    History of Books and Writing  
    History of Mathematics  
    How Can I Help?  
    Inventors and Inventions  
    Middle Ages  
    World Religion  
    World War I  
    World War II  
    World Wonders  

Copyright © 2018 edHelper