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Silk Road Reading Unit - 1st Grade

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Silk Road Reading Unit – 1st Grade


Objective: Students will gain a basic understanding of what the Silk Road is by reading a short passage and answering questions.



-          1.2.3    Respond to who, what, when, where, why, and how questions and recognize the main idea of what is read.

-          1.2.7    Relate prior knowledge to what is read.


Approximate length: 20-30 minutes


Materials needed:

Copies of reading passages and questions

Transparencies of maps and pictures

Overhead projector (or Powerpoint presentation with maps and pictures)


About the Lesson:

This reading activity has been designed to help students learn more about the Silk Road while improving their reading and comprehension skills. The following passage is intended for Grade 1.


However, teachers may wish to use higher level texts for the students with higher reading proficiency or lower level texts for ESL students or students struggling with reading. Other lesson plans of varying difficulty are available on our website.


Maps and pictures have been provided as supplementary materials. Teachers may wish to make overhead transparencies of the materials or use them in a Powerpoint presentation so that students can see where the Silk Road is and what silk worms look like. A globe or world map may also be a helpful tool for teachers to use when showing where Asia is in relation to the USA.



1.      Teachers may wish to show the maps to students (via an overhead projector or Powerpoint presentation) and, depending on previous knowledge, explain where Asia is in relation to the US. The map will help students see where the Silk Road was. The corresponding US map shows approximately how long the Silk Road would be if it were located in the US.


2.      Teachers should place pictures of the silk worms and their cocoons on the overhead projector. Leave them up while the students are working. Don’t explain yet to the students what the pictures are. Tell them they will find out as they read the passage.


3.      Teachers should hand out the reading passage and accompanying question and answer worksheet. Have students read the passage and answer the questions.


4.      Ask students if any of them know what the pictures are now. You may wish to discuss the passage further with students or ask them what experience they have had with silk.


[Student Reading Passage starts here]




Introduction to the Silk Road – 1st Grade


The Silk Road was used a long time ago in Asia. It was on both land and sea. People used to buy and sell things on the Silk Road.


People did not have cars then. They had to walk or ride horses or camels. It took a long time to walk that far!


People by the Silk Road liked silk. Silk first came from China. Silk is a soft and pretty cloth.


Fun Fact

People who were not in China did not know how silk was made. They thought silk came from trees. They were wrong. Silk does not come from trees. Silk is made from silk worms.


[Student Questions to Reading Passage start here]




1.   When was the Silk Road used? _________________________________________________________________________


2.   Was the Silk Road on land or sea or both? ______________________________________________________________


3.   Did people walk or drive cars on the Silk Road? _________________________________________________________


4.   Did people like silk? ___________________________________________________________________________________


5.   What is silk made from? ________________________________________________________________________________


Bonus Question!!!


Have you ever felt silk? How does it feel?______________________________________________________________________



[More Teacher Materials]


Silk Worms



Silk Road Map


USA Map (showing how long the Silk Road would be in the US)