Students don't do enough reading in science. Here's a brief one-page story about the 1918-1919 Influenza Pandemic that killed an estimated 50 million people worldwide.
The reading includes a page of questions and an answer key. It's a perfect introduction for a unit on viruses, or a great extension activity for students whom finish early. It's also a straightforward assignment students can do when a substitute must cover your room. You could also give it as homework in a flipped classroom, or as homework before beginning a unit on virology.
Although this was originally designed for Biology students, it could also be used as an informational text in an ELA classroom.