11 Ways CommonLit Supports Elementary Learning

4 young students working on their computers.

Learn how CommonLit’s elementary program can support your teachers and students.

CommonLit’s award-winning, research-based digital literacy program has hundreds of great lessons for elementary schools. Our digital library also includes longer-term planning resources, digital tools, and data tracking resources that help teachers engage students in rigorous, meaningful learning.

With so many literacy products on the market, it can be hard to find the right program. To make the decision process a bit easier, we’ve compiled the top 11 reasons why CommonLit is the ideal program for your elementary literacy team.

Way 1: CommonLit Has Authentic Texts from Great Authors

The Library of Congress recognized CommonLit in 2017 with the Best Practices in Literacy Award. This is due in large part to CommonLit’s extensive digital library, which is full of authentic texts of all genres that are free for teachers and students. Our elementary library includes reading passages from Sandra Cisneros, Walter Dean Myers, Gary Soto, Langston Hughes, Shel Silverstein, and many other well-known contemporary authors. When your teachers use CommonLit, you know that your students are reading texts that are thought-provoking, culturally relevant, and meaningful.

Elementary text carousels in the CommonLit library for "Amazing Animals" and "Making Friends and Growing Up."
CommonLit’s digital library has hundreds of great elementary lessons.

Way 2: CommonLit Has Engaging Informational Texts that Build Knowledge

Developing background knowledge and nonfiction reading skills are critical for elementary students. CommonLit offers a diverse selection of informational texts to build knowledge and provide opportunities to practice key skills like summarizing and synthesizing. Our elementary library includes nonfiction passages and text sets about animals, the environment, space, American history, cultures around the world, and more. With CommonLit’s informational texts, your teachers can improve students’ reading comprehension and foster critical thinking skills.

Our Book Pairings are sets of suggested paired texts to read during a novel study. The goal of our Book Pairings feature is to help teachers meet the rigor that state standards demand, while also helping build student engagement during novel units. The paired texts are chosen to build background knowledge, help students make thematic connections, and support analysis of author’s craft.

We have a number of Book Pairings for popular elementary novels, including:

Explore all Elementary Book Pairings here.

Way 4: CommonLit Has Mini Units to Support Thematic Instruction

Our Mini Units are designed to engage students in one to two weeks of instruction around a meaningful essential question. Each Mini Unit includes four to six high-interest texts, a graphic organizer, and an evidence-based writing response that allows students to synthesize their learning. All of the lessons in CommonLit’s Mini Units also include the planning tools that teachers love, like Related Media, Paired Texts, Assessment Questions, and more. Read all about the design of our Mini Units for grades 3–5 here.

We have great thematic Mini Units for elementary students, including:

Explore all Elementary Mini Units here.

Way 5: CommonLit Supports All Learners

When adopting a literacy program, it’s important to know that it will support all students — not just a small segment. CommonLit’s lessons are rigorous, but teachers can use Guided Reading Mode to bridge the gap for struggling readers. When Guided Reading Mode is enabled, it automatically “chunks” the text into smaller pieces so students can’t move on until they’ve correctly answered a comprehension question. This is a great way to support students in monitoring their own understanding.

The student assignment preview for the CommonLit text "Marble Champ."
Guided Reading Mode is a great way to support student comprehension.

If students need additional scaffolding, each lesson has a toolbar to make the text more accessible. The toolbar includes text-to-speech, translation in over 30 languages, and an easy-to-use digital annotation tool. Digital annotations allow students to highlight any part of the text and add an annotation that teachers can view. These accessibility tools give teachers the confidence to effectively differentiate their instruction and meet the needs of all learners.

Digital annotations on the CommonLit text "Marble Champ."
Digital annotations allow students to highlight and respond to important parts of the text.

Way 6: Easy-to-Use Lesson Planning Resources

CommonLit’s lessons include easy-to-use lesson planning resources to help teachers design comprehensive lessons. Our multiple choice and short answer Assessment Questions are standards-based and skills-aligned so teachers can measure students’ progress toward grade-level standard mastery. Teachers can also use our optional Discussion Questions to help students synthesize their learning.

Each lesson includes resources to help students build knowledge, make connections, and extend their thinking. Paired Texts are suggested texts that teachers can teach alongside their lesson. They have similar themes, the same author, or provide an interesting complement to the lesson. Related Media videos, audio clips, and multimedia resources provide context for the text and can be shown at the beginning of a lesson to build background knowledge, or at the end of a lesson to extend student learning. Both Paired Texts and Related Media suggestions include questions to help students make text-to-text connections.

The "Related Media" tab for the text "Marble Champ."
Related Media videos help teachers plan comprehensive instruction.

Way 7: CommonLit Has Easy Grading and Data Analysis Tools

Teachers can easily view and analyze student progress with our teacher data dashboard. For each lesson, teachers get a breakdown of standard-aligned assessment question data. Multiple choice questions are automatically graded to save them valuable time. Teachers can leave feedback on student writing and respond to student annotations as well. We also offer an administrator data portal that allows team leaders to access data reports for classrooms, schools, and districts to support teachers’ usage of CommonLit.

An assignment report for the lesson "Reaching New Heights."
At the top of their data dashboard, teachers see useful “at a glance” data.

Interested in learning more about CommonLit’s free literacy program? Check out one of our upcoming webinars for elementary educators or watch one of our recently recorded trainings to learn more about our library and data tracking tools!

Way 8: Rostering Support Makes Onboarding Hassle-Free

We offer several ways to easily roster students on CommonLit. If your school or district uses Google Classroom, individual teachers can join CommonLit and roster all of their classes in less than a minute. With Clever or Canvas, roster management is seamless for districts that partner with us. When class rosters change and new semesters begin, rosters are automatically updated so you’ll never have to worry about changing or adding individual accounts.

Learn more about how CommonLit makes it easy to roster your students.

Way 9: Integrations with Google Classroom and Canvas Streamline Classroom Use

CommonLit’s integration with Google Classroom makes it easy for teachers to centralize classroom resources. Teachers can post lessons to their Google Classroom stream and export their grades from CommonLit directly to their Google Classroom gradebook.

We also provide integration with Canvas as part of our School Essentials PRO package. CommonLit’s Canvas integration is a powerful time-saver that teachers will love. This integration includes 3 key benefits. First, teachers can seamlessly import their classes from Canvas to CommonLit. Second, students can complete assigned CommonLit lessons directly from their Canvas account. Third, teachers can send student grades from CommonLit assignments back to their Canvas gradebook.

Way 10: CommonLit’s Assessment Series Makes Progress Monitoring Easy

The CommonLit Assessment Series is a great option for school and district administrators who are looking to closely monitor students’ progress and identify gaps in student learning. These high-quality quarterly assessments are easy-to-use, tightly aligned to grade-level standards, and designed to give administrators and teachers the actionable data they need to make effective instructional decisions.

Read more about the CommonLit Assessment Series here.

Way 11: CommonLit Offers Comprehensive Training for Teachers

We want teachers to feel confident using our resources, so we offer school and district partnerships that include a variety of training opportunities. Get your team set up with a live kickoff webinar so they can learn how to navigate the library, assign lessons, and use our data tracking tools. In addition to trainings that help teachers get started with CommonLit’s digital program, we offer trainings on advanced lesson planning, data driven instruction, and parent engagement.

If you choose to partner with us, we also offer a PD portal that includes over 20 on-demand trainings that focus on best practices for using CommonLit’s digital tools and lessons. The trainings are flexibly designed to fit into any professional development plan; they can be facilitated by an instructional leader or completed independently by teachers who are looking to develop their skills.

Click here to check out CommonLit’s full menu of trainings.

Next Steps

To request a quote for CommonLit School Essentials PRO please fill out this quick form.

If you have any additional questions about CommonLit School Essentials PRO email partnerships@commonlit.org. We’re eager to support your team!