CommonLit Archive CommonLit Mini-Units: A Complete Solution to Support Virtual Learning

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In this blog post, we highlight CommonLit’s Mini-Units. These units include over a dozen high-quality reading and writing activities and are a great way to keep students learning. CommonLit has developed over units for grades 3–12. Each of these 15 units include:

  • 4–10 texts organized around an essential question
  • Daily lessons and questions for cross-textual analysis
  • A final writing assessment and an alternative assessment that encourages students to be creative
  • Student handouts with graphic organizers
  • Answer keys for educators

To access these units, you’ll need to have a CommonLit account. If you haven’t created a CommonLit account yet, click here.

CommonLit has created 15 Mini-Units that are ideal for virtual learning.

The Essential Question and Text Selection

To show you how these units work, let’s look more closely at the 7th-8th grade unit called “Heroes.” Throughout the unit, students will work on answering the essential question, “Why do people act heroically?”

Throughout the unit, students will be reading about figures like Jackie Robinson, Harriet Tubman, Ida B. Wells, and Miep Gies — all people who expressed enormous courage during their lives. Students will also be exposed to literary texts like “If We Must Die” and “Theseus and the Minotaur.” When reading these texts, students will be encouraged to think about and collect evidence that answers the question “Why do people act heroically?” We’ve created an editable graphic organizer that you can share with students.

The reading lessons within the Mini-Units can all be shared through CommonLit’s digital platform. We also include editable graphic organizers.

Unit Assessments

Each unit includes a “Final Assessment.” In this Heroes unit, the “Final Assessment” is:

Over the course of this unit, you have gathered details from literary and informational texts about heroes. Use the evidence you have gathered to answer the question: Why do people act heroically? Support your answer using reasons and evidence from a variety of the texts covered in this unit.

Our goal when designing these units was to create final assessment questions that are rigorous yet straightforward. Ideally, after students read the texts in this “Heroes” unit, they will be armed with a lot of information and ideas about why a person would act heroically.

Sharing the Lessons with Students

All of the reading lessons in these units can easily be assigned to students through the CommonLit platform. If you haven’t used CommonLit digitally with your students yet, check out this blog post to learn more and get started.

Within these units, you’ll also find a few PDF or Word Document-based resources. We recommend sharing these resources with your students via email or through an LMS like Google Classroom.

Next Steps

The CommonLit team is eager to help you and your students during this challenging time.

  • If you’re a school or district leader who wants to get more advice or training support for your team, please email
  • If you’re a teacher who has questions about utilizing CommonLit with your students, please email