CommonLit CommonLit 360 Updates to CommonLit 360 for Middle School (Grades 6-8)

Our new and updated units are responsive to research and teacher feedback, and have been created with student and teacher growth in mind.

Big news: CommonLit 360 Edition 2.0 for Middle School (grades 6-8) will be fully available by July 2023. Edition 2.0 is an upgrade to the existing units of CommonLit 360 curriculum for middle schools, and we’re so excited for our teachers to check out our updated units and resources.

Teachers have already seen positive outcomes across the country with CommonLit 360 Edition 1.0. For example, this study showed that CommonLit 360 usage drove academic improvement in New York City middle schools.  Students using CommonLit 360 grew more than what was expected for a typical middle schooler. The research also found that the more CommonLit 360 digital reading lessons students submitted, the greater their reading growth. Clearly, CommonLit 360 is already an effective curriculum – but we are constantly striving to improve learning outcomes even more.

At CommonLit, we listen to feedback from teachers and administrators who implement our curriculum in their classrooms. Based on this feedback, we have updated the 360 units for grades 6-8 to solve problems teachers were facing.  Our curriculum is research-backed and constantly improving, and we make sure our texts are up-to-date and relevant for students. All of our updates were initiated with teachers and students in mind, with a focus on how to help students build grade-level skills and aid teachers in improving their practice.

Edition 2.0 includes a mix of responsive updates, fully redesigned units, new novel units, and units with new project-based assessments. Right now, we are just releasing Edition 2.0 for grades 6-8.  Below, we dive into which units were updated and changed!

This graphic demonstrates the changes for each middle school unit for CommonLit 360 Edition 2.0
This graphic demonstrates the changes for each middle school unit for CommonLit 360 Edition 2.0

Everything You Need to Know About The Edition 2.0 Updates

Newly designed units

Each grade has one newly designed unit, introduced to engage students deeply  with a variety of genres. These new units focus on speeches, poetry, and nonfiction texts.

In 6th, students will engage in newly designed informational units that build notetaking and research skills. In 7th grade students will analyze famous speeches, focusing on the craft and rhetoric used to create powerful messages. Finally, in 8th grade, the newly designed unit develops students’ understanding of poetry and speeches that communicate messages of courage.

A graphic demonstrating the newly designed units.

Our redesigned units also include new novel and drama units. The text selections are more closely aligned to grade-level standards and themes. Now, 6th graders will read The Giver by Lois Lowry, 7th graders will study Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson, and 8th graders will analyze the dramatic play Twelve Angry Men by Reginald Rose. Each new novel unit includes new writing lessons and Related Media Explorations.

A graphic showing the new novel units.

Updated units

Several units that students already love have been updated to help teachers take their instruction to the next level. These updates enhance students’ knowledge-building and increase students’ reading stamina. These units align more closely to college and career readiness standards at each grade level, encouraging students toward greater growth by the end of each year.

Research shows that regular and extended reading practice can increase students’ ability to focus and sustain their attention, improve their comprehension, and enhance their overall academic performance. That’s why we added more high quality reading lessons in these updated units, to provide students with even more at-bats grappling with rigorous grade-level texts.

A graphic showing the updated units.

For example, in 6th Grade Unit 1: Characters Who Change and Grow, teachers will notice a few shifts and updates. First, three new grade-level texts were added to the unit. These texts are contemporary, relevant, and engaging. These three texts will help build reading stamina and background knowledge to ensure students’ success with the culminating task.

Additionally, the unit has two new writing lessons to support student writing growth. The new lessons give students the opportunity to review exemplar essays and collaborate with peers to get feedback on their culminating tasks.

Finally, this updated unit includes a brand-new Related Media Exploration. Students will dig into character archetypes and make connections to the unit texts. This compelling exploration enhances knowledge building around the unit’s Essential Question about how characters change and grow.

Units with new project-based assessments

In Edition 1.0, the end-of-unit assessments were all essays, with optional project-focused activities in certain units. Based on teacher feedback, we’re excited to incorporate project-based assessments into several units. Research shows that project-focused assessment engages students and inspires a love of learning, while fostering students’ personal connection to their studies. Students develop a sense of purpose, build peer relationships, learn to work creatively and utilize technology as students practice solving real-world problems.

A graphic showing units with new project-based assessments.

How Edition 2.0 Will Lead to Teacher Growth

Edition 2.0 will help improve teacher practice as well. We have added new supports to ensure teachers can best meet students’ needs, including providing additional instructional guidance for each lesson, supportive pacing suggestions across grade levels and units, and updated, easy-to-use rubrics for writing, listening, and speaking.

Timeline for Edition 2.0’s Release

Releasing the units

We know teachers need time to plan and prepare for the year ahead, and that’s why we’re releasing these updated units on a rolling basis throughout the spring. On March 1st, all Edition 2.0 Unit 1s will be available to anyone with a free teacher account. Throughout March and April, all Unit 2s and 3s will be released. Units 4, 5, and 6 will be released throughout May and June. By the end of June, all Edition 2.0 units will be available.

March 1

All Unit 1s available


Unit 2s & Unit 3s released on a rolling basis


Units 4s, 5s, & 6s released on a rolling basis


All Edition 2.0 units available

What’s happening to Edition 1.0?

Many units are just being updated, with new texts, lessons, and culminating tasks added to already existing units. CommonLit 360 Edition 1.0 will no longer be available after June 30th, but any units that are being fully replaced by newly designed units will be moved to the supplemental library. This includes Grade 6 Unit 3: The Watson Go to Birmingham, Grade 6 Unit 2: Failure and Success, Grade 7 Unit 5: Life-Changing Moments, and Grade 8 Unit 2: Courageous Choices. If teachers want to access and use these instructional units, they will be easy to find in our library! Additionally, teachers will still have access to all previous assignments and historical student data.

Making the Most of Edition 2.0

As we have rolled out CommonLit 360 with hundreds of districts, we’ve heard two pieces of feedback loud and clear: teachers and administrators want more formative assessments in each unit and more targeted professional development. We are happy to announce that our brand new CommonLit 360 rollout package will give all of this and more to teachers and administrators!

Unit Skills Assessments and personalized professional development are available for purchase for schools and districts with our new School Essentials PRO Plus package. Each CommonLit 360 unit will come with two Unit Skills Assessments, giving teachers and instructional leaders vital touch points needed to plan targeted, data-driven instruction.  School Essentials PRO Plus also includes access to our summative benchmark assessments, school-wide data tracking, on-demand professional development, and more.  

Next Steps

Want more information about Edition 2.0? Read more here. Still have questions about Edition 2.0? Read our Frequently Asked Questions here.

Is your school or district interested in bringing use of the CommonLit 360 curriculum to the next level with additional professional development and assessments for every unit?