CommonLit is a nonprofit with a mission to raise student achievement and ensure that all students are on a path to college and career readiness. We are best known for our award-winning digital library of over 2,000 supplemental lessons for grades 3–12 in English and Spanish which has reached over 10 million students. a 2019 report showed that increased use of CommonLit was correlated with student gains on a state assessment.
For the past 18 months, we have been developing a high-quality full-year curriculum for grades 6–10 that will further support our teachers around the country. Just like everything on CommonLit, our curriculum will be made available to schools for free. Before we publish it openly, we are piloting our new curriculum with schools across the country.
This school year, dozens of schools across eight states have been using our new curriculum in grades 6–10. The feedback that we’ve received so far has been overwhelmingly positive; 9 out of 10 teachers report that they would highly recommend a unit to a friend. This year, we’re thrilled to announce that we’re inviting 75 additional schools to join this curriculum pilot for the 2020–21 school year.
Blount County Schools in Tennessee has been one of CommonLit’s pilot partners this school year. Terri Bradshaw, their Secondary-Level Literacy Instructional Coach recently said “With CommonLit’s curriculum, we know exactly where people are going and how they are supposed to get there. The strategies are research-based.” You can read all about her team’s experience with the curriculum here.
As an organization, we built our curriculum with several key principles in mind:
- students should read, write, and discuss grade-level texts every day,
- every unit should be content-rich and organized around an essential question,
- every unit should be aligned to state standards,
- curriculum should be scaffolded for all learners, and
- curriculum should work well for novice and experienced teachers.
“The kids are engaged. They say they love the stories. I’m noticing students putting much more work and attention to detail in their writing. One teacher commented, ‘These are truly the best questions I’ve ever asked and that’s actually helping me understand the standard better.’”
Jaime Greene, Middle School Principal
Here is what’s included in every unit:
Each unit includes a series of vocabulary activities. These activities explicitly teach 10–15 Tier 2 vocabulary words that students will see reinforced in upcoming texts, lessons, and discussions.
CommonLit also provides short slide decks. These easy-to-use and editable Google slide decks help hook students prior to reading a text, build background knowledge, and frame the skill that will be taught during the lesson.
Each reading lesson in the CommonLit curriculum has a clear skills focus and scripted during-reading questions — all presented in an easy-to-use format. As students read, in-text questions encourage students to read carefully, write about what they’ve just read, and discuss ideas with their teacher and classmates.
CommonLit’s units also include scaffolded writing lessons that provide direct instruction on the writing process. Throughout the school year, students will have the opportunity to develop their literary analysis, research, and evidence-based argumentative writing skills.
Our pilot results have shown that novice teachers find our curriculum intuitive; exemplary teachers find our curriculum to be easy to build upon. All lessons come with teacher guides, answer keys, and editable slide decks, that support effective instruction.
“I truly enjoyed the engagement it offered my students, the smiles and excitement at the end of each short story.”
Julie Beeson, 8th grade teacher
Are you interested in rolling out CommonLit’s Full-Year Curriculum for SY 20–21? If so, we’re currently providing early access for select districts as part of our CommonLit Full Year Curriculum Success Kit.
CommonLit’s Full Year Curriculum Success Kit
Our team is excited to offer the CommonLit Success Kit, a package of affordable services that will help to ensure a seamless rollout of our curriculum. The Success Kit includes:
- access to CommonLit’s Professional Development portal,
- access to CommonLit’s Unit Assessments,
- administrator access to school and district-wide data reports,
- rostering support via Clever, and
- optional consumable student workbooks.
CommonLit’s Professional Development Portal
CommonLit’s team has developed a package of self-paced Professional Development modules that are designed to give teachers actionable tips for effectively implementing CommonLit’s curriculum. Each module focuses on a particular instructional move or protocol that teachers should master.
For example, within CommonLit’s reading lessons, Turn & Talks are consistently used to build students’ comprehension, speaking, and listening skills. Within the Turn & Talk module, teachers are able to watch a real teacher as she implements this instructional move with her students. Then, teachers create a plan for implementing them in their classroom.
Furthermore, CommonLit’s District Success team will work closely with your team to share a host of technical training resources. These trainings will ensure that your administrative team is fully prepared to navigate CommonLit’s digital platform.
Each CommonLit unit focuses on 2–3 priority standards. Throughout the unit, students complete formative assessments that measure their progress on these standards. Then, students end each unit with a Final Assessment, which includes 1–2 reading passages and roughly 10–15 multiple choice questions that focus on the unit’s priority standards and an aligned writing question.
With this Unit Assessment, teachers will be able to determine whether or not students have mastered key skills by the end of the unit.
School and District-Wide Data
Administrators and instructional leaders are able to track school and district-wide data from all lessons completed on CommonLit. In other words, leaders will be able to track data from CommonLit’s daily formative assessments and Unit Assessments that are completed through the digital platform.
As part of CommonLit’s Full-Year Curriculum Success Kit, we provide full auto-rostering and Single Sign-On via Clever. If your team does not use Clever, we’ll work with your teachers to teach them how to create and manage classes on CommonLit’s digital platform.
Optional: Consumable Student Workbooks
While the reading and writing lessons within CommonLit’s curriculum can all be completed through our digital platform, our team also offers consumable student workbooks for an additional fee.
We’ve seen that our curriculum is easy-to-use, loved by teachers, and has helped schools improve instruction.
If you’d like to learn more about bringing CommonLit’s Full Year Curriculum and Success Kit to your district, email Partnerships@CommonLit.org to learn more!