Introducing the CommonLit 360 Curriculum

The yellow and teal CommonLit 360 logo, next to a visual of CommonLit.org opened to the 360 Curriculum page.

It’s free. It’s easy to use. It’s fully digital. CommonLit 360 (Edition 1.0 COVID-19 Emergency Release Version) is a one-of-a-kind comprehensive curriculum for English Language Arts.

When I was a first year English teacher in 2009, I used to feel a sense of panic every Sunday night. What am I going to teach tomorrow? I’d spend hours searching the internet and scrambling to find the basic materials to do my job. My search would often come up short. The stories that I could find for my students weren’t worth their time or attention; the ready-made lessons I found didn’t connect to what I’d taught students the previous week or what the teacher was doing next door. Worst of all, I’d run up against paywall after paywall.

In 2014, CommonLit was a simple idea: to close persistent opportunity gaps in literacy by creating the tool that I wish I had when I was a middle school reading teacher — something highly effective, research-backed, easy to use, and free. In just a few short years after incorporating as a nonprofit, CommonLit’s digital library grew to serve over one million educators globally with tools shown to accelerate reading development.

Today, I am proud to introduce the CommonLit 360 Curriculum (Edition 1.0 COVID-19 Emergency Release Version), a brand new comprehensive curriculum for English Language Arts grades 6–10, available now for every teacher with a CommonLit account. It’s our way of making teachers’ lives just a little bit easier, while getting one step closer to our vision of ensuring that every child graduates with the reading, writing, communication, and problem-solving skills they need to be successful.

The main page for the CommonLit 360 curriculum on CommonLit.org.
CommonLit 360 is an openly-licensed English Language Arts curriculum, the first of its kind available on an interactive digital platform.

Here’s why the CommonLit 360 Curriculum (Edition 1.0 COVID-19 Emergency Release Version) is different from what’s out there:

  • It’s comprehensive. Units cover all of the domains of English Language Arts, including reading, writing, speaking and listening, grammar, and vocabulary. Access the Unit by Unit Guide here.
  • It features worthy literature and relevant topics. Students love the relatable characters, nail-biting suspense, twist endings, and authentic representation within our diverse array of texts and topics. Preview the unit topics here.
  • It was designed with input from real educators. CommonLit 360 (Edition 1.0 COVID-19 Emergency Release Version) was designed by our team of former teachers. It was piloted in 50 schools nationally and refined over three years. Hear from veteran educators and administrators about what they loved the most.
  • It’s really user-friendly. Our CommonLit 360 (Edition 1.0 COVID-19 Emergency Release Version) units and materials are uniquely easy to use and flexibly designed compared to other platforms and existing packaged curricula.
  • It’s supportive for all students. CommonLit 360 (Edition 1.0 COVID-19 Emergency Release Version) is a grade-level curriculum, but lessons and materials include scaffolding for maximum inclusion, differentiation, and accessibility.
  • It’s digitally native — just like our students. CommonLit 360 (Edition 1.0 COVID-19 Emergency Release Version) wasn’t written as a paper curriculum and then “digitized” to live on some platform; it was designed to work in tandem with the cutting edge new technology on CommonLit.org that was specifically engineered to work alongside the content in the curriculum.
  • It’s free. CommonLit 360 (Edition 1.0 COVID-19 Emergency Release Version) is an openly-licensed curriculum which means that it is free for educators forever, just like the rest of CommonLit. All you need is your CommonLit teacher account to get started.
An example 360 writing lesson, with a sample prompt, model response, a video, and space to write.
CommonLit 360 includes brand new technology to support close reading, writing, discussion, grammar and vocabulary.

Want to dive right in? Sign up for one of our Getting Started with CommonLit 360 webinars here.

CommonLit 360 is a Full Academic Program for English Language Arts (ELA)

Another unique aspect of the CommonLit 360 Curriculum (Edition 1.0 COVID-19 Emergency Release Version) is that it is part of a full coherent program for English Language Arts. With CommonLit School Essentials PRO, schools and districts can access our wraparound services affordably.

The whole program includes:

  • Aligned Assessments: CommonLit’s Assessment Series offers three annual benchmark assessments — a Pre-, Mid-, and Post-Assessment that are administered digitally.
  • Teacher Professional Development: CommonLit’s Professional Development Portal offers over 30 on-demand training modules for educators and school teams that can be flexibly used to ensure a seamless rollout of CommonLit 360.
  • Administrator Data and Insights: As part of our package of services, CommonLit offers robust school and district-wide data served up on a simple dashboard.
A graphic that shows the benefits of CommonLit 360 and a CommonLit partnership as a pyramid.
CommonLit 360, our brand new comprehensive curriculum for English Language Arts, is free and open for educators and available now at www.commonlit.org/units.

Together, these tools work hand-in-hand to facilitate an effective rollout of CommonLit 360 in schools and districts. It’s an innovative business model and a purchase that school leaders can feel good about because 100 percent of the proceeds support our charitable work and the continued improvement of CommonLit 360. Learn more about my commitment to keeping CommonLit curriculum materials free.

Getting Started

CommonLit’s 360 Curriculum (Edition 1.0 COVID-19 Emergency Release Version) is available now to all teachers with CommonLit teacher accounts. If you are an educator or an administrator, everything is there to help you get started: our pages are packed with teacher resources, unit guides, and videos made by our instructional coaches.

You can also join one of our Getting Started with CommonLit 360 webinars led by our team of CommonLit 360 experts.

You can share your feedback directly or contact help@commonlit.org with questions.

Special Thanks

There are so many people who helped to make this launch of CommonLit 360 (Edition 1.0 COVID-19 Emergency Release Version) possible including the entire CommonLit staff, and its board of directors, donors, and advisors.

We would also like to thank the administrators and teachers in our pilot schools who believed in our vision and worked with us to refine the units over the course of three years.

Finally, we are extremely grateful to Washington Leadership Academy and its board of directors, teachers, and students as co-developers of 360. Thank you for your direct support, feedback, and ongoing partnership.