CommonLit Archive Opportunity to Pilot CommonLit's New Intervention for Struggling Readers

CommonLit is a nonprofit that operates a high-quality free online library of over 1,500 CCSS-aligned English Language Arts texts and lessons. Currently, over 9 million teachers and students use the free resources at

As CommonLit has grown, we have learned that there is a real need in the market for a research-backed curriculum that meets the needs of all students, and is easy-to-use for teachers at varied levels of development. To meet this need, we have begun piloting an innovative, open-source free curriculum for grades 6–10.

Supporting Struggling Readers with Content-Rich Instruction

As a nonprofit dedicated to closing the literacy gap, we specialize in instruction for struggling readers. With these readers in mind, we have developed content-rich units for grades 6–10 that can be flexibly used in general education classrooms, tutoring groups, and intervention blocks.

CommonLit’s unit sequence is designed to help teachers routinize best practices in adolescent literacy instruction. Each lesson within the unit includes:

  • An authentic grade level text that is connected thematically and/or topically to other texts in the lesson set/unit (Note: some lesson sets include book-length or novella-length works);
  • A pre-reading exercise designed to build essential background knowledge and connect the reading to a larger essential question or goal;
  • A guided reading protocol to help students build a foundational understanding of the text through focused annotation, and evidence-based discussion and writing;
  • Vocabulary and word knowledge routines designed to help students learn and use academic vocabulary in both writing and speech. Students learn 10 high-impact academic words per lesson set and authentically encounter them repeatedly during the lesson set;
  • Scaffolded skill instruction using the text that helps students build a deeper analytical understanding of the text using a specific skill;
  • Daily assessment to assess students formatively on the quality of their analysis and help teachers and administrators track progress across CCSS-aligned skills. Multiple choice questions will be instantaneously assessed through the CommonLit platform.

Additionally, our resources are designed to help teachers use best practices to instruct struggling readers. The units are designed to be instructive for more novice teachers.

Below is an example from a unit on People & The Environment. In this lesson, teachers use the prepared questions to facilitate a deep analytical reading.

What Teacher Support is Included?

Within our lesson materials, we include teacher directives, exemplars, and feedback tools to help teachers facilitate effectively. Teachers participating in our pilot also benefit from being part of the CommonLit virtual community with access to free podcasts on content, videos on skill instruction, live webinars, and live chat support.

CommonLit allows me to feel confident about the materials I am putting in front of students. It frees me up to spend more time looking closely at data and my students’ writing because I am not writing the lesson and unit plans from scratch.
- Teacher in one of CommonLit’s Washington, DC pilot schools

Join Our NYC Pilot

Like what you see? There’s a lot more!

We are recruiting 8–10 middle schools in New York City to begin piloting CommonLit’s new units over the 2019–2020 school year. These units can be flexibly used in general education classrooms, tutoring groups, and/or intervention blocks. All of the units are available in print or digital format, with all of the supporting student-facing materials. Our goal is to observe lessons on the ground and get feedback from classrooms implementing our free resources.

For more information on how your school can join, contact Rob, Director of School Partnerships, at