Presenting CommonLit's New Target Lessons

Check out our new easy-to-use, highly engaging lessons that build specific reading skills!

At CommonLit, we’re always thinking of new ways to support students and teachers. That’s why we’re excited to present our new Target Lessons!

Target Lessons are short, easy-to-use, highly engaging lessons that support reading, writing, and classroom discussion. Each lesson teaches students a key skill — like identifying the main idea or analyzing the author's point of view — that they’ll use to deeply understand the text.

Target Lessons also include scaffolded Pre-Reading, During Reading, and Post-Reading activities that are designed to build students' engagement and knowledge as they move through the lesson. Check out this primer on Target Lessons to see an overview:

In this blog post, we’ll show you how to access Target Lessons and then explore how they work!

Accessing and Previewing Target Lessons

To access our full set of Target Lessons, visit the CommonLit library or just click here.

So far, we've released dozens on highly engaging lessons on topics such as protecting animals, female trailblazers, African-American heroes, and teens we can learn from. In the coming months, we'll be releasing many more!

After you click on a lesson, you'll be able to explore it in more detail.

I've chosen to explore the lesson "How Jackie Robinson Changed Baseball." This is a great text for middle schoolers that focuses on identifying main ideas.

From this page, teachers can access some key resources to ensure a successful lesson:

  • a downloadable PDF of the lesson for students,
  • a downloadable teacher guide of the lesson,
  • an editable slide deck that can be used to introduce the lesson, and
  • a digital answer key.

From this page, teachers can also preview and assign the digital version of the lesson to students.

In the next part of this blog post, we'll tell you everything you need to know about how these digital lessons work!

Pre-Reading Activity

Each lesson begins with a quick, engaging Pre-Reading activity. These activities include videos, connection questions, and gallery walks to spark students’ interest and provide them with the key information they need to understand the text.

For “How Jackie Robinson Changed Baseball,” students will watch a short video about segregation in baseball in the 1940s:

After that quick pre-reading activity, students and teachers will review the target skill for lesson.

During Reading Questions

Each Target Lesson comes with during reading questions that will help students gain mastery of the target skill.

These questions also scaffold up in difficulty over the course of the text. For example, the first question in this lesson is a multiple choice question. Students must identify the main idea of the first section of the text from four options.

The second question is more challenging; students receive a sentence starter, but must complete the main idea.

A question that says "Write: In this section, I learned that Jackie Robinson fought against racism..."

Toward the end of the text, students will show that they can apply the focus skill by stating the main idea of each section on their own.

A question that says "Write: What is the main idea of this section? In this section, I learned that ..."

With this gradual release, your students will quickly acquire tons of new skills!

Post-Reading Questions

Once they have read the text and practiced the focus skill, students will answer a few questions to synthesize their learning.

In this lesson, students are asked to write a paragraph where they describe Robinson’s legacy. Students can refer back to the scaffolded During Reading questions to collect evidence for their response.

The Assessment page for the target lesson.

Then, students must synthesize what they have read to identify a central idea of the whole text. This is a great opportunity for students to apply the focus skill and demonstrate their comprehension.

A multiple-choice assessment question that asks "Which of the following best describes a central idea of the text?"

Next Steps

Our team is so excited to share these new Target Lessons with you. We’ve already released over 40 lessons, but we are just getting started!

Want to learn more about our high interest topics? Check out our Target Lesson Text Sets:

Teens We Can Learn From


Human Behavior

Black History

Courageous Women

Protecting Animals