Wrapping Up 2020 at CommonLit

Two students sitting on a couch and looking at a computer screen.

Reflecting on new features, exciting new content in our library, and our commitment to giving students and teachers high-quality resources.

Simply put, it’s been a year. Between a global pandemic, nationwide protests for racial justice, and remote working and learning, 2020 is a year that teachers and students worldwide are unlikely to forget.

Here at CommonLit, we’ve worked hard to address these challenges and continue providing educators with high-quality content and tools to meet both the usual and unprecedented demands of this year.

We hope you’ll celebrate our biggest highlights of 2020 with us. We couldn’t do this work without you!

Spring:

  • New and Improved Library Page: We upgraded our library! Now, you can sort and filter by content type, and search for units, text sets, book pairings, and more in a sleeker and smarter display.
  • Teacher Comments on Annotations: Teachers can now provide comments directly on students’ annotations! Students can immediately view teacher feedback and even edit their original notes, which can help improve communication during remote learning.
  • Co-Teacher: We crossed off one of the most requested features from our to-do list with the launch of co-teacher! Teachers can now invite co-teachers to join a shared class, create shared assignments, and view and grade students’ work.
  • Assessment Options: Flexible assessment options allow teachers to customize assignments and choose which questions to assign — all assessment questions, only multiple-choice questions, only short-answer questions, only Guided Reading Mode questions, or only annotations.
  • Assignment Start Dates: Teachers can plan ahead by setting Start Dates for future assignments. Students cannot see or access assignments before a Start Date.
  • Customizable Annotation Tasks: Teachers can now customize instructions for students on an assignment using our editable Annotation Task.
  • Parent Accounts: To assist parents all around the world who found themselves in new teaching roles this year, CommonLit added a special Parent/Guardian sign-up process so that parents can quickly create CommonLit accounts and assign reading practice to their children from home.
  • Distance Learning Units: CommonLit’s Curriculum Team was hard at work during the early months of the pandemic developing new, high-quality distance learning mini-units with activities including thematically linked texts, vocabulary, and writing prompts.
The teacher assignment panel, with the drop down menu for assessment options open.

Summer:

  • Stronger Support for Low-Bandwidth Environments: With students transitioning to learning from home, internet connectivity became a challenge. CommonLit addressed this by providing better student assignment support for home networks with low-bandwidth use.
  • Homeschool Educator Accounts: Homeschool teachers can now sign up under a specific “Homeschool Educator” role and gain access to all the same features as our standard educator accounts.
  • Text Sets on Current Events: The library saw an addition of newly curated text sets with texts related to COVID-19 and health as well as race and racism.
Text sets in the CommonLit library, including "Texts for talking about race," "Black history, "COVID-19," and "African cultures and history."

Fall:

  • Pre-Assessment Improvements: The pre-assessment proved to be a major hit last year. For year 2, we made the diagnostic assessment available to four more grades, provided new standards data, and increased data security to facilitate administering and completing the test from home.
  • Touchscreen Annotations: Students can now make annotations on their phones or tablets to complete classwork. Another huge win for our teachers and students during distance learning!
The CommonLit lesson "The Lottery" with the annotation and highlighting tool open.

Winter:

  • Spanish Read Aloud: Our Read Aloud feature is a great accessibility tool for students who need a bit more support with reading comprehension. Now, it’s available in Spanish for all Spanish-language texts and can help support students with fluency and decoding!
  • Preserved Student Data: Teaching and learning this year meant many students were moving in and out of classes due to schedule changes. As a result, teachers can now remove a student from a CommonLit class but retain their assignment data for their records.
  • Even More Content: The library will see an addition of even more culturally responsive literature by world-class authors in the months to come, but take a look at the six new short stories available for teachers now!
The CommonLit Español lesson "Pequeños plásticos, gran problema."

We’re so proud of all that we’ve accomplished together this year and look forward to achieving more with all of you next year. If you have any questions, suggestions, or comments, please get in touch with us at feedback@commonlit.org.

Thank you for allowing us to support you, for supporting us, and for all you do for our students!