CommonLit Archive You're Invited: DC Schools, Get Early Access to CommonLit's Guided Reading Curriculum for Students with Disabilities and Below-Level Readers

You might already be familiar with A free website which includes over 2,000 English/Spanish reading lessons for grades 3–12. It’s become a go-to resource for English, Science, and Social Studies teachers who are looking for high-quality poems, short stories, and informational texts.

CommonLit materials are accessible in both print-ready and digital formats. Digital CommonLit teachers have come to love the features on our free website including: read-aloud, translation into 25 languages, and scaffolded reading comprehension questions. These features are also wonderful to differentiate instruction and support students with disabilities.

If you’re a principal at a DC elementary, middle or high school who is looking to support students with disabilities, CommonLit is now offering select schools to participate in an exclusive, free pilot program. Participating schools will get access to CommonLit’s new (free) Guided Reading Units intended to serve students who are reading far below grade level.

CommonLit’s Model

CommonLit’s Guided Reading Units are designed to be extremely easy-to-use and flexible for implementation in many support settings including whole class instruction, small group instruction, inclusion settings, 1:1 tutoring, or after-school. CommonLit Guided Reading Units provide students with the opportunity to learn new vocabulary words, build foundational reading skills, and discuss texts with their peers. Reading, writing, and speaking is the foundation of a strong literacy curriculum — our units make this easy to foster in any classroom setting!

Here is the basic structure of a unit:

Each unit begins with vocabulary activities, a best practice that has been shown to help struggling readers build language. These activities explicitly teach 10–15 Tier 2 vocabulary words that students will see reinforced in upcoming texts, lessons, and discussions.

Vocabulary for Unit 1: Characters Who Change and Grow worksheet.
Each unit comes with 5 vocabulary activities to help students master 10–15 Tier 2 words.

CommonLit also provides short slide decks to introduce key background information or concepts. These easy-to-use and editable Google slide decks help hook students prior to reading a text, foster deeper engagement, and frame the skill that will be taught during the lesson.

Three slides from the editable slide deck that comes with reading lessons.
Reading lessons come with editable slide decks that help teachers frame the lesson, build student engagement and provide key background knowledge.

Guided Reading Units also have ready-to-use reading lessons anchored around a high-interest text. Each lesson has a clear skills focus and scripted during-reading questions — all prepared on 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.

A worksheet breaking down the components for the reading lesson for "The Medicine Bag."
Each reading lesson comes with easy-to-use student facing materials.

Our pilot results have shown that even novice teachers find our lesson format intuitive. All lessons come with a helpful Teacher Guide that provides exemplar answers to all comprehension questions.

“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
The teachers guide for a reading lesson.
Each CommonLit reading lesson comes with a Teacher Guide that includes exemplar answers.

What Teachers & Administrators are Saying

For the past two years, we’ve been piloting our units and lesson format with schools around the nation. Our results are very exciting and speak the quality of the tools we’ve developed! Here’s what teachers and administrators are saying:

  • “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
  • “The incorporated differentiation of the texts was extremely beneficial to a new teacher like myself.” Nathan McDaniels, 7th Grade teacher
  • “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.’” Jamie Greene, Principal

Join Us: Get Early Access to CommonLit’s NEW Guided Reading Units

Our new units will be specifically designed to support students with disabilities in many different instructional settings. Get in touch to take advantage of this incredible opportunity! In the coming weeks, we will select schools in the DC area to support in the 2020–21 school year. Participating schools will get access to all unit materials, optional assessments, and special training support from the CommonLit’s seasoned instructional coaches.

To learn more about how you can gain early access to these resources, contact CommonLit’s Director of Instruction Kara Pacos at