CommonLit is a free collection of fiction and nonfiction for 3rd-12th grade classrooms. Search and filter our collection by lexile, grade, theme, genre, literary device, or common core standard.
The Cost of Prison in Dollars and Lives
Michael P. Jacobson
Michael P. Jacobson discusses the punishment and rehabilitation of juvenile offenders.
President Reagan's Speech at the Brandenburg Gate
President Ronald Reagan
President Ronald Reagan delivers this famous speech imploring General Secretary Gorbachev to take down the Berlin Wall and reunite Germany.
The Roman Republic
This informational text recounts the history of the Roman Republic: how it was formed, how it worked, and how it eventually transitioned into the Roman Empire.
Excerpt from Southern Horrors: Lynch Laws in All Its Phases
Ida B. Wells
This excerpt discusses the injustice and horrors of Southern lynch laws, focusing especially on the violence enacted against African Americans following the Civil War and Reconstruction Era.
Causes of the American Civil War
This informational text explores the causes of the American Civil War and the growing hostility between the Northern abolitionists and Southern slaveholders.
President Obama’s National Address to America’s Schoolchildren
President Barack Obama
President Obama speaks to students at Wakefield High School about the importance of education.
President Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address
President Abraham Lincoln
President Lincoln discusses the Civil War and the future of the nation in his second inaugural address.
RFK’s Speech Following the Death of MLK
Senator Robert F. Kennedy
In this speech, Senator Robert F. Kennedy encourages the nation to unite and heal following Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination.
President Obama’s 2015 State of the Union Address
President Barack Obama
President Obama gives his 2015 State of the Union address, in which he discusses economic recovery and fairness.
Why I Refuse to Say I 'Fight' My Disability
In this article, Hitselberger takes issue with the language sometimes used around the issue of dealing with one’s disability.
Sir Francis Bacon
In this passage, Bacon discusses the notion of revenge, why some seek it, and the consequences of this fixation.
Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions
Elizabeth Cady Stanton
This document, signed by 100 people at the first women's rights convention, was controversial in its time.
Address to Congress on Women's Suffrage
Carrie Chapman Catt
Carrie Chapman Catt argues in favor of granting women the right to vote.
Every Man a King
Huey P. Long
At the height of the Great Depression, Huey P. Long, a Louisiana senator, delivered this famous speech in which he denounced the rich and argued to "scale down the big fortunes."
'Shut the Door' Speech
Senator Ellison DuRant Smith
During a 1924 congressional debate on immigration, a senator from South Carolina argued that we should "shut the door and breed up a pure, unadulterated American citizen."
Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death Speech
The famous revolutionary speech that incited Virginia to organize a militia against British tyranny
Marshall Plan Speech
George Catlett Marshall
A speech outlining the plan to rebuild Europe after the devastation of WWII
The Code of Hammurabi
An excerpt from the well-preserved document from ancient Babylonia consisting of 282 laws and corresponding punishments depending on social status