CommonLit The Library
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.
Mother to Son
This Harlem Renaissance poem uses metaphor to depict a mother's struggles in life.
Paul Revere's Ride
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The legendary tale of Paul Revere celebrates the story of the night that sparked the American Revolution.
The Story of The Lazy Boy: A Kachari Folktale
Compiled by Rev. Sidney Endle
A boy misses his opportunity to plant during planting season.
A family makes a shocking discovery about a baby in this story about lineage and class in antebellum Louisiana.
Booker T. Washington vs. W.E.B. Du Bois
Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois
These two excerpts capture the ideological debate about black social mobility after the Civil War.
I'm Happiest When Most Away
In this short poem, Brontë contemplates existing in a solitary, meditative state.
Heart to Heart
In this poem, Rita Dove reinvents a common symbol - the heart - and in doing so, shows us what it means to be human.
From 'A Time for Choosing' Speech
In this famous speech, Reagan argues for "the maximum of individual freedom."
From Lithuania to the Chicago Stockyards
A Lithuanian immigrant tells his story of coming to America during the 19th century for a chance at "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
Excerpt from Peter Pan: "When Wendy Grew Up"
In this final chapter of the classic novel Peter Pan, Wendy and the boys finally grow up, leaving Peter behind in Neverland.
Olaudah Equiano Recalls the Middle Passage
Former slave and abolitionist Olaudah Equiano remembers his brutal voyage across the Atlantic to Barbados as a newly captured slave.
Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard
A man speculates on the lives of the dead — and what may be said of him, after death — as he walks through a country churchyard.
No Man Is An Island
A speaker explains the interconnectedness of all humankind.
In this poem, a speaker longingly describes a city scene from which he feels isolated.
In this sonnet, McKay, a Harlem Renaissance poet, reveals his mixed feelings about living in "the land of the free."
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
In this poem, Longfellow compares death to a mother leading her reluctant child to bed.
Excerpt from Walden: “Where I Lived and What I Lived For”
Henry David Thoreau
In this excerpt from Walden, Thoreau explains why he went to live alone in the wilderness.
If We Must Die
A Harlem Renaissance poet discusses facing death and other obstacles with courage and dignity.
A spin-off of "Extracts from Adam's Diary," in this piece Twain gives us the perspective of Eve--contrastingly self-assured and full of childlike wonder.