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.
Excerpt from "Self Reliance"
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Emerson expounds his Transcendentalist beliefs about individuality and nonconformity.
The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: Excerpt from Chapter 11
In chapter 11, Douglass describes his escape from slavery, and the challenges he faced upon becoming a free man.
I Am Offering This Poem
Jimmy Santiago Baca
With nothing else to offer, a speaker gives the gifts of poetry and love.
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.