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.
Settling a New World: The Lost Colony of Roanoke Island
National Park Service
This text provides insight into the first (failed) English colony in North America: Roanoke, also known as the “Lost Colony.”
Dulce et Decorum Est
The horrors of chemical warfare during World War I are described in this gripping poem.
The Battle of Bull Run: The End of Illusions
Ernest B. Furgurson
This passage recounts the events of the First Battle of Bull Run, as well as its role in the disillusionment of the American people in the early stages of the American Civil War.
The Life of a U.S. Industrial Worker
This informational text asks students to imagine what it would be like to live as a worker during the U.S. Industrial Revolution.
An Excerpt From The Story of Cain and Abel from Genesis 4
In this biblical tale, Cain commits the first murder of mankind.
Tristan and Isolde
Lady Jane Wilde
A knight and a princess fall in love, but at the cost of betraying their king.
The Lady of Shalott
Alfred, Lord Tennyson
In this popular Lord Tennyson poem, the Lady of Shalott leaves her magic tower to pursue Sir Lancelot, but is followed by a tragic curse.
The Scholarship Jacket
Marta is a straight-A student who has earned a scholarship jacket, but her financial situation – and an unjust school leader – may prevent her from receiving her reward.
Edgar Allan Poe
A man poetically recounts his tale of childhood love—and loss—with a somewhat happy ending.
Fear Is Simple and Profound
Julia Butterfly Hill
Julia Butterfly Hill uses an extended metaphor to explain how fear hinders people from “trusting the great mystery within.”
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
One of the earliest examples of American fiction with enduring popularity (especially during the Halloween season), this short story about Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman deals with themes of love, fear, gluttony, and truth.
The Ambitious Guest
Based on a true event - the Wiley tragedy of Crawford Notch, New Hampshire - this story follows a young traveler with big dreams, who stops by a family cottage in a snowy mountain pass.
A Rose for Emily
After the death of Miss Emily Grierson, the people of Jefferson, Mississippi uncover a dark history in this classic piece of Southern Gothic.
The Pit and the Pendulum
Edgar Allan Poe
In this story, an unnamed narrator describes the torments endured as a prisoner of the Spanish Inquisition.
Excerpt from 'A Christmas Carol': The Second of the Three Spirits
In this, the third chapter of A Christmas Carol, Scrooge meets the second of three spirits: the Ghost of Christmas Present.
The Treasure in the Forest
Two men search for Spanish treasure, letting greed get the better of their awareness.
An ironworks manager leads his friend on an eerie tour of his company shortly after discovering a secret.
Lobo, the King of Currumpaw
Ernest Seton Thompson
A man attempts to bring down the biggest, most cunning wolf in northern New Mexico.
On a Mountain Trail
Harry Perry Robinson
A suspenseful story in which two men are chased by hungry wolves on a forest mountain trail.