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.
A prominent military man’s rise to success is retold from the perspective of a former teacher, who is astounded at the man's good fortune.
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.
The Million Pound Bank Note
A man gains fame and fortune simply because he is in possession of a large bank note.
The War Works Hard
In this satirical poem, a speaker remarks on the impressive diligence of war and its effects, from "provid[ing] food for flies" to "invigorat[ing] the coffin makers."
A family makes a shocking discovery about a baby in this story about lineage and class in antebellum Louisiana.
The Story of the Bad Little Boy
An ironic tale of a naughty child who doesn't quite get what he deserves.
A Defenseless Creature
A desperate woman enters a bank with an urgent — yet ridiculous — request.
Dr. Heidegger's Experiment
An eccentric doctor administers drinks from the Fountain of Youth to four miserable old friends.
What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?
The famous ex-slave and abolitionist points out the hypocrisy of "the home of the free" on Independence Day.
In this absurd comedy, a Russian official's nose mysteriously departs from his face and then parades about town.
The Boy Who Cried Wolf
The classic fable of a sheep herder boy who lies and pays the price.
Lord Arthur Savile's Crime
Lord Arthur Savile receives an ill fortune and then struggles to fulfill this destiny so he may marry.
A Satirical Elegy on the Death of a Late Famous General
Swift uses humor to show that even decorated generals cannot fight off death.
Hermann the Irascible
A king living during the Edwardian Era makes it mandatory for women to vote in every election.
An Uncomfortable Bed
Guy de Maupassant
A wealthy man stays the night in a lavish mansion. All night, he suspects his friends are playing tricks on him.
The Open Boat
A group of four men struggle to survive in a small dinghy.
A Description of A City Shower
In this humorous poem, Swift exposes the shortcomings of city life, particularly the lack of adequate plumbing, which becomes a problem for everyone when it rains.
Two bitter enemies are trapped in the woods together, and the lines between friendship and enmity are tested.
Guy de Maupassant
A woman's dream of wearing a diamond necklace leads to a series of events that leave her in a life of poverty.