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.
Excerpts from 'Song of Myself': 1, 2, 6, 52
This epic poem celebrating American identity has been credited as "representing the core of Whitman’s poetic vision."
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.
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."
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.
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.
The Yellow Wallpaper
Charlotte Perkins Gilman
A 19th century woman struggles to maintain her sanity in the confines of a yellow room.
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.
Extracts from Adam's Diary
In this comical take on the biblical creation story, Twain writes from the perspective of Adam as he struggles to comprehend the new, perplexing world around him.
A traveling salesman named Gregor Samsa wakes up to discover he has turned into an insect.
Excerpts from We
In this excerpt from a Russian novel, a spacecraft engineer named D-503 describes life in the dystopian One State.
The Open Boat
A group of four men struggle to survive in a small dinghy.
An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge
A Confederate sympathizer is hanged by Union soldiers.
Little Things Are Big
Jesús Colón recalls a time when he chose not to assist a white woman who needed help on the subway.
Andrew Jackson's Speech to Congress on 'Indian Removal'
President Andrew Jackson
The president announces the "benevolent" initiative to remove Native Americans from their homelands.
The Black Man's Burden
Reverend H.T. Johnson
A black clergyman wrote this poem in response to Rudyard Kipling's 1899 poem, "The White Man's Burden."
Excerpt from Frankenstein: Chapter 16
In his monologue, the monster scolds the scientist for letting power cloud his judgment.
The Guilty Party
The tragedy of Liz, a girl overcome with jealousy and driven to violence.