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.
With Liberty and Justice for All?
A fictitious slave of Thomas Jefferson describes her life in slavery in this short story.
A teenage girl decides not to join her family on vacation.
I went from prison to professor
Dr. Stanley Andrisse discusses how he went from being incarcerated to being a professor.
Ruth Spencer Johnson
A black girl in Montgomery, Alabama writes to her cousin about people’s refusal to use the bus as a form of protest.
“Help Him Up!”: A Witness’s Account of Panic on a Subway Platform
A reporter describes witnesses’ reactions to a man falling onto New York City subway tracks.
A speaker describes their ancestors coming to America through Ellis Island.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
A girl’s brother is arrested and sent to a corrupt prison in Nigeria.
The Red Bow
A father is devastated when his daughter is killed by a diseased dog.
Welcome to the Underworld
Michael A. Signal
Hermes, messenger of the gods, gives a tour of the Underworld.
Excerpt from Heart of Darkness
A seaman imagines what it must have been like for the Romans who first came to England.
Excerpt from The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man
James Weldon Johnson
A man describes his journey to Paris and his thoughts on the city.
Excerpt from Frankenstein; or the Modern Prometheus
An explorer describes his voyage before bringing Victor Frankenstein on his ship.
Shooting an Elephant
A British officer must decide whether or not to shoot an elephant that has become aggressive.
Teri Ellen Cross Davis
A speaker describes her feelings about her natural hair over the years.