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.
Shirley Chisholm's Presidential Announcement Speech Transcript
Shirley Chisholm, an African American woman, announces her candidacy for the Democratic nomination for the presidency in 1972.
Ain't I a Woman?
Sojourner Truth speaks on women's rights at the Ohio Women's Rights Convention in 1851.
Excerpt from “Civil Disobedience”
Henry David Thoreau
This excerpt from Thoreau's famous essay meditates on the necessity of following one’s own conscience, even if it conflicts with the law.
Barack Obama’s Nobel Lecture
Barack Obama accepts the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.
Petition from the Pennsylvania Society for the Abolition of Slavery
In this historical text, Benjamin Franklin issues a plea to the United States government.
Excerpt from A Room of One’s Own
The speaker describes how the experiences of women pursuing the arts differ from those of men.
George W. Harkins to the American People
George W. Harkins
In an open letter to the American people, Choctaw chief George W. Harkins expresses his opinion about the Indian removals.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Nobel Acceptance Speech
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr. accepts the Nobel Peace Prize for his contributions to the Civil Rights Movement.
Jimmy Carter’s Nobel Lecture
Jimmy Carter accepts the Nobel Peace Prize for his contributions to international peace.
President Reagan's Speech at the Brandenburg Gate
President Ronald Reagan
President Ronald Reagan delivers this famous speech imploring General Secretary Gorbachev to take down the Berlin Wall and reunite Germany.
To Those Who Keep Slaves, and Approve the Practice
Famous minister and abolitionist Richard Allen implores slave-owners and pro-slavery advocates to reconsider their stances.
Ancient Greek thinkers have influenced Western culture and philosophy for centuries.
Letter from Birmingham Jail
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr., outlines his nonviolence approach to addressing injustice while responding to criticism.
Malala Yousafzai's Nobel Peace Prize Lecture
Malala Yousafzai receives the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize for her advocacy for education.
'Enemies from Within' Speech
Senator Joseph McCarthy
In Senator Joseph McCarthy’s most famous speech, he condemns the threat of communism and accuses the state department of communist infiltration.
Nelson Mandela's Nobel Peace Prize Lecture
Nelson Mandela receives the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 and discusses his work ending South Africa’s system of segregation.
Excerpt from “Susan B. Anthony, The Woman”
Journalist Susan Dare interviews Susan B. Anthony and describes the life of this famous women’s rights activist.
How Autism Freed Me to be Myself
In this speech, 16-year-old Rosie King shares her experiences with autism and how it has allowed her to be true to herself.
Malala Yousafzai’s Address to the United Nations, July 2013
In this speech to the United Nations, Malala Yousafzai describes her experience after being shot by members of the Taliban and her commitment to education and rights for women.