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.
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.
Of the Dignity or Meanness of Human Nature
In his essay, the Scottish philosopher discusses how one should approach the question of whether man is inherently good or evil.
Advice to the Newly Married Lady
Samuel K. Jennings
A doctor and preacher from the 19th century advises new wives to always defer to their husbands.
The Plea for Eight Hours
Labor union leader Terence Powderly makes a reasoned argument in favor of reducing the work day for laborers.
Two Ways of Looking at a River
In this excerpt from "Life on the Mississippi," Twain reflects on how he has lost some of his childlike sense of wonder.
Opposition to the Women's Rights Movement
This piece was written as a rebuttal to Dr. Dewey, who, in defense of women’s rights, denied Biblical justification for the subjugation of women.
Fear of Change
The inventor of the Model T exalts the working class and argues that progressive change is natural.
Life Isn't Fair — Deal With It
According to columnist Mike Myatt, "Fair is a state of mind, and most often, an unhealthy one."
Cultural Common Ground Gets Harder To Come By
American culture is sliced up in so many different ways that what's popular with one group can go virtually unnoticed by another, writes Blair.
Excerpt from Walden: “Economy”
Henry David Thoreau
Thoreau was an avid nature-lover and questioned the value of integrating technology into society.