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 Rose for Emily
After the death of Miss Emily Grierson, the people of Jefferson, Mississippi uncover a dark history in this classic piece of Southern Gothic.
The Pit and the Pendulum
Edgar Allan Poe
In this story, an unnamed narrator describes the torments endured as a prisoner of the Spanish Inquisition.
Washington's Farewell Address
President George Washington
In this letter written by Washington to the American people, the United States' first president explains his intent to decline a third term in office, leaving the nation with some final thoughts on unity, power, and freedom.
Serving in Florida: Excerpt from Nickel and Dimed
In this chapter, Ehrenreich begins her social experiment of living on minimum wage by searching for housing and a job.
Giovanni Boccaccio, translated by Mark Musa and Peter Bondanella
In an ironic twist of fate, a man loses everything for his love of a beautiful and wealthy woman.
The Lady or the Tiger
Frank R. Stockton
A king delivers justice through chance, which proves to be a no-win situation for his daughter and her condemned love interest.
Sir Francis Bacon
In this passage, Bacon discusses the notion of revenge, why some seek it, and the consequences of this fixation.
The Fall of the House of Usher
Edgar Allan Poe
In this story packed with Poe's signature brand of macabre and suspense, an unnamed narrator visits an old friend and finds a tale of horror within the decaying manor.
In this short story, the people of Earth witness the birth of a new star and the destruction that follows this phenomenon.
On the Doctrine of the Feeling of Power
In this passage, Nietzsche explains how the "feeling of power" drives all humans.
To His Excellency, General Washington
An ode to the future first president, commending his achievements as general in the American Revolutionary War.
Excerpt from "Self-Reliance"
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Emerson expounds his Transcendentalist beliefs about individuality and nonconformity.
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.
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."
Morality as Anti-Nature
In this excerpt from the book Twilight of the Idols, Nietzsche seeks to challenge, unravel and completely do away with the moral notions of his day.
A family makes a shocking discovery about a baby in this story about lineage and class in antebellum Louisiana.
Teaching Shakespeare in a Maximum Security Prison
In this interview, Professor Laura Bates discusses her decision to teach Shakespeare in a maximum security prison as a way of educating inmates—and discovering new insights into the Bard’s drama.
The Wives of the Dead
Two women receive shocking visits in the night as they grieve over the deaths of their husbands.
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.