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.
First They Came…
This famous quotation was written by a Lutheran pastor who was plagued by guilt for not speaking up during the Holocaust.
The Third Wave
In 1967, a history teacher's social experiment based on the leadership tactics of the Third Reich got out of control.
This text provides an overview of when and how individuals give in to herd behavior.
In the 1970s, over a milion Americans went crazy for the pet rock trend.
Keeping Up with the Joneses
“Keeping up with the Joneses” describes the social phenomenon in which people try to “keep up” with the wealth and social status of their peers.
We Shall Overcome Speech
President Lyndon B. Johnson
This rousing speech, delivered just after "Bloody Sunday," led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death Speech
The famous revolutionary speech that incited Virginia to organize a militia against British tyranny
I am the people, the mob
In this poem, humanity's ability to organize and incite social change is personified.
Marshall Plan Speech
George Catlett Marshall
A speech outlining the plan to rebuild Europe after the devastation of WWII
Charter of the United Nations
Fifty nations signed this international treaty in the aftermath of WWII.
Duty, Honor, Country Address at West Point
General Douglas MacArthur
The decorated Gen. MacArthur tells cadets they will deal with considerable challenges.
Excerpt from Trail of Tears Diary
Jobe Alexander & Mary Hill
Interviews with decendents of Native Americans who were on the Trail of Tears
Ronald Reagan on the Challenger Disaster
President Ronald Reagan
The Space Shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds after liftoff.
The New Survivors
Cancer survivors display an extraordinary amount of positivity.
William Ernest Henley
A passionate cry of resilience: "I am the master of my fate, / I am the captain of my soul."
“Hope” is the thing with feathers - (254)
Dickinson metaphorically represents “hope” as a bird that “perches on the soul.”
The Last Leaf
A young woman catches pneumonia and loses her will to live.
The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: Excerpts from Chapters 1 & 7
While he was enslaved, Frederick Douglass taught himself to read and write.
The Emancipation Proclamation
President Abraham Lincoln
This famous document made abolishing slavery an explicit goal of the Civil War.