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.
The Leaders Who Ruined Africa and the Generation Who Can Fix It
In this TED Talk, Fred Swaniker discusses leadership in Africa and his hopes for future leaders.
The Missouri Compromise
This informational text discusses the controversial decision to admit Missouri to the U.S. as a slave state.
Key Black Leader Turns 60 On South Africa Prison Isle
John F. Burns
John F. Burns discusses Nelson Mandela’s imprisonment on Robben Island for his actions against South Africa’s government.
The South Secedes
This informational text details the events of the secession crisis of 1860-1861 in which the southern states formed the Confederacy and the Civil War began.
In this poem, a speaker longingly describes a city scene from which he feels isolated.
The Children's Hour
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The author of "Paul Revere's Ride" writes a poem about his daughter's idyllic childhood.
Why Do We Judge Parents For Putting Kids At Perceived — But Unreal — Risk?
Tania Lombrozo for NPR
Three researchers discuss their experiment exploring people’s judgements of the perceived risks parents expose their children to.
Margaret Garner: Defying the Fugitive Slave Act
Abolitionist Levi Coffin recounts the story of Margaret Garner, a fugitive slave who killed her children rather than see them returned to slavery.
Walking Down Park
A speaker reimagines the modern world as an idyllic wildlife landscape.
Letters from Wilbur Wright
It took an extraordinary amount of persistence, commitment, and attention to detail for Orville and Wilbur Wright to design and launch the first successful airplane.
Excerpts from Leviathan
This book established the concept of the "social contract."
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.
From Lithuania to the Chicago Stockyards
A Lithuanian immigrant tells his story of coming to America during the 19th century for a chance at "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
Explainer: How CRISPR Works
Tina Hesman Saey
Tina Hesman Saey describes a gene editing tool: CRISPR.
Halsted Street Car
Sandburg paints a picture of the weary faces of the working class.
The Inca: Engineering an Empire
The Inca Empire was highly successful in the 16th century and the largest empire in pre-Columbia America.
The Rise and Fall of Karl Marx
Mike Kubic discusses Karl Marx’s life and his development of the political theory: communism.
Coming: The Sixth Mass Extinction?
Alison Pearce Stevens
Alison Pearce Stevens discusses the potential for a sixth mass extinction to take place.