CommonLit's Library & Text Features

  1. Can I print out CommonLit texts and questions?

    Yes! Find a printable student copy of every text -- including the student intro, footnotes, text-dependent questions, and discussion questions -- by clicking the “Download PDF” button above the title on the text’s page. You can also print out a teacher copy from the “Teacher Guide” tab.

  2. Will you be adding lower-level texts anytime soon?

    Yes! We are working on building a collection of texts for 3rd and 4th grade. In the meantime, please e-mail any specific text recommendations for grades 3 and 4 to Sarah at sarah@commonlit.org. Your suggestions will help us develop these resources faster.

  3. Will you ever add texts in Spanish or French?

    Yes, we do have future plans to translate texts into other languages. If you are a foundation that would like to support this initiative, please email us at info@commonlit.org.

  4. What is the difference between a “text-dependent question” and a “discussion question”?

    Text-dependent questions are multiple-choice or short-answer-style questions that are evidence-based. That means that the student must refer back to the text to answer the question correctly. Discussion questions are open-ended questions that are meant to be used in class to spark a discussion or debate. Students love to share their opinions with their peers, and studies show that students learn more in discussion-based classrooms. To learn more about out the research that supports CommonLit instructional practices, visit www.commonlit.org/research.

  5. Which types of questions can students answer through the CommonLit platform?

    When you assign a CommonLit text to students, they will be asked to read the text and complete the set of text-dependent questions.

    Currently, students cannot respond to a text’s discussion questions through the platform. This means that the discussion questions will never count toward a student’s grade on his or her assignment.

    We recommend that teachers use the discussion questions to lead an oral debate in class. Print out the “Discussion Questions” page by clicking “Download PDF” just above the text’s title. Then, distribute this handout to students and ask them to brainstorm their answers in writing before discussing it with their peers.

  6. Do you have exemplars for each short-answer score that I could share with my students?

    Short-answer questions include an “exemplar” which is meant to provide guidance to teachers around what an exemplary student response should contain. You can access these exemplars by navigating to the Teacher Guide tab, which can be found for each text on the CommonLit website. These exemplars are currently not written as sample student answers, and were not intended to be shared with students.

    Are you a foundation interested in supporting an initiative to develop student exemplars? If so, please get in touch by emailing us at info@commonlit.org.

  7. How do I search for texts by book title?

    Currently, you cannot search the CommonLit collection by book title. To find good book pairings, we recommend identifying salient themes, literary devices, or topics from books that you’re reading with students in class. You can search and filter our library to find relevant supporting texts in the CommonLit library.

    If you’re interested in learning more about our book unit initiative, please get in touch.

  8. Setting Up Classes & Creating Accounts

  9. How do I set up classes?

    Check out this blog post for a step-by-step guide on setting up classes. You can also watch this short 3-minute tutorial video.

  10. How do students create their accounts?

    Check out this blog post for a step-by-step guide on getting your students set up with accounts.

  11. How do I delete a class?

    To delete a class, go to your “My Profile & Classes” page. From there, click the “Edit Class” button for the class you wish to delete. You will then see a screen that includes a button at the bottom that says “Delete Class.” Click this button.

  12. How do I remove a student from my class?

    To delete a student from your class, go to your "My Profile & Classes" page. From there, click the "Manage Students" button for the class in which the student you wish to delete is enrolled. Scroll down the list to find the name of the student you wish to delete, then click the trash can icon on the far right of that student's row.

  13. Creating & Managing Assignments

  14. How do I create an assignment?

    There are two ways to create an assignment:

    1. If you already know the CommonLit text that you want to assign to students, simply click “Add Assignment” on your “Assignments” page. You will be prompted to select the text you want to assign, the classes to which you’d like to assign it, and a due date.
    2. If you’re not sure what CommonLit text you want to assign to students, go to our library page. From here, you can search and filter through our collection to find a text that fits what you’re looking for. When you identify the text you want to assign, go to the text page and click the “Assign Text” button above the text’s title. You will then be prompted to select the classes to which you’d like to assign the text, and a due date.

    We recommend this short 3-minute tutorial video.

  15. How do my students complete an assignment?

    Before students can begin an assignment, they must be enrolled in a class for which you have created an assignment.

    To begin the assignment, students should first login to their CommonLit account. Once logged-in, they will see a notification bell in the top right corner of their screen indicating that they have an assignment to complete.

    Direct students to navigate to the “Assignments” page. When students mouse over the assignment, it will say “Begin Assignment.” To begin, students simply click the assignment.

    From here, students will be prompted to read a short introduction with directions for what they should focus on while reading. Students should click “OK” and being reading the text.

    To begin answering the text-dependent questions, students must simply click the “Begin Assignment” button located on the panel on the right of the screen.

    If you do not want your students to complete their assignments online, you can also print out the assignments for students to complete on paper. Simply click the “Download PDF” button above the title on any text’s page.

  16. How do I delete an assignment?

    To delete an assignment, mouse-over the assignment you want to delete on the "Assignments" page and click the pencil icon. You should then see a button that gives you the option to delete the assignment. Click that button, and your assignment will be deleted.

  17. How do I change the due date for an existing assignment?

    You can change the due date for an existing assignment by clicking the pencil icon in the bottom right corner of the assignment (on your "Assignments" page).

  18. Is there a way to differentiate the assignments for students in a class period? I would love to be able to assign the texts to students individually based on their lexile levels.

    Currently, you can only assign a text to a whole class of students. We are currently working on the feature that will enable you to assign texts to individual students. Check back soon!

    One way to work around this for now would be to group your students and create new classes based on those groups (you can create additional classes -- no need to delete the old ones! Students can be in as many classes/groups as you choose). That way you can assign texts to different students within the same class.

  19. Assessment Scoring

  20. How many points is each multiple-choice and short-answer question worth?

    Each text-dependent question on an assignment is worth the same amount of points (this includes Part A questions, Part B questions, and short-answer questions). For example, if a text has 4 text-dependent questions (say, a regular multiple-choice question, a Part A multiple-choice question, a Part B multiple-choice question, and a short-answer question), each question is worth 25 percentage points. If a text has 10 text-dependent questions, each question is worth 10 percentage points, and so on.

    To find out the point value for a particular question, simply divide 100 by the number of text-dependent questions on a particular assignment. (Note: This does become a bit more complicated when a text has Part A/Part B questions. See the FAQ below for more information.)

  21. How are Part A/Part B questions scored?

    Imagine an assignment with 5 text-dependent questions, including one Part A question and one Part B question. These questions are related (in other words, a student’s success on Part B depends upon his or her success on Part A). Let’s say a student gets all 3 of the other questions on the assignment correct. Here is how the scoring works:

    1. If the student gets Part A correct and Part B correct, then he or she will receive full credit for both questions. The score for this assignment would be a 5/5 (100%).
    2. If the student gets Part A correct and Part B incorrect, he or she will receive full credit for Part A, and zero credit for Part B. The score for this assignment would be 4/5 (80%).
    3. If the student gets Part A incorrect, then he or she will get zero credit for Part A, and Part B will be omitted from the final assignment score -- regardless of if the student’s answer for Part B is correct or incorrect. That means it does not count towards the student’s score at all (it cannot hurt nor help them). This is because Part B’s correctness is dependent upon Part A being correct. In this case, the score for this assignment would be a 3/4 (75%).
  22. How are multi-select questions (multiple-choice questions that require students to choose more than one correct answer) scored?

    An example of a multi-select question would be, “Which TWO of the following answer choices best captures a main idea from the poem?” On these types of questions, students get full credit for getting both answers right, half credit if they choose one correct answer, and zero credit if they choose neither of the right answers.

    If a student chooses only one answer choice instead of two, the student will get half-credit if the answer that he or she chose was one of the two correct answers, or zero credit if they chose neither of the two correct answers.

    Alternatively, if the student selects more than two answers, he or she will receive zero credit for the question, regardless of whether or not he or she selected any of the correct answers.

  23. How are multi-select Part A/Part B questions scored?

    Imagine a 5-question assignment with one Part A multi-select question and one Part B multi-select question. These questions are related (in other words, a student’s success on Part B depends upon his or her success on Part A). Let’s say a student gets all 3 of the other questions on the assignment correct. Here is how the scoring works:

    1. If Part A has TWO correct answers, the student will receive full credit for Part A; If Part B has TWO correct answers, the student will receive full credit for Part B. The score for this assignment would be a 5/5 (100%).
    2. If Part A has TWO correct answers, the student will receive full credit for Part A; If Part B has only ONE correct answer, the student will receive half credit for Part B. The score for this assignment would be a 4.5/5 (90%).
    3. If Part A has TWO correct answers, the student will receive full credit for Part A; If Part B has NO correct answers, the student will receive zero credit for Part B. The score for this assignment would be a 4/5 (80%).
    4. If Part A has ONE correct answer, the student will receive half credit for Part A; If Part B has TWO correct answers, the student will receive full credit for Part B. The score for this assignment would be a 4.5/5 (90%).
    5. If Part A has ONE correct answer, the student will receive half credit for Part A;  If Part B has ONE correct answer, the student will receive half credit for Part B. The score for this assignment would be a 4/5 (80%).
    6. If Part A has ONE correct answer, the student will receive half credit for Part A;  If Part B has NO correct answers, the student will receive zero credit for Part B. The score for this assignment would be a 3.5/5 (70%).  
    7. If Part A has NO correct answers, the student will receive zero credit for Part A, and Part B will be completely omitted from all data calculations regardless of whether or not the student chose any correct answers. That means that Part B will not count towards the student’s score at all (it cannot hurt nor help them). This is because Part B’s correctness is dependent upon Part A being correct. In this case, the score for this assignment would be a 3/4 (75%).
  24. What about Part A/Part B questions where PART B is a short-answer question that requires teacher scoring?

    Here’s an example:

    1. PART A: Which of the following describes a main idea of the article?
      1. Wisdom is no match for cleverness.
      2. Sometimes the most unsuspecting characters are the wisest.
      3. Only fools ask to be made to look foolish.
      4. Everyone has the potential to be a hero.
    2. PART B: Cite evidence from the text to support your answer to PART A.

      [Enter short answer. Answers will be scored on a 0-4 rubric].

    Short answers are always graded by the teacher. In the case above, a student who answers Part A correctly receives full credit for Part A, and the teacher determines his or her score on Part B. A student who answers Part A incorrectly receives zero credit for Part A. In this case, the student will receive points for Part B, depending on how the teacher scores the answer.

  25. How does the short answer grading rubric work?

    Our short answer rubric is based on the Common Core Literary Analysis 0-4 Writing Rubric, which can be found here. We leave it up to teachers to determine whether a student meets or does not meet these expectations.

    Scoring for short-answer responses depends on the number of questions in the assignment. A short-answer question is worth the same number of points as the multiple-choice questions. For example, say an assignment has 4 text-dependent questions (3 multiple-choice and 1 short-answer question). In this case, each question is worth 25 percentage points. Scoring the short-answer responses for this assignment would work as follows:

    1. Score of 0 = 0% credit (so, in this case, 0 percentage points out of 25)
    2. Score of 1 = 25% credit (in this case, 6.25 percentage points out of 25)
    3. Score of 2 = 50% credit (in this case, 12.5 percentage points out of 25)
    4. Score of 3 = 75% credit (in this case, 18.75 percentage points out of 25)
    5. Score of 4 = 100% credit (in this case, 25 percentage points out of 25)
  26. Still need help?

    Reach out to us here. We’re always here to help!