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CommonLit is a free collection of fiction and nonfiction for 5th-12th grade classrooms. Search and filter our collection by lexile, grade, theme, genre, literary device, or common core standard.
UN Explores Native American Rights In U.S.
Michel Martin interviews S. James Anaya about his report on the rights and quality of life of indigenous people in the United States.
The Man Who Coined 'Genocide' Spent His Life Trying To Stop It
This informational text discusses Raphael Lemkin’s work to ensure that genocide was a recognized and punishable crime.
American Indian School a Far Cry from the Past
This informational text discusses the off-reservation boarding school for Native Americans, Sherman Indian High School, and how it compares to boarding schools of the past.
How Native Students Can Succeed In College: 'Be As Tough As The Land That Made You'
This informational text discusses the obstacles Native American teenagers face when applying for college and how a program called College Horizons helps.
Behind The Native American Achievement Gap
Celeste Headlee interviews Anton Treuer on the education of Native Americans.
In the 19th and early 20th centuries, American settlers believed it was their destiny to conquer new regions of the continent—whatever the cost.
Things That Show and Things That Don't
This informational text explains how genes have dominant and recessive alleles that make everyone look different from their parents.
America's Shifting Views on Immigration
In this text, the United States’ history of immigration is discussed, from immigrants’ original admittance through Ellis Island to the state of immigration in the United States today.
What Made Aldrich Ames Tick?
Why did Aldrich Ames, former C.I.A. agent, betray his country to spy for the K.G.B.?
Malala Yousafzai’s Address to the United Nations, July 2013
In this speech to the United Nations, Malala Yousafzai describes her experience after being shot by members of the Taliban and her commitment to education and rights for women.
President Roosevelt’s First Fireside Chat
President Franklin D. Roosevelt
President Roosevelt addresses the nation regarding the banking crisis.
O Captain! My Captain!
A sailor grieves the loss of his captain, who dies before the completion of their journey.
The Economic Bill of Rights
President Franklin D. Roosevelt
In this historic speech, President Franklin D. Roosevelt emphasizes the importance of ensuring that every American citizen has the opportunity for economic advancement.
Liberating the First Nazi Camp
Veterans History Project
A WWII war veteran, Jim Martin, describes his experience finding the first concentration camp that was liberated by U.S. troops.
Hate Speech and the First Amendment
American Bar Association
This informational text discusses the debate between protecting freedom of speech and discouraging hate speech in the United States.
Everyday Life as a Learning Experience
Sarah A. Chrisman
A writer describes what she has learned by living her twenty-first-century life as if she lived in the late 1800s.
A family has a meal following the death of the speaker's father.
The Kitty Genovese Murder: What Really Happened?
Kitty Genovese’s murder, with a reported 37 bystanders present, sparked outcry and several social experiments.
Abolishing Slavery: The Efforts of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln
This informational text discusses Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln’s relationship as they both worked towards abolishing slavery.